Thursday, May 20, 2010

iPhone Review, 4 Years Later

At a glance summary, I'm satisfied with the iPhone, it has come in handy in ways I couldn't have originally imagined. The problems I encounter are failing coverage and noticable slow down in performance over time. I'm worried about future OS upgrades further degrading performance and feeling left out with newer applications using hardware features my phone doesn't have.

Short story of how I came to own the phone. I didn't think I would buy a first gen device like the iPhone, as I had a phone. Then it was stolen, within a month of the iPhone's 2007 release. After living a life without a phone for 2 months (something I enjoyed) I purchased the iPhone. It was great, my contacts synched automatically with those on my Macbook Pro, so I didn't have to manually enter them all over again. The touch typepad was better than having to select letters on 10 digit numerical keypad, I finally started texting. The camera was okay, but about as good as an old point and shoot I used to have (which is impressive for a phone). I started listening to Podcasts for the first time, which was amazing.

In 2008, Apple came out with the second generation iPhone, and the App Store. The App Store was equally amazing. Now the capabilities of the iPhone were expanding, and it could start to become the 'mini-computer' I envisioned having when I first purchased the iPhone. I was hesitant though, and didn't purchase many Apps. I've downloaded many free apps, and have probably paid for about 10 total. The first app I did purchase was a Sketching app, I don't remember what it was, but now I have Brushes and Sketchbook Pro Free Version on my iPhone. One of my most frequented paid apps is Money Book. I would like to add Sleep Cycle to that short list, but I never got it to work (other friends have said it has worked great for them), so I'm holding out for when I change my bed or change my phone.

Now it is 2010, Apple has released the iPad and there are some leaked iPhone 4 models on the internet. The building where I work has very poor reception for my phone (co-workers with 3G seem to get better reception, but not exceptional reception).  The phone itself has problems logging on to networks from time to time, to the point that I have to turn the phone off and turn it on again. I do use the device frequently, as an alarm, expense tracker, twitter reader, password storage and map. Sometimes I play games or draw with it, but this is rare. I don't take or share photos with the iPhone anymore. I don't listen to music, because I've worn out a number of headphones, and am hesistant to purchase another pair only to break them (the inset headphone port doesn't help matters, as I have to check for compatability).  I text with the phone more than I make calls with the phone now.

This very late review is written as I consider whether to purchase an iPad, wait and purchase a 4th Generation iPhone, or just hold out and make due with what I have. I am trying to use my experience with the iPhone as a reason to wait on the iPad (the biggest selling point for me is a larger touch screen to use the device as a digital sketchbook). I originally bought the iPhone because I thought I would only have to update the software, not the hardware. In analyzing my use of the phone, I question if any new hardware features would really benefit me. Upgraded camera, video capture, gps, is that really how I use the device now, or hope to? I get by without these features, and sometimes wish for them, but have yet to be in a situation where GPS would change my life. The one exception, and it is something of a big one, is the poor reception might improve with 3G. For now though, I'll wait.

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