iPhone 3G Review

iPhone 3G Review

The Decision
This weekend I took the plunge. I did something I honestly never thought I would do. I purchased an iPhone. I was looking at possibly getting the AT&T tilt and using the wi-fi access for internet. This would save $30 per month. But once I saw how big and bulky the phone actually is I became reluctant to move in that direction. The iPhone 3G was just released on Friday as well, so I got to play around with a hands on demo at the AT&T store. I was very impressed. But I decided to head home and think it over some more. I know making a decision to spend $30 more per month isn’t something I should do while at the store.

I read multiple reviews about the 3G network, and the new iPhone. I then began to see how I could use the new iPhone for Instant Messaging, Email, Twitter Updates, and even begin to explore the ‘mobile web’, which are websites that render the web specifically for mobile devices. I realized that as a web developer I was shooting myself in the foot by not having a tool to help me see and then build for this ‘mobile’ web.

I talked over the decision with my wife, and she reluctantly allowed me to take the plunge into iPhone land.

iPhone 3G
The Review

I have now been an iPhone user for only about 32 hours. And I am very impressed. The iPhones interface is by far the most intuitive interface I have ever used on a phone. I haven’t had the need to open the manual even once. It is amazing to have a phone that is so chocked full of features, yet is easy to use. Apple has truly done an excellent job. I have historically been strongly opposed to Apple products, the iPod especially, but they have done an amazing job with this product and should be commended for their development work to bring a product like this to the market.

My top favorite features:
1. Intuitive Interface
2. Silent toggle switch – switch on the side of the phone to turn all sounds off instantly.
3. 3G – Broadband data network.
4. App Store – Easy to use way to add more apps to your phone.
5. Maps – Google Maps with the ability to find where you physically are, this is crazy cool.
6. Safari Browser – You can view any website right on your phone. (no flash 9 support though which stinks so sites like hulu.com are not usable via the iPhone. (Come on Adobe make your SDK available for mobile devices.)
7. An ever expanding feature set via Apps. (This is the #1 feature in my opinion)

I began looking through the App Store offerings for free applications. I grabbed the AIM, Pandora, Bible, Facebook, Twitterific and eBay applications. These Apps seem to be the best of the bunch right now, but the App Store is only days old so I anticipate many more cool free offerings in the near future. (I am personally hoping for a Gizmo5 offering or a Skype offering.) My only issue with some of the apps are that they must be active to be working. For example the AIM application must be open on the phone so that you can send and receive IM’s. I would love to be able to have the app run in the background and notify me of an incoming message. Again, this is something I anticipate someone making in the near future, so it isn’t a huge issue. The positive is that I am able to send some IM’s via my phone from anywhere that I might be.

Another other cool thing about the iPhone is that it is popular enough that companies are making web based apps specially for the iPhone. They may work with other mobile devices but that are designed for the iPhone so I would guess that they work best in Safari.

Some cool web based apps (meaning they run in Safari) that I began using on the iPhone.
Meebo – you can instant message with just about every IM service available.
Ping.fm – this little app rocks, I am able to update my status on every social networking site I use by typing it in just once. ( I never actually go to all of those sites anymore. ) – Oh and if you want an invite to ping.fm just ask for one in the comments of this blog post and I will see what I can do.

In Summary

The new iPhone 3G is possibly a laptop replacement for me, and it is far more mobile than bringing a laptop everywhere I go. With this I am able to keep in contact with friends and family using social networking technology regardless of where I am at, check my email, quickly get directions to an address, and make those ever important phone calls. I really like that this one device can do all of this.

I will likely write up some more reviews on the various Apps that will be unleashed for the iPhone in the coming weeks. I anticipate seeing a lot of innovation out there from the development community and am very interested to see how much the iPhone will be able to do in the future via Apps.

If you would like a far more in-depth review of the iPhone 3G I recommend checking out Terry White’s review.

Update: I also just added a mobile version of this website. If you come to thebristows.com via an iPhone or other mobile device you will see the slimmed down version of the site automatically. Enjoy!

Update: I added a iPhone version of this website. If you come to thebristows.com via an iPhone you will see the slimmed down and iPhone friendly version of the site automatically. Enjoy!