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The Smartphone Round Robin: A Treo User's Take on the iPhone

Tue Oct 30, 2007 - 1:33 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell

Overview

No Treo for 3 whole weeks?! Say WHAT?! B..b..b..but the Treo is my main device. My hands are already shaking. I'll miss my little Copper baby! I took the battery out so I wouldn't be tempted to pick it up.

Ya know, I could really be sad about all this, but heck, you all know that I'm a gadget freak. This is an opportunity to get my hands on different devices and try them out! I'm all for it! And what better way to learn about these different smartphones? I've got the forums that are chocked full of smartphone experts. There is always someone who knows the answer to a question. Please bear with me because I'm bound to ask some pretty dumb ones.

So this week I'm using the Apple iPhone. Gadget candy at its best! Now I have to admit that the iPhone I'm using is actually mine. I bought it online the day the iPhone came out. But believe it or not, all I've really done with it is watch some YouTube videos, surf the net with Safari, take some pics, and make about 4 phone calls. I know that's pathetic. My Mom asked me just last week if I ever use my iPhone. I was embarrassed to say, "Not really". I'm sure she probably thought that I had wasted my money if I'm not going to use the thing. And most of you are probably nodding your heads and saying the same thing. I don't blame you. The iPhone was just a "must have" for me because of all the hype and I wanted to be in on the excitement. And I can Never ever have enough gadgets. I do love the thing! Very much! I just usually reach for my Treo 680 though because I'm so used to doing everything with that device. And I just haven't bothered to take the time to actually sit down and really see all the iPhone's potentials.



Syncing

Syncing with iTunes is pretty simple. I already have an iPod with video so I had a little experience there. I'm glad that Apple and Palm both make it so easy for their device users.

I did screw up a few times when trying to sync some movies and tv shows though. I couldn't figure out how to get them to sync and then found that I had to click on "Jenny's iPhone" and then click on the tabs at the top; Summary, Info, Ringtones, Music, etc,.. But then I checked the wrong boxes a couple of times and put some movies back on the iPhone that I'd already deleted. So I had to make sure that I wasn't checking the wrong boxes under the stuff that I wanted to sync. Duh!

As for photos, I haven't synced any to my computer yet because I don't have the compatible photo program yet. I kept wondering why I couldn't get my photos to show up under the "Photos" tab. Hmmm, it helps to read the User Manual. Ya think? So I still need to get Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0. Update on that. I just downloaded Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.2 and now I can get my photos from my iPhone to my desktop computer.

I haven't quite got my email set up yet. I was successful with my Yahoo mail, but I'd rather have access to my gmail account. For some reason, I couldn't get that account setup. I'm going to try out IMAP later today and see if I can get that going. Mike has an article over at Phone Different and that's where I'm going to go to learn how to set it up. Well, update on that! I couldn't set up the IMAP because my Gmail settings doesn't even have an option for IMAP, only for POP. So I just set up a POP account a few minutes ago and it's working great.

I'm still working on setting up my Outlook on my desktop computer so I can sync my iPhone's Calendar. I haven't used Outlook is sooooooo long and I can't even remember my password. I stopped using it because of all the stupid spam. But good grief, every email account I've got has spam so I might as well go back and give Outlook another try. I'll be needing it for one of my other Round Robin devices anyway.

I love how simple it was to get online and activate the iPhone and set it up. Drool practically dripped down my shirt when I first turned on the device and saw that big, gorgeous screen! And man alive, that Multi-touch technology just blew my mind. It's one thing to see someone demonstrate the iPhone screen in a video but to actually hold one in your hand and touch the screen yourself is amazing. And using your pinched fingers and spreading them apart to zoom in on a photo is so cool!


Apps

Having the Weather and YouTube and Safari right at your figertips is pretty awesome. By messing around on YouTube, I found some music artists that I'd never heard of and after hearing their music, I was able to go and buy a song I liked from the iTunes Store. And being able to wirelessly browse and download from the iTunes store is cool. What little text messaging I've done was fun and I like the threaded messaging. The graphics are great on the cute little chat balloons.

Notes is okay but I wish I could change the text or font. The onscreen keyboard looks good but I haven't really gotten the hang of it yet. I don't hate it but I'm not doing all that great on it. I'm so used to tapping with a stylus when using an onscreen keyboard. My fingers aren't fat but it's still sort of hard for me to hit the correct letter. I appreciate the big letter popping up when you tap the letter though that shows you exactly which letter you did tap. So many times I think I'm tapping the right letter only to see that big letter pop up showing me that I'm wrong.

I didn't think I'd like the Calendar when I first tried it out. I was thinking, "What the crap? How am I supposed to enter anything here?" But upon closer inspection, the Calendar turned out to be pretty cool. I get a kick out of spinning the Rolodex type date and time wheel around to schedule appointments. Pretty slick.



Tangles

I know this isn't any fault of the iPhone but I hate the earbuds that came with it. Although they sound pretty good, they aren't very comfortable. I have small ears and after a short time, those earbuds kill the insides of my ears. I try to just barely sit them on the inside but after awhile, my ears still start hurting, or I feel that I can't hear the music loud enough because the earbuds aren't far enough in my ears. And the way most earbuds tangle just drives me bonkers! I mentioned recently in my SeV TEC Shirt review how much I hate tangling wires and gave an example of how easily those wires can get all tangled up.

Okay, get this: Yesterday I was syncing my iPhone and had my very comfortable Koss earbuds still hooked to the device. When the iPhone finished syncing, I grabbed it to slide it closer to me so I could put the earbuds in my ears and listen to the latest song I'd downloaded. Well, one of the cats jumped up on my desk and knocked the iPhone and cradle over. I stood up to pick up the iPhone and before I could pick up the earbuds, which were layed out very straight and untangled at the time, they fell straight down between my desk and my file cabinet where my printer sits. When I reached down to pick up the earbuds, they were magically tangled in a very stupid knot around my camera dock wire! How unbelievably insane. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. I guess these types of wires are just meant to be in knots at all times for some strange reason. Some of these are fancy knots that I wouldn't even know how to tie in the first place. And it's so much fun untying them. NOT! Anyway, above is a pic of the sweet little knot that magically appeared when the earbuds fell down between the desk and file cabinet. Hmmm, I'm gonna have to get a pair of retractable earbuds before I sling these things in the trash.

Basically what I'm saying is I wouldn't mind using Bluetooth headphones with the iPhone.



Want those 3rd party apps

I really miss having 3rd party apps. I'm so used to being able to find just about any kind of game I want and sync it to my Treo and then play it whenever I find the time. And I like being able to get ebooks too. The 3rd party apps is where the iPhone is really lacking. But I'm so glad to hear that Steve Jobs announced that Apple will have an SDK out in February. I can't wait to see what cool apps start appearing! In the meantime, I'm a little cautious, well, chicken, to try and hack my iPhone. But after reading Mike's article yesterday on "Instant 3rd Party Apps for iPhone 1.1.1", I'm sort of thinking about it.... And I also read that we might be getting Documents to Go for iPhone as soon as Apple releases the SDK in February.



Final thoughts, so far...

So anyway, overall, the iPhone is looking pretty good to me so far. I'm seeing that I should have been using it much more and getting to know it sooner. I guess in a way I was sort of savoring the experience for my little pockets of free time. The iPhone seems to be a great entertainment device since you've got the iPod functions, the camera, Safari, which is one heck of a sweet web browsing experience. And you've got YouTube videos which are certainly entertaining. The UI is awesome. I'm not exactly what you'd call an Apple "fan girl" as I'm just now sort of learning the ropes. After getting an iPod, I saw that Apple really had something there. Then I bought an Apple PowerBook from fellow writer Jimmie Geddes and I really liked the Mac OS. I don't use the PowerBook as much as I should either. This desktop PC is my main computer and where I spend all day working. I can see why there are so many Apple fan boys and fan girls out there. The iPhone is a revolutionary product for sure. I think that the developers out there are just waiting with anticipation for the SDK in February. They're probably ready to break the doors down and get some cool apps on the iPhone. I can just imagine how much greater it's going to be when all those 3rd party apps start showing up.

There are official Smartphone Round Robin contest threads at all our sites now so go start posting for your chance to win! I just put up a thread over at Mike's Phone Different blog.





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