Finally got to try an iPhone
I walked into my local ATT store today and was able to try an iPhone unmolested by large crowds or salespeople for about 20 minutes today. It sure is a nice little device, but I walked away feeling really good about my Treo. The biggest reason would be the soft keyboard. It just isn't for me in it's current tuning and iteration, maybe if it were adjustable to a degree (I could have missed if it is). Maybe it's my fingers or the device I tested, but it seems to pull to the sides. For instance, I would constantly get an r when I was looking for a T or a P when trying to type an O. I wasn't trying to be speedy by any means either and swear I was accurate in being over the right letter.. Pecking with one finger was better but I still saw this issue though not as much. With the iPhone in the wild though, I'm sure they will be able to fine tune it and add on functionality over time. The lack of actual tactile 'feel' though makes me think I would be happier overall with a smaller screen if I could still have a thumboard. I also really felt like I wanted a 5 way nav button, in Safari it feels a bit too 'loose' flipping down through pages, and I found it moving left or right when doing so occasionally. But I could live with that. The keyboard is a bigger issue for me.
Of course, I knew there were no 3rd party apps, and lo and behold I found the included apps insufficient.
The calendar app, while being limited, also felt cumbersome to add new appointments, I liked how the UI looked but functionally it seems to waste lots of space. I use smaller than normal fonts on my Treo also so it really seemed excessive to me. I would need repeats and I also have need to set up multi-day weekly meeting say every Yue and Thu but you can't do that from what I saw. I did like the two alarms per meeting though, you can set one alarm for the day before to be reminded it is upcoming and one for the day of. That's nice. I didn't notice if there is a way to invite attendees, and I didn't see any kind of tie-in with Mail.
The stocks app is great, I liked that even though I'm not an investor (makes me want to buy some AAPL stock of course), I like the historical graph, that's a nice addition that makes it really useful to keep what you are seeing in some perspective.
The weather app is pretty but weak. It would have been nice if it linked to full weather forecasts and animated maps in a Safari page, for instance. Though not as pretty, 4cast kills it. I think TreoWeather also is better and more customizable. Probably the biggest issue is that you don't get the weather as part of turning on the device. The iPhone needs a 'Today' screen.
Notes sucks primarily because it is a dead end. It seems to me a Stickies app would have been better, with some sort of a gesture to bring up ontop of any other app. Of course copy/paste would be great for this.
Mail wasn't set up with a real account so I couldn't see real rich content emails, but I'm sure it works fine. I didn't see how you can attach a picture to a new message though.
Safari was great other than scrolling, but again that's just something to adapt to. It sure would be nice to copy and paste though, how would you send a snippet to a friend or post a long quote in a forum, for example? Especially with the limitations of any mobile entry system it seems copy/paste is a huge omission.
The camera seemed great, especially compared to the only-for-mugshots camera on my 680. The pictures I snapped of the iPhone display counter were lovely Too bad it doesn't have video. My dream device would be an iPhone with a nice mini iMovie app. Maybe next gen. My SE w680i had it. Why can't the iPhone?
Google Maps is Google Maps , but the phone wasn't on a wifi network (it looked like someone else screwed up the WEP key before I saw the phone) and it was a little pokey, but generally about as fast as my 680. Safari seemed really slow, but then it was trying to load full sites over EDGE. I only load mobile sites if I can help it on my Treo so I can't really compare the experiences. My Treo of course is faster and I use content that is fine to get over EDGE, so EDGE is fine on a Treo with Blazer. Hopefully for iPhone users there will be content that is optimized for mobiles that doesn't cause it issues. That would likely help us all since I doubt a Treo would have troubles loading those sorts of pages either.
Photos was great, I didn't spend enough time with it to discover if there is any editing capabilities but for viewing photos it's great. I'd hope you can change brightness, contrast, do some cropping. Can it do that? My SE phone had pretty extensive photo capabilities, though the iPhone camera is a better overall camera. I didn't try a slideshow or anything.
I didn't try SMS but no IM blows I use chat but not SMS. Hopefully the web apps work well enough until a native version comes along. The keyboard would be a huge problem for me though, I'm not too speedy a typist on a full size keyboard but I'm nearly as fast on a Treo. I don't see being anywhere as fast with the iPhone. Again, maybe the device needed to be tweaked.
iPod: what iPod? The freaks at ATT didn't include ANY media on the demo device so I couldn't look at any of that, no music, no videos, nothing.
Bottom line is it is a beautiful device that doesn't do it for me. Like I said, I walked away feeling my trusty Treo 680 was a good investment (just got it within the last two months) and that the iPhone couldn't do what I needed on a daily basis. Not by a long, long shot. Yet. I didn't drink the cool aide and know it is actually not 5 years ahead of any other phone (behind in many areas, actually). I\The Palm platform is just way more mature. If Apple makes a few changes (3rd party apps is the real biggie), and if Palm acts like Palm for the next year or so (can't imagine how that will change), I'll probably be walking out of the store with a new iPhone when my 680 needs to be retired.
- 07-13-2007, 01:26 AM #2
Um, OK. If you're happy with what you got great. Personally, I had a 680 and thought it was the worst Treo in recent history. Poor stability, lousy phone reception, lame built-in software (for example they removed support for some ringtones formats that were in the 700p). Your comments on the iPod function are silly, so the AT&T droids didn't load anything? The iPod function on the iPhone is killer and mops all the Treos combined as far as multimedia goes. Seriously the iPod function is utterly killer on this thing but it's a zero in your "review" because there wasn't any content on it?
If there are any Apple stores near you, go there. They have fully functional iPhones for people to try. I've even seen people making phone calls on them.
I guess I can qualify why getting the 680 was a good investment, else it may be misunderstood that I am saying it is a better product. I got my 680 with my wife's nice Palm employee discount and didn't have renew my contract to do so. So it was relatively cheap for me, my wife's phone had broken and we needed to buy something. I had been using a TX linked nicely to my BT cel for data and was really happy with that as it was very flexible and the TX screen was great to watch movies on (same size as the iPhone) and web browsing, Google Maps, email etc was simple. But then also my screen got a dead spot and it was $90 to get it back to normal. I didn't know if I wanted to invest that much since for a little more i could just get a Treo and carry one device instead of two (though I really love that SE phones still). The iPhone of course was coming but after hearing there was no 3rd party apps I decided to get a Treo at least for the short term. If I didn't like it my wife could always use it and I'd look for another phone for myself.
My point that I "walked away feeling my trusty Treo 680 was a good investment" was that I had my doubts and had to feel for myself the wonder that is the iPhone. When I finally held it and could experience the cool new UI first hand, I definitely appreciated it and part of me would love it as my phone. But considering in total the cel phone market right now, the iPhone vs my Treo's price, the fact that Sprint has a faster network and there likely will be big shakeups in the market because of the iPhone, it feels like now is a good time to sit back and see what happens with an economical, familiar and (for me at least) relatively stable 680 that does everything that I need it to do, not be in a 2 year contract with ATT, and wait for the next gen device (either the iPhone or something comparable) that does everything I need and in style. Apple's definitely got the style and I can't blame them too much for not having all of the substance. They are still early in the iPhone's development and hopefully they will add more 'pro' features to the iPhone over time. I think that is pretty inevitable really. That Palm can get it's act together is way more questionable.
- 07-13-2007, 08:10 AM #5
- 07-13-2007, 08:59 AM #6
Braj, as for the keyboard and selecting the wrong letter, one can "slide" their fingers over the keys as well until they get to the letter they want to select. as for sending a photo via email it is done so via the Photo app. i'm not sure that many out there are as dissatisfied as you with the Weather not being displayed on the front page. for some of us it's pretty easy to access by just pushing the weather icon.
i too am glad you like your 680, i personally hated mine.
- 07-13-2007, 09:15 AM #7
Braj, I agree with many of your points. On the keyboard, however, that "pulling to the side" has gone away for me. It took a few days, but my fingers got used to going where they need to go. More importantly, when typing text fast (like in sms, email, or notes), when i miss, it seems to always properly correct.
Typing urls and email addresses tends to be a hassle for me still, though,
And while I agree about the today screen, i wouldn't put weather on mine. But, then, I live in california where we don't have weather.
- 07-13-2007, 09:34 AM #8
- 07-13-2007, 10:53 AM #9
your typing improves . . . .
And if you wife shows up with two iPhones it's, "wow, how did I forget today is a vacation day, thanks dear!" But give the virtual keyboard another visit (in a real Apple store). On each additional visit your typing improves so much youre wondering, where's the improvement coming from? Of course you are right, Palm is still tops in many areas. But iPhone has room to grow and Steve Jobs :thumbsup: eats/sleeps product improvement. [Hint to Palm--This is your window of opportunity - now is the time to amaze us. ]
- 07-13-2007, 11:15 AM #10
- 07-13-2007, 11:29 AM #11
- 07-13-2007, 11:50 AM #14
- 07-13-2007, 12:10 PM #15
- 07-13-2007, 12:20 PM #16
- 07-13-2007, 01:45 PM #17
Regarding the Today screen, just some sort of customizable entry screen when you launch the device would be nice, listing the # of emails, messages, weather, maybe links to last used Google Maps or visited URLs. I dunno. This is why I want 3rd party apps, so you can customize the phone to the user's way of doing things. This used to be a big credo of Apple's that they advertised, having many ways to get a task done depending on how you work, not the machine. Anyhow, iPhone 2.0 I guess.
- 07-13-2007, 03:16 PM #19
Yep. In another thread I argued with Archie about this; the "alert" interface is inconsistent. When calls and SMS comes in, the screen turns on and you get a dialog. Not so for emails. I think calendar events do. I dunno.
My point was I want one screen where i can see all the pending events/alerts/etc.
And in another thread I said I want to be able to add bookmarks (google maps, calendar items, contacts, web pages, whatever) to the "home screen." (Sort of like what treo allows with its "quick dials")
- 07-13-2007, 04:21 PM #20
- 07-13-2007, 04:38 PM #21
The thing with Apple is sometimes they just do stubborn stuff just to be 'different'. Like one button mice, it took them forever to realize people wanted two buttons, but if they listened to their users they would have had it 10 years earlier. Maybe there is no Today screen just so they can't be accused of copying MSFT. I could care less where they get good ideas from.
- 07-13-2007, 04:57 PM #23
a bit off topic but why not; is there a way to minimize or hide the keyboard after you've finished typing, besides pressing send or whatever button takes you to the next screen? i only say this in that some items that you might want to access prior to jumping over to the next screen get covered up by the keyboard.
thoughts? if there is no fix then it's a small gripe of mine.
- 07-13-2007, 05:09 PM #24
If you're going to think along those lines then go back to Windows Mobile. Apple will always be "different," to some extent.
How about this: When device is locked, and you press a wakeup button, it shows the homescreen? Instead of that stupid wallpaper. And, the slide function could be slightly transparent, so you can see the red new message counters through it. Not a bad idea, and probably more Apple-ish.
EDIT: Not to oalvarez, that was in response to the second post before mine. Took me a while to finish it, I AM working