The Computer Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life with the iPhone -Three Months and Counting

Yesterday marked the end of the third month of our lives with the iPhone. Suffice it to say we are still pleased. As of last week, iPhone Software update 1.1.1 installed some new capabilities into the phone; the one I like the best is the ability to view Mail in a horizontal format, though it doesn't seem to work consistently. I haven't really poked into the new features as much as I need to, and part of the reason for that lies in the lack of documentation Apple has supplied with the phone. There is a .pdf based user's guide available for download from Apple's website, but I doubt if it's been updated with these latest changes.

I've used the iPhone to watch a couple of movies and it gives the best movie viewing experience of any iPod I own. I can easily watch one movie and still have more than half the battery left to catch phone calls for the rest of the day.

Using AT&T's EDGE, I can fetch my personal e-mail and read it while at the office and have had no trouble doing so or receiving or making phone calls.

We just returned from a trip to northeastern Missouri, an area which proves to be the “make or break” area for cell phone usage for us. For the most part, we had good cell phone coverage and even unexpected coverage from EDGE, allowing us to use many of the iPhone's features while literally on the road. In the Kansas City area, we used the iPhone and Google Maps to confirm the address and get directions to a Red Lobster and conform how to get to the International Airport from where we were. In Green City, evenn if I didn't have EDGE coverage (and lots of the time I did), I was able to program the iPhone to join my mother-in-law's wireless network; so, I nearly always had Internet coverage of some sort. This was the acid test for us; the iPhones and AT&T passed.

Concerning the Apple price reduction, like a lot of people, we were pissed at Apple's sudden and unexpected price drop. That said, I have claimed $200 in Apple credits for the two iPhones we bought at the initial overprice, and I have applied that toward a new iPod for my wife. Her 30GB 5G iPod has a nasty habit of not working in airliners, so I ordered her a 80GB refurbished black iPod for $219. By using the credits, I bought the iPod for $19 plus tax and shipping (making the total $47). I know the lawsuit is out there trying to get the other $200 we spent, but I doubt seriously if it will succeed; and even if it does, I doubt if the class action plaintiffs would see as much money as the lawyers. From my perspective, Apple has been generous enough; the company didn't have to do anything. I hope the lawsuit is dismissed, personally. I knew I was taking a certain amount of financial risk being an “early adopter”.

Back to the more mundane. Our monthly service charge has been just under $130 month, and that's for two phones sharing 700 minutes per month, unlimited nights and weekends, 200 SMS messages, and unlimited Internet usage. That's proving to be quite adequate for us; in fact, the plan includes rollover minutes we have continued to accumulate.

Compare that to our AT&T landline service. Local phone service is now costing us $71 a month, a ridiculous amount in my opinion. In the next moth or two, we will either move our current home phone-line to VOIP or just eliminate it altogether. We're leaning toward the former actually, though there really isn't much of argument for not going with the iPhones alone.

We wouldn't be talking about that unless we were happy the "how" and "what" the iPhone delivers. I still have no hesitancy about recommending the iPhone to anyone; and with the drop in prices, one is even more affordable.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Only Disappointed

Those two words sum up my reaction to yesterday's Apple product announcement. I have to say that Apple seems to be losing its grip on reality. They’ve made bad marketing decisions with both the last iMac and today’s iPod releases.

Today’s problem is a case of “too much, too little”, i.e., too much hype to go with too little product improvements. So here’s my view on what Apple had to say.

New iPod Shuffle Colors: Whoopee.

New iPod Nano video: Who needs the eyestrain?

Upgraded iPod Classic: Will only buy one if one of the iPods we’re using now stops working.

New iPod Touch: Nothing more than a crippled iPhone at two-thirds the cost. An iPod Touch with an 80GB (or bigger) hard drive would have been worth its $399 or $499 cost. But to spend $399 and only get 8GB over my current iPhone’s storage space? Please! In the big picture, the iPod Touch only makes sense as a “bait and switcher” to entice customers away from their current cell phones onto an iPhone. That has to be it because as a solo iPod, it sucks.

iTunes Ringltone Maker: Probably the only thing Apple introduced today I am likely to buy. Maybe.