Hi, I am a Mac….Reviewer. As the senior Apple reviewer on technogog I am here to tell you – the Internet viewer, why the iPhone 3G in the immortal words of Cassius Clay is “the greatest of all time”.
This past month Apple released their 2nd Quarter Earnings which reported 3.79 million iPhone 3Gs sold; this is in addition to the 6.9 million 3G phones sold in the first quarter of its initial release. That my friends are a lot of iPhones, but there’s more! In the same earning report was the news that Apple is planning to sell the iPhone in China during the coming year.
Those are some pretty impressive numbers for any tech device let alone a cell phone. So I will start my iPhone fan boy rant with this – millions of people can’t be wrong!
Personally I have used both Windows Mobile Phone devices and both versions of the iPhone. Both technologies have similar functions and capabilities; its just that the iPhone does most of these overlapping tasks much better while using a simpler interface.
What makes the iPhone so great? Is it the touchscreen, the intuitive user interface, the audio and video capabilities, the thousands of apps. It is all of these and more!
So, where do I start to describe how awesome the iPhone truly is? Lets start from the outside. The iPhone is a gorgeous looking device. It combines a high tech look with a sleek and streamlined design. As Fat Bastard from Austin Powers would say – "It’s a sexy beast".
If you never saw an iPhone before you might guess it was a portable media player, a remote, or a gaming platform. Actually all those guesses would be correct, since the iPhone is capable of those functions and much more.
During the creation of the iPhone the designers at Apple went for the pleasing external aesthetic to be combined with a simple intuitive user interface. This led to the creation of the svelte and sexy minimalistic candy bar shaped device that world knows and loves.
The first thing people should notice about the phone is the 3.5” widescreen display. This display comprises over 90% of the iPhone face and is one of the biggest on the cell phone market. It’s 480 x 320 pixel resolution makes videos, photos and games look incredibly sharp. Most Windows Mobile screens are in the 240 x 400 pr 320 x 320 pixel range. Too bad Windows fan! Want to look at something in landscape mode, just tilt the phone 90 degrees and the built in accelerometer will orient the screen into Landscape Mode.
Oh, did I mention it was a Multi-Touch Display too?
Below the main screen we find the Home button which performs numerous functions on the device. It can turn on the screen, perform screen captures when pressed in combination with the power button, help reset the device, turn off a non responding application, go to main menu screen and more. Above the display is an opening for the earphone and hidden sensors for ambient light, proximity detection and the accelerometer.
Notice anything missing? That’s right, no clunky keyboard that folds, slides or flips out. Who needs those chicklet size keyboards anyway? Apple has a beautiful touch screen keyboard that pops up when needed and disappears when finished. Miss the tactile feel of the keys, don’t worry you get over it fast.
Love Social Networking? Then Apple has a 2.0 megapixel camera on the back of the iPhone with the ability to GeoTag. Perfect for all you Facebook and Twitter fans! All this amazing stuff and we haven’t really talked about the actual phone and interface!
Need more reasons why the iPhone is the pre-eminent cell phone in the world? Don’t worry; I’ve got more for you.
No matter how pretty the iPhone is on the outside it would not be the most popular cell phone around if the user interface was bad. Apple designed this UI to be simple to navigate and operate. Even the most tech un-savvy user can control and navigate the iPhone in mere seconds.
Apple uses the Multi-Touch Display to control the user interface. Want to start an app? Just press your finger on it. Need to advance to the next screen or image, just swipe your finger across the screen. Wish to magnify a picture, simply put two fingers on the image and spread them apart across the image; pinch them to make it smaller. Gesture based navigation obviates the need for a stylus. Let’s see Windows make a user interface this easy to navigate, as of today they haven’t and most likely can’t.
The iPhone comes preloaded with all the standards apps found on most smart phones – Calendar, Contacts, Weather, Email Client, Calculator, Web Browser, Photo Viewer, Camera and a few others such as Stocks, You Tube Browser, and Google Maps. In addition the iPhone 3G has a built in GPS. Match that Windows Mobile Fan Boy, I dare you!
These features alone would make the iPhone worth the price of admission; thankfully there is much much more available when owning an iPhone. Remember how I mentioned it was a portable media player. Since it doubles as an iPod Touch, you can view Movies, Television Shows, Video Podcasts and any other compatible video format on the 3.5 inch display. Want to listen to music? No problem!
For many years the iPod has been far and away the most popular music/video player in the world thus most people are already familiar with the iPod interface. The controls are the same but instead of the click wheel the iPhone uses a touch interface
Apple implemented its Cover Flow technology in the iPhone and iPod Touch which allows the user to flip through their library with the touch gestures; if you wish to scan your music in a more traditional manner that can be done also. The iPhone comes in 8GB and 16GB flavors providing plenty of room for several hundred songs and multiple videos.
Since it is an iPod, Apple has installed quality audio components with a frequency responses of 20Hz to 20,000Hz and support for AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV audio formats. Who would you prefer making your smart phones audio components? Apple with their years of experience or some cell phone company selling a Windows branded device?
On the road and what to get some new music, no problem as the iPhone has the mobile iTunes store which lets you download music wirelessly. The mobile iTunes store works like the regular version which allows the user to hear thirty second snippets to see if you like the song before you buy it. Windows Mobile devices have what? The various Microsoft Music sites that eventually fail! The Yahoo store that closed down?
Need another reason to get an iPhone, how about One Billion! That is the number of iPhone apps downloaded from the App Store since its inception. During the 2.0 software upgrade Apple introduced the App store which offers both free and paid apps to install on either the iPhone or iPod Touch. Apps are available from big companies such as Google, Facebook, AOL to small single person operations and range from productivity to business to finance to travel and more.
As of March 17, 2009, there are over 25,000 third-party applications officially available for the iPhone or iPod Touch in the App Store. At this point in time there is probably an app for almost everything. Games are also sold In the App Store and many have novel user interfaces which use the iPhone’s built in accelerometer to act as a 3D controller.
Having the iPod Touch with the same OS and features as the iPhone minus the actual cell phone providers an even wider audience for App developers. This mean there is plenty of motivation to create Apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. More apps is always good!
To make the users experience shine, Apple added features such as auto-brightness, auto-correct typing which makes speedy typing incredibly easy and seamless transitions from music to phone calls and back again.
Apple lets the user sync wirelessly using its MobileMe Internet Service. MobileMe keeps your email, contacts, and calendar up to date across your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, and PC. If you are involved with an Exchange server at work or a VPN, the iPhone can handle those too.
Oh yeah, I forgot the iPhone also works as a cell phone. Almost forgot that little detail. Oops. Currently the iPhone is exclusively on the AT&T, I mean Cingular, or was it AT&T network? The iPhone is a GSM cell phone meaning it uses a SIM card for network access.
Besides using the 3G network for phone and data the iPhone has a built in 802.11G wireless card which allow the use of wireless networks to provide even faster networking speeds. The iPhone circuitry is intelligent enough to easily switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks when within a known Wi-Fi network.
Most SIM card enabled phones can be unlocked so they can be used across different GSM networks. The desire to unlock the original iPhone led to the formation of the iPhone hacking community.
That brings us to another cool not so secret capability with the iPhone; it can be hacked. As powerful as the iPhone 3G is, Apple kept some features locked up; so a community of hackers took it upon themselves to make the iPhone even more functional as well as unlocking it to use with other GSM carriers. The process of opening the iPhone’s operating system is known as “jailbreaking”; while the ability to use the iPhone with other GSM carriers is known as unlocking.
Using these techniques this underground community has released even more unique and different hacks and mods. In fact several apps that were created as hacked apps eventually went main stream and are now sold on the iTunes App Store.
There is a whole lot to the iPhone that I did not touch upon. The beauty of the iPhone is that there is something for everyone whether you want to use it to communicate via SMS, email or phone or as a video and music player or as a business management tool; it all there in the palm of your hand.
Hopefully this summary will prevent any misguided souls from purchasing a Windows Mobile Phone or any other “smart” phone besides the one from Apple. There is a reason why the iPhone is the most popular cell phone around; because it rocks!