1. marcol's Avatar
    I bought an iPhone in the UK on release day, battling my way through the crowd of a dozen or so at my local Carphone Warehouse. I would have gone to an O2 shop, but they only had free tea and CPW had sandwiches A few thoughts about the device:

    Tikety-boo:

    The hardware aesthetics are just terrific. Ive's best to date IMHO. Simply gorgeous.

    The UI is simple and beautiful and also really, really quick. Whatever Apple are doing under the hood they seem to have got it right. I'm sure a 600+ MHz processor and plenty of RAM help but clearly Apple have the OS side sorted too.

    Safari. Ditto the comments on the UI, with the one proviso noted below.

    Wifi switching. Join a network once and next time you're in range you're connected. This is the way it should be on all devices and it's just silly that it isn't.

    Music. Sounds great, lovely interface, and the device has just enough in the way of external controls for in-pocket use (volume, play, pause, skip).

    Video. Moved some TV programmes recorded with eyeTV onto the device. Videos look great and the video UI is particularly terrific. This is the first handheld I've owned that I'd consider a decent video device.

    'Streaming' video. Not really streaming in a technical sense I think, but it starts playing more-or-less straight away which is fine. I used eyeTV's Wifi access functionality to watch programmes stored on our home iMac. Out of the box this only works on a local network but that's easily fixed.

    Not quite perfect:

    Using Safari one-handed. Using the device one-handed was mostly ok but I found scrolling in Safari (when zoomed in) fiddly (tended to scroll diagonally too often).

    A long way from being perfect:

    Keyboard. While it's clever in its word predictions and I did get better with time the error rate was still high. On a Treo or similar keyboard I can type quite easily using the thumb of the hand I'm holding the device with, but I seriously doubt that this would ever be possible on the iPhone keyboard (in its current form).

    Storage capacity: 8GB really is quite limiting, especially given how good the device is as a video player.

    GPRS. Never saw EDGE, and GPRS is just too damn slow. The spectacular performance of Safari over Wifi just makes this seem worse. Ok for email though.

    Deal-breakingly bad:

    There's no way to say this other than, under some signal conditions, the iPhone performance as a phone is simply unacceptable. Downstairs in my house the signal strength meter flickered between one bar and a 'No service' message. It dropped calls and often failed to send or receive text messages. I found this odd because I'd tested the strength of the O2 signal in my house using a friends phone and it had been fine. I invited her over and we compared how her phone (a Siemens something-or-other) and my iPhone performed. The Siemens was fine - two or three bars on the signal meter, no problems dropping calls, sending texts etc - while the iPhone (which was right next to it) did its one-bar/No service thing. I swapped the first iPhone for a second, but the replacement behaved in exactly the same way.

    I don't quite know what is going on but made two other observations that might be relevant:

    1) Both iPhones could always see Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange signals in my house. They couldn't connect of course because they're locked to O2 so I couldn't check the signal strength, but the fact that signal was always received might indicate that it was just 02 reception that was compromised.

    2) Both iPhones displayed a reasonable O2 signal (two or three bars on the meter) and could make and receive calls, send and receive text messages just fine when attached to an external power supply (computer or the mains).

    To try to work out what is going on I had a look at this web site:

    http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk

    which shows the mobile phone base stations in the UK. It shows that in my area Vodafone has a mixture of 1800 and 900 MHz transmitters, Orange and T-Mobile have only 1800 MHz transmitters and O2 has only 900 MHz transmitters. It's obviously impossible to draw a conclusion from this scant information but a working hypothesis could be that the iPhone performs poorly in receiving in the 900 MHz band unless connected to an external power supply, i.e. there might be power management issues related to 900 MHz reception.

    That's just a guess of course and is rather academic. I returned the second iPhone and cancelled the contract. A phone that works the way the iPhone does in my house is (literally) worse than useless to me.
    11-15-2007 07:27 AM
  2. archie's Avatar
    I bought an iPhone in the UK on release day, battling my way through the crowd of a dozen or so at my local Carphone Warehouse. I would have gone to an O2 shop, but they only had free tea and CPW had sandwiches A few thoughts about the device:

    Tikety-boo:

    The hardware aesthetics are just terrific. Ive's best to date IMHO. Simply gorgeous.

    The UI is simple and beautiful and also really, really quick. Whatever Apple are doing under the hood they seem to have got it right. I'm sure a 600+ MHz processor and plenty of RAM help but clearly Apple have the OS side sorted too.
    Actually, the processor is only running at 400MHz. Though they did bump it up to 412MHz in the last firmware update (1.1.2). The bus speed went up as well - from 100 to 103MHz. Maybe someday they will eventually bump it up to the full 667 MHz.

    Safari. Ditto the comments on the UI, with the one proviso noted below.

    Wifi switching. Join a network once and next time you're in range you're connected. This is the way it should be on all devices and it's just silly that it isn't.

    Music. Sounds great, lovely interface, and the device has just enough in the way of external controls for in-pocket use (volume, play, pause, skip).
    Yes, I particularly like how you can squeeze the mic once to pause and double-squeeze to skip.
    Here's one that is undocumented ANYWHERE for interested readers here. If you squeeze one time (while a song is playing), the iPhone's playback will pause, and if you then double-squeeze, the iPhone will skip BACK to the beginning of the song, album or playlist (depending on what you started playing).

    Video. Moved some TV programmes recorded with eyeTV onto the device. Videos look great and the video UI is particularly terrific. This is the first handheld I've owned that I'd consider a decent video device.

    'Streaming' video. Not really streaming in a technical sense I think, but it starts playing more-or-less straight away which is fine. I used eyeTV's Wifi access functionality to watch programmes stored on our home iMac. Out of the box this only works on a local network but that's easily fixed.
    This is actual streaming. I have the eyeTV 500 and use it to bring in ATSC HD content (and Standard broadcasts as well). Having TitanTV.com bookmarked on the iphone is nice. Lets me quickly view the programming and simple click a show I want to record. That's it. One click and its recording at home.

    Then I can also just go to my other bookmark at http://myfakeDynDNSname.com:2170/eyetv/ to see all my recorded shows. Pick one and its streaming in about 5 seconds.

    No other solution is simpler. I love it.

    Not quite perfect:

    Using Safari one-handed. Using the device one-handed was mostly ok but I found scrolling in Safari (when zoomed in) fiddly (tended to scroll diagonally too often).
    Ah, yes. This depends on how the page is constructed, in reference to the CSS defined div tags anyway. If you are zoomed in on an area where the butting edge of two div tags (top and bottom) are visible on screen and there is the possibility to also scroll/pan/whatever left AND right, then it will consider and interpret your finger movements more precisely. I have found that if you start scrolling more abruptly in these cases then slow down, it will scroll precisely up and down and will not precisely follow the movements of your finger as it floats off to the left or right. Once the iPhone starts this strict vertical scrolling it is then locked in to this particular direction/behavior until you lift your finger.

    I should write my own book of hints. :-)

    A long way from being perfect:

    Keyboard. While it's clever in its word predictions and I did get better with time the error rate was still high. On a Treo or similar keyboard I can type quite easily using the thumb of the hand I'm holding the device with, but I seriously doubt that this would ever be possible on the iPhone keyboard (in its current form).
    Really? I found just the opposite. The Treo was next to impossible to type on one handed. I kept having to shift the Treo to the outskirts of my fingers in an effort to try and get my thumb ina position to reach the Q W E, A S D F, Alt Z X C, and Shift keys. That whole corner is unusable in one hand. I'm right handed but it seems I use my left hand more for one touch use (I suppose because while driving I have to shift with my right hand so the left hand holds the phone ). Not so on the iPhone, the keyboard is moved up into the range of the thumb so all keys can be pressed with ease. They really knew what they were doing here.

    Storage capacity: 8GB really is quite limiting, especially given how good the device is as a video player.
    Were you saying in comparison to something like the 160GB iPod because I don't know of any phone that gives you as much memory as the iPhone does.

    GPRS. Never saw EDGE, and GPRS is just too damn slow. The spectacular performance of Safari over Wifi just makes this seem worse. Ok for email though.
    That's unfortunate. Must be O2, huh?

    Deal-breakingly bad:

    There's no way to say this other than, under some signal conditions, the iPhone performance as a phone is simply unacceptable. Downstairs in my house the signal strength meter flickered between one bar and a 'No service' message. It dropped calls and often failed to send or receive text messages. I found this odd because I'd tested the strength of the O2 signal in my house using a friends phone and it had been fine. I invited her over and we compared how her phone (a Siemens something-or-other) and my iPhone performed. The Siemens was fine - two or three bars on the signal meter, no problems dropping calls, sending texts etc - while the iPhone (which was right next to it) did its one-bar/No service thing. I swapped the first iPhone for a second, but the replacement behaved in exactly the same way.

    I don't quite know what is going on but made two other observations that might be relevant:

    1) Both iPhones could always see Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange signals in my house. They couldn't connect of course because they're locked to O2 so I couldn't check the signal strength, but the fact that signal was always received might indicate that it was just 02 reception that was compromised.

    2) Both iPhones displayed a reasonable O2 signal (two or three bars on the meter) and could make and receive calls, send and receive text messages just fine when attached to an external power supply (computer or the mains).

    To try to work out what is going on I had a look at this web site:

    http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk

    which shows the mobile phone base stations in the UK. It shows that in my area Vodafone has a mixture of 1800 and 900 MHz transmitters, Orange and T-Mobile have only 1800 MHz transmitters and O2 has only 900 MHz transmitters. It's obviously impossible to draw a conclusion from this scant information but a working hypothesis could be that the iPhone performs poorly in receiving in the 900 MHz band unless connected to an external power supply, i.e. there might be power management issues related to 900 MHz reception.

    That's just a guess of course and is rather academic. I returned the second iPhone and cancelled the contract. A phone that works the way the iPhone does in my house is (literally) worse than useless to me.
    Shortly after getting mine, like about the 4th, 5th and 6th days or so, I could not even make a call out from the top floor of our 3 story house...

    which sits on a hill...

    with a clear view looking out over the border of the next distant state. Ridiculous!

    So there was this period of no reception for about 2-3 hours one morning. I called up AT&T and they gave me some details about the way the connection to any phone on their network works. They explained that I need to shut my iPhone off about once a week so that it can establish a new connection with updated network information. They explained that in order to fully shut it down, I need to hold down on the top button for 4 seconds until the slider shows up at the top of the screen, then slide it over to completely power down.

    Having done this and leaving it off for about 20 seconds lets the tower renew the connection. This new information or data or simple reconnection did work and I now have great reception. I have actually only shut my iPhone completely off on 4 occasions since then because I have not been having any problems but this may be something for users to consider. It's almost as if networks have a priority list and the longer you use a provider the more assured you will be of getting a good powerful signal sent to your phone; like they respect and favor the customers who consistently give them money or something.
    01-03-2008 02:40 PM
  3. Rene Ritchie's Avatar
    You should write a book, Archie!

    I agree about the keyboard. Best mobile keyboard I've ever used. I used to hate the Treo keyboard (hard and round, which made it slippery), and when I hurt my wrist I couldn't even press hard enough to use it (iPhone worked fine, needing almost no pressure). Likewise, I gifted my Treo to a friend who has a Touch, and he detests the Treo keyboard just as much, if not more.

    I also love using my iPhone for video, and agree with the RoughlyDrafted article on Low Def quite a bit.

    I have my cable co's HDPVR which I use for regular stuff. Only when I miss a program to I turn to download and then use VisualHub to transfer it to iTunes.

    I haven't tried EyeTV yet. Which product are you using? I don't think we have over-the-air HD in Canada. I have looked into Apple's Firewire SDK, as my HDPVR has FireWire out, but the data stream size is a little intimidating.
    01-03-2008 03:36 PM
  4. marcol's Avatar
    Thanks for breathing some life into this thread!

    Having TitanTV.com bookmarked on the iphone is nice. Lets me quickly view the programming and simple click a show I want to record. That's it. One click and its recording at home.

    Then I can also just go to my other bookmark at http://myfakeDynDNSname.com:2170/eyetv/ to see all my recorded shows. Pick one and its streaming in about 5 seconds.

    No other solution is simpler. I love it.
    I use DynDNS too. Useful info here for anyone wanting to set it up:

    http://www.tuaw.com/2007/10/03/eyetv...deo-streaming/

    Ah, yes. This depends on how the page is constructed, in reference to the CSS defined div tags anyway. If you are zoomed in on an area where the butting edge of two div tags (top and bottom) are visible on screen and there is the possibility to also scroll/pan/whatever left AND right, then it will consider and interpret your finger movements more precisely. I have found that if you start scrolling more abruptly in these cases then slow down, it will scroll precisely up and down and will not precisely follow the movements of your finger as it floats off to the left or right. Once the iPhone starts this strict vertical scrolling it is then locked in to this particular direction/behavior until you lift your finger.
    Thanks for the tip. Like I say it was only a problem in one-handed use - more difficult to get the thumb travelling exactly vertically I guess. As with the keyboard though I'm sure I would have got better if I'd had the phone longer.

    Were you saying in comparison to something like the 160GB iPod because I don't know of any phone that gives you as much memory as the iPhone does.
    Not really a comparative thing, more a reflection of the amount of media I'd like to carry with me. I guess I just hadn't figured on video on the iPhone being so darn good 16 GB would be fine.

    That's unfortunate. Must be O2, huh?
    Yep. Like every other UK carrier they skipped straight to 3G, and EDGE is a very late iPhone-induced afterthought. The sooner we get a 3G iPhone over here the better. I really doubt that EDGE coverage will ever be as good as 3G is now.

    Shortly after getting mine, like about the 4th, 5th and 6th days or so, I could not even make a call out from the top floor of our 3 story house...

    which sits on a hill...

    with a clear view looking out over the border of the next distant state. Ridiculous!

    So there was this period of no reception for about 2-3 hours one morning. I called up AT&T and they gave me some details about the way the connection to any phone on their network works. They explained that I need to shut my iPhone off about once a week so that it can establish a new connection with updated network information. They explained that in order to fully shut it down, I need to hold down on the top button for 4 seconds until the slider shows up at the top of the screen, then slide it over to completely power down.

    Having done this and leaving it off for about 20 seconds lets the tower renew the connection. This new information or data or simple reconnection did work and I now have great reception. I have actually only shut my iPhone completely off on 4 occasions since then because I have not been having any problems but this may be something for users to consider. It's almost as if networks have a priority list and the longer you use a provider the more assured you will be of getting a good powerful signal sent to your phone; like they respect and favor the customers who consistently give them money or something.
    Trust me, I tried every possible combination of power down, reset, SIM removal I could think of. Tried it all with two different phones - and it made precisely no difference. This is a very common problem in the UK:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread....readID=1233355

    and Apple need to address it as a matter of urgency in my view. That thread got a fair bit of media coverage a while back so perhaps they'll be prompted to act.
    01-05-2008 05:57 AM
  5. marcol's Avatar
    Just to cap this thread off, I'm pleased to say that with the iPhone 3G I haven't seen the dreadful reception problems I saw with the first gen device. The real issue was with signal in my house, and all seems well in that department now. It could be of course that O2 have thrown up a new transmitter or something in the intervening months, but given that others see better reception, I'd guess it's more likely down to improved hardware. I'm very happy about this!
    07-14-2008 05:28 AM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD