The iPhone has been out for a little over a week, and I broke down and purchased one while I was on vacation. And while this is hardly a scientific breakdown of the iPhone — there are zillions of those out there — here are some things I’ve noticed about it in the first week or so of actual everyday use.
- The widely anticipated shortage has not materialized. It looks like if you want an iPhone, you can get one. Check eBay, and you can tell how the people who thought that they would make a Playstation-like killing aren’t doing so hot. Nobody is biting at their “Buy it Now” prices of $900 and above.
This seems to indicate two things: the demand is not as intense as people though and/or Apple has done a pretty good job in keeping the pipeline open. It’s probably a combination of the two, as illustrated by the story of how I stumbled into purchasing mine in the first place . . .
One of the reasons that I wasn’t going to get an iPhone was logistical: it came out at 6:00PM on the day before I went on vacation, so there really wasn’t going to be a lot of time to stand in line to get an iPhone and also get ready for vacation. So, on the first day, Rox & I decide to stop in San Luis Obispo for lunch, because we knew that there were a bunch of restaurants concentrated in a small radius. What we didn’t know was that there was an Apple Store was in the same area.
So just for the heck of it, we popped in, and sure enough, there were loads of people crowded around the display table. But there were also loads of iPhones available to purchase. But I was hungry, so we had lunch, figuring that if the gods of serendipity really wanted me to get an iPhone, they would still be available after I had a burger, fries and a Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale on draft.
And there were, so I did. And a shout-out to the folks at the Higuera Street Apple Store in San Luis Obispo for making the process swift, easy and painless.
- It was amazingly simple to activate. Speaking of swift, easy and painless! I know that there were some horror stories about waiting forever for AT&T to transfer service to the new phone, but I didn’t have those issues at all. Because we were on the road, I actually waited a couple of days before activating my iPhone, and it actually took longer to download and install the latest version of iTunes than it did to activate the thing.
- AT&T’s EDGE network is going to be a continuing issue. I had actually switched over from Sprint to AT&T earlier this year, getting a cheap RAZR v3 in the process, and had nearly considered switching back. Wow, did my experience with that thing suck! It was slow, and 3rd party apps like Gmail and Google Maps were hobbled by a nag screen that came up every minute or so and allowed only three choices:
— Yes, always ask
— No, never ask
— No, never grant access
Look closely enough, and you realize that there is no way to make that screen go away. What a nightmare that was! It rendered Google Maps — which I used for the traffic feed — virtually unusable. This was such a mess, and pissed me off so much that it was nearly enough for me to not even get an iPhone. Nearly, until I realized that whatever the issues of the iPhone, this type of nag screen wasn’t going to be one of them. (And that my beloved Google Mail & Maps were going to be integrated.)
In any event, it remains that the EDGE network is too damn slow. And there was virtually an entire day last week were it kept telling me that I wasn’t even allowed to use it! And when it is up, it is dial-up slow, not doubt. The iPhone, of course, attempts to mitigate this fact by helpfully suggesting nearby wi-fi networks, most of which are locked down.
Given that a nearly fully operational Web browser is the killer app for me, this is a problem. For Safari to actually be useful, it needs to be useful in a situation where I don’t have access to a regular computer. So far, it’s only been somewhat useful.
And, of course, forget about YouTube on anything but wi-fi. However, it is servicable for email, weather and even the Google Maps, which we actually used to make real-time decisions about routes through Los Angeles on our way home last Friday.
That’s all for today. Tomorrow, I am going to look at some of the smaller things — good and bad — that I’ve discovered about the iPhone.