The iSlate Will Be Announced In

July 16, 2008

iPhone 3G IS HERE

It's taken us a couple of days to post anything about the new iPhone because it took us a couple of days to get one.

Unlike the first iPhone, buying the iPhone 3G is a pain in the ass. First you wait in line for like way too many hours, then you wait outside the store, then you wait inside the store and then you finally get to sit down with a sales guy. He asks a couple of questions and clicks some info into a wireless computer that looks about as far away from an Apple computer as you can get, and then you wait some more. And then you wait some more. ATT and Apple are pointing fingers at each other's servers... but the whole thing is ugly when compared to the awesome simpleness of the previous iPhone's acquisition process.

After you get home, you've got to hook the thing up to iTunes and wait some more. Finally after like 30 hours of waiting and waiting, you're ready to play.

Was it worth the wait. Yes. And No.

Here's the good:

FEELS GOOD. Right off the bat, like every other website is saying, the new iPhone is very comfy in your hand. The new plastic back is also slightly tacky and as such almost grips your hand. It's not so tacky that it will attract lint in your pocket, but it does feel less likely to slip out of your hand.

MOBILE ME. This new service works pretty well, but it only pushes email from a .me/.mac account, so it's falls quite short of Blackberry's universal push features. That being said, it's pretty cool to send an email from your iPhone and see it in your "send" folder on your desktop a second later.

HEADPHONES. The input jack is no longer recessed, so you can use any earphones you like. This is not so much a good as it is a correction of a "BAD" from the previous model. Every headphone-capable device in the world (except the first iPhone) has this feature. Regarding the headphones themselves, the audio quality is the same, but it appears that Apple has changed the rubber that coats them. For lack of a better term, we would say the iPhone 3G headphones are more "Sproingy." Meaning the rubber the surrounds them is just a tad more resilient to bending. We think their new rubber-sproingy nature reduces headphone-pocket-tangle, which is a good thing.

APPLICATION STORE. This is great. You don't need the iPhone 3G for this, but it's still great. Tons and tons of cool applications and many of them are free. As is the case with almost everything in the world, you get what you pay for, so don't expect awesome games for free. That being said, there are some neat little diddies that are free and for five bucks you can get some pretty decent gaming in your pocket. We're particularly partial to Apple's 4.99 Texas Hold'em poker game. In the near future, we will start reviewing games and utilities that cost less then 5 dollars so you can be cheap and have fun too.

3G. Unlike EDGE, this actually works. When you are outside of WiFi you can reliably use the Internet. This is the biggest upgrade in our book. EDGE never worked in our Alaskan headquarters or our Miami distribution center, so the addition of 3G is nice. Also 3G calls (usually) sound much better than off the shelf GSM calls. That's good too.

GPS. Well, we're not so sure about this one. Yes, it's in there and yes, it works, but we don't see how it's all that much better than the Google Maps positioning that was in the previous model. We've tried out a couple of the Geo-tagging applications and can't see how they would be much use unless you were in Vegas for a bachelor party with 10 guys who all had iPhone 3Gs. We suspect there will be a killer app for this in the future which will change our opinion.

Here's the bad:

THE SCREEN IS YELLOW. Apple calls it warmer, which is a technological term for yellow. If you've been using the old iPhone for the last year, this "warmer" screen feels weird. That being said, it's not that big a deal. Everything that isn't white looks the same.

BATTERY. This thing is not as good as the first model. We don't really care if it's 3G or the GPS, the battery on this thing is almost unacceptable. Yes, we suppose it's possible to achieve all the long test times you've read about on various websites, but all of those tests are made with specific parameters in place. When you're just using the phone (like you will be) you're gonna find it runs out of batteries before it should--before the end of a normal day of sporadic use. That's too soon. Since we're not about to close down this website (and put 46 people out on the streets) we're keeping our iPhone 3Gs, but we're going to add some charging cradles in the rest-rooms. We'll keep you posted on our struggles with the battery and let you know if we find any solutions which significantly improve performance.

APPLICATION STORE. As great as the application store is, it's still seems a little buggy to us. A fair percentage of the applications are prone to crashing and sometimes a crashing application will initiate a 4 minute iPhone reboot. Four minutes is a really long time for a phone to reboot. Needless to say, if you're waiting on a very important call, we'd recommend not using a new application.

3G. Yes, it's better, but we think this puppy is guilty of using too much battery and we have noticed an alarming number (roughly 10%) of our 3G calls have a very short echo. Sometimes the caller can hear it and sometimes the callee can hear it. Never both. It's kinda like a satellite echo, but quicker. While it's not the kinda thing that you'll call back for... if your call is over a couple of minutes, you'll starting thinking... "I can't believe I waited in line for this..."

1 comment:

badweasel said...

Another thing to keep in mind on apps is that there is no hard drive or swap space on the iphone. I know that normal users don't think about this and maybe shouldn't have to. HOWEVER, if you're one of those people who totally fills up your iphone with music, videos and other data - your apps might crash often. Try to leave about 1/2 a gig free at all times and it might take away some of those crashes. When the phone runs out of memory it reboots. It's designed to.

Think of it like this. If you totally filled up your hard drive you'd have problems. It's the same on the iphone. If you run a program that accesses the net, all that new downloaded data needs someplace to be stored. Even just creating graphics onscreen takes more ram. It's a new paradigm.