I received a little present yesterday, a shiny new iPhone to play with (but unfortunately not too keep).
Here is what I have discovered so far:
Since I’m planning on using the phone for a few days I figured I’d stick in my own sim card and turn off my trusty Nokia N73.
So I copied my contacts to my sim card and stuck my sim card into the iPhone . You just need a paperclip to pop out the little tray that holds the sim card, the process is dead easy.
Then under the settings menu I was able to import contacts from my sim. Unfortunately this didn’t work the first time round with only some contact getting imported for some reason.
So I put the sim card back in my N73, deleted all the contacts on the sim and then copied the N73 contacts to the sim again.
I then put the sim back into the iPhone and imported the contacts again. This time it worked like a charm.
My first phone call
Showing off, I called my wife. To be honest the sound quality didn’t seem as good as my N73 and the iPhone seemed a little block-like in my hand.
Next I tried to fire up the maps and web browser but received a rude error message:
“Could not activate cellular data network. PDP authentication failure”
So I gave Vodafone a call and asked them what was up. The very helpful lady informed me that to use the iPhone I needed an iPhone data plan and I need to sign up for 24 months.
WTF ? I’m happily able to use my N73 to surf the web with the data plan I have, why do I need a different plan to use the iPhone and why do I need to sign up for 24 months ? This just confirms my previous rants about Vodafone just not getting it.
Currently the iPhone reports that it has been used for 3 hours and 4 minutes and sent 1.2MB of data and received 13.2MB on the cellular network
So I’ve put the original sim back into the iPhone and for the next few days will have to carry two phones around.
_Update: A little birdie has sent me this site: http://www.unlockit.co.nz/ which lets you download a new 3G config if you visit it with your iPhone. It appears to change the APN for the 3G network to the one that everyone normally uses. This should allow you to use the iPhone without a “special” iPhone plan. Haven’t tried it so I don’t know if it works. Makes me wonder if the default APN for the iPhone has a better quality of services or if this is just a way for Vodafone to lock you in. Would the commerce commision be interested in this ?_
Wifi to the rescue
A very, very nice feature of the iPhone is that it will use a WiFi network in preference to the 3G network if it can find one. Since I have WiFi at work and home this sure helps cut down on those data charges.
As with most Apple products the iPhone is a pleasure to use. The touch based user interface feels very natural and the form factor makes it fantastic mobile internet device.
Occasionally I did struggle with the interface, where options are a bit hidden and some interactions are not obvious.
For instance I still haven’t quite figured out how to select a word in the predictive text dropdowns.
Update: All you need to do is press “space” when the predictive text dropdown appears. Doh.
Also the onscreen keyboard is very good but I keep clicking on M instead of N for some reason. The little magnifier that shows up when you drag to position the edit cursor in a text field is very cute.
The web browser is very nice. It works with most sites and has some nice navigation features and animations when dealing with multiple open pages. The accelerometer that rotates the display when you rotate the device is also very cool.
You can also save your favorite website as an icon on your start pages which is useful.
GPS and maps
The GPS seems very responsive and integrates nicely with Google maps. Last night I tracked my journey home in the taxi and it tracked well even with the taxi’s erratic driving.
One thing that was odd is that the driving directions didn’t automatically scroll to the next instruction once you reached a “way point”.
You get a choice of email services to connect your iPhone too. I wired the phone to my gmail account without any issue.
Outlook calendar sync & Bluetooth
Syncing my Outlook calendar was a breeze, just setting a checkbox or two in iTunes and then connecting the iPhone with the USB cable to the PC.
I also had no problems bonding the iPhone to my PC using Bluetooth but iTunes didn’t seem to detect the iPhone when it connected via Bluetooth.
The camera seems decent but it needs good lighting as most mobile cameras do. Maybe I have just been spoilt by my N73’s 3.2 megapixel camera.
Using the integrated (and via iTunes) app store, I was able to download several applications. Obviously this is a major feature of the iPhone. As it is early days, these apps vary greatly in their quality.
The Facebook application is an example of a good application. It is easy to use, is well thought out and integrates with features of the phone. For example it is hooked to the phone’s camera so you can take pics and upload them to straight to Facebook. When you pull up a friend’s profile, clicking on their phone number dials them, clicking on their email launches the email client. All very smooth.
Quite a few of the applications make use of the GPS feature of the phone. Some are pretty lame in that they simply redirect to a web site with the correct region pre-selected.
Others like the LocalPicks application from Tripadvisor pulls back a list of all the bars and restaurant nearby. Although the app is a little buggy (the scrolling is sluggish) it did bring back a useful list of bars and restaurants near my house with ratings, contact phone numbers and addresses. Unfortunately all the distances were in miles and it had no map integration but it is still a cool idea.
I think I will have to port Bubbles! to the iPhone when I get the chance.
The iPhone rocks, Vodafone sux. However I’d buy one if the data costs were more reasonable and I had a some cash to spare:)