Revealed: What You Don't Know about the iPhone

Revealed: What You Don't Know about the iPhone

MINI MULTIMEDIA PLAYER

The iPhone doesn’t have a clickwheel, but it’s very much an iPod. All the controls are on the touchscreen. You adjust the volume by dragging your finger along a slider bar and control tracks by tapping. Cover Flow, which displays album art and lets you visually sift through your music collection, adds wonderful richness to the experience.

 

The iPhone’s iPod sounds like a 5G iPod, with full midtones, nice highs, and bass that doesn’t drop heavy enough for those who like to thump - that’s with the earbuds, of course. The built-in speaker sounds like your dad’s transistor radio, so skip it. The recessed headphone jack is a slap in the face. It prevents you from using an array of third-party earphones without an adapter. Belkin and Griffin Technology both sell adapters, or you can look for the Apple iPod shuffle Sport Case for the first-generation iPod shuffle. It includes a headphone adapter that works on the iPhone as well - and we recently found a Sport Case on eBay for 99 cents plus $4 shipping.

 

The iPhone’s 3.5-inch display is small, but it truly dazzles. Color bursts from the screen, and text detail is some of the best we’ve seen on any handheld device, let alone a cell phone. Skin tones look realistic and have a smooth texture in photos and videos, and we didn’t detect any ghosting. In fact, the image quality is so good that it’s possible to actually enjoy a 2-hour movie, despite the miniaturization. A commercial DVD movie that we ripped to our Mac using Handbrake (free) and then formatted for our iPod played on the iPhone flawlessly, just like movies purchased from the iTunes Store.

 

Don’t count on the iPhone to replace your point-and-shoot camera, however. Its 2-megapixel camera offers decent quality for portraits taken in well-lit areas, but if you’re snapping a photo under remotely challenging conditions - bright backlights, movement, dim lighting, extreme distance, or close up - the camera falters, producing streaky, noisy, blurry photos. The oversensitive shutter button, which displays on the touchscreen, “helped” us shoot several pictures without meaning to. There’s also a 1-second shutter lag. And if you’re expecting a video-camera feature, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

 

UNDER THE HOOD

iPhone activation and management is done through a USB connection to your computer and using iTunes 7.3 or later. If you already used iTunes to manage your iPod media, that will be old hat. With the iPhone, you can manage your Calendar and Address Book settings in iTunes too. The iPhone is compatible with Address Book, iCal, and Microsoft Entourage on the Mac, but syncing with Entourage is clunky at best because iTunes doesn’t access Entourage’s data directly. To sync iCal and Entourage, you have to have a calendar in iCal called Entourage. Then from within Entourage, you sync Entourage and iCal so that iCal imports your Entourage dates. Then iTunes syncs your iPhone from the info in iCal.

 

It’s no wonder the iPhone feels like it has the power of a subcompact Mac: It runs OS X, which takes up 700MB of the 4GB or 8GB of storage space. Unlike MacBooks and other modern Macs, the iPhone doesn’t use an Intel processor, however. It uses a Samsung-manufactured ARM chip that’s quite snappy; you can zip through the iPhone interface without any delays. Some tasks, such as opening email attachments and Cover Flow, feel even faster than they do on a 2GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook.

 

Despite the OS X underpinnings, customization is severely limited. You can’t change the display font or font size, or reorganize or remove any of the application icons on the home screen. You can’t create custom ringtones or use MP3 ringtones. Another limitation: Apple is, so far, not allowing third-party developers to create true OS X apps that you install on the iPhone and launch from the home screen. Instead, Apple is encouraging developers to create AJAX-based Web apps that run on the iPhone in the Safari browser. (AJAX is a JavaScript-based Web development technique that allows programmers to develop interactive Web apps.) And you can’t rearrange or otherwise customize the home screen.

 

We also learned that you must be selective about what pictures, music, podcasts, and videos you put on the iPhone. After a few days, we’d already filled half of our 8GB iPhone with 205 photos, 333 songs and podcasts, and two movies. (Good thing we sprang for the larger storage capacity.)

 

In our continuous talk test, the iPhone’s battery lasted just over 7 hours with Wi-Fi off, and close to 4 hours with the Wi-Fi on. The iPod played music for nearly 23 hours and videos for 6 hours, 15 minutes. All good tallies, but they fall short of each of Apple’s published specs by about an hour. And, as with its iPod cousins, the iPhone’s battery can’t be removed. If you have to replace the battery, you must return the phone to an Apple Store (or send it in), which will replace it for $85.95 ($79 plus $6.95 for shipping). It takes three days, and the iPhone is returned to you stripped of all its data - so be sure to sync it with your computer first. If you need a loaner iPhone during the three-day period, Apple charges $29.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

The iPhone is elegant. It’s exciting. And it’s the first device we’ve picked up in a long time that we just did not want to put down. The more we use the iPhone, the more we like it - EDGE network, warts, and all. For many users, the lack of a faster wireless data option is a deal breaker, and we can sympathize. But the iPhone does 98 percent of everything Apple claims it does so flawlessly, so well, that it’s hard to dwell on the downsides. The iPhone may be a first-generation product, but if this is a signal of what’s to come from Apple in the world of mobile devices, we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Welcome to the world Ai: After iPhone.

 

COMPANY: Apple
CONTACT: www.apple.com
PRICE: $499 (4GB), $599 (8GB)
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.10 or later, iTunes 7.3 or later, USB
Gorgeous design. Feels great in hand. Intuitive interface. Touchscreen controls work well. Dazzling screen quality. Displays standard-formatted webpages. Good Wi-Fi connectivity. Excellent audio quality for music and phone calls.
Sluggish Internet access via AT&T’s EDGE network. Bluetooth limited to headsets. No instant messaging app. Fixed battery. Safari browser doesn’t support some plug-ins. Calendar doesn’t support iCal To-Dos. So-so camera.

 

 

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jsaball

Is there any way to delete dowloaded icons from the origional Iphone?
jsaball@verizon.net

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Anonymous

Garageband allows custom ringtone. Mac only. I'm on my iPhone!! I have an 8G and my mom has a 16G

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Anonymous

Now if only they would bring the iPhone to Canada.

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jonf

After getting my 3 replacment iphone and after 1 month of use I have noticed the following was not changed and didn't exsit. 1) all the mp3s on my phone and no way to use them as alert or ringtones, No Alert tones for incomeing text or mail or calander events. 2)Groups in address book can't be used for bulk texting or bulk e-mail say to friends for meetups or parties. 3) No widget screen savers while phone is on standby should at minimum show time or even allow for stock updates and weather alerts. 4) needs external switch to quiclky turn on or off wi-fi. Finally since I was in the front row of macworlds anouncement of the Iphone thier was a mention of a SD slot where did that go?
Seems strange that my previous phone the Sony K790a was tighter intigration to my mac than an I phone with file transfer,syncing,3.2 mp camera with flash,web browser,e-mail client with alerts and multiple pop/push mail accounts and rss reader and mp3 player with better speaker as well as video player. All be a smaller screen and no cool touch. I hope apple will get it together and wow me with some upgraded apps like Weather Radar, Alert settings for all content like weather changes ,stock changes,e-mail and SMS arrival and the ability to USE OR CREATE MY OWN RINGTONES AND ALERTS.

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Chyronct

I don't understand. What part of this article reveals information I didn't already know? There is nothing here that is going to help me get the most from my iPhone. Where are the hints? Where are some tips and tricks? This article says essentially the same thing as every other review. "No Java or Flash in the browser, keyboard takes time to get used to, EDGE network slower than WiFi, no custom ringtones [yet], battery is not removable." Seriously, how much of this did we NOT know on June 30th?

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Anonymous

Magazines are slooooooooooow. Even on their web sites there sloooooooooow. This magazine is sloooooooow. So is macworld though -- magazine are doooooooooooooooomed.

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Jeffry Morgan

I saw A web site That Opened the I phone and for Future Updates the I-Phone Already Has the 3G Card In it, Way They did not go with it To Begin with is Beyond Me!!!!
The Following Statement Is Wrong.

Sadly, because AT&T’s faster (and more expensive) 3G wireless data network requires different hardware, a first-generation iPhone won’t likely be capable of upgrading to anything faster than EDGE.

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Marcus Thomas

Are you talking about the 3G SIM Card? that's just a label on the SIM card. All AT&T SIM cards say 3G on it, even though the SIM cards have nothing to do with the iPhone's ability to do 3G.

Can you post the link to the site you're talking about?

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