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Is the iPhone right for me?

iPhone

The iPhone is one of the most anticipated technology devices. Many people have felt that the mobile phone was still “up for grabs,” meaning, nobody has done it right. Many share my belief that Apple’s iPhone will set a trend for phones of the future. Apple is applying its great sense of design and ease-of-use to the mobile phone, a device that has typically had terrible interface design and numerous other shortcomings.

Check iPhonePhil after the iPhone release for an in-depth review.

I’m thinking about getting an iPhone. Is it a valuable technology tool, or just something cool?

The iPhone is certainly cool, and is likely to carry the same status as the iPod. The iPhone also provides useful functionality. The functionality itself isn’t revolutionary; most of it already exists. What’s so great is the software, appropriate use of technology and integration with iTunes.

Apple has created a great interface. Getting music, video and podcasts on your iPhone will be as easy as getting them on your iPod. In addition the iPhone will sync your calendar and address book details. It really stands out as a smartphone for the people.

My kids live on their phones, will they like the iPhone?

I suspect the iPhone will become a favorite for those who live on their phones. Currently, phones that have full keyboards, and support web browsing and email cater to business users. The iPhone is aimed at consumers. Apple hopes to make the iPhone fun and easy for text messaging, browse the web, store photos and listen to music. The iPhone is sure to be a favorite among young mobile phone users.

It seems like there is a new iPod every week, will the iPhone be outdated soon after I buy it?

The first iPhone release will probably become outdated fast. Since the iPhone represents such a new venture for Apple, I expect the initial improvements to be vast. It is hard to get everything perfect on the first iteration. For those who find new technology fun and can afford it, the first iPhone is a must-have. For those who are on a budget, or don’t mind having older technology, waiting for a first revision may be a wise decision.

Some of the likely improvements will be faster data service, larger storage capacity, and sleeker/smaller design. You can also expect the price to drop significantly over time.

One point worth noting is that Apple has said it will release iPhone software updates that can be installed at no charge. This means that after you buy the iPhone, it may get better. Also if there are bugs, they may release fixes. You won’t necessarily need the latest model to keep up with the software.

Apple says the battery will be good for five hours, but I’ve heard others say it may be shorter. Who’s right?

Apple’s published battery time is a best-case scenario. You can expect your battery performance to be a little worse. Battery life on the iPhone is a concern because the phone does so much. It has a bright screen, lots of sensors, Bluetooth, WiFi, camera, music, video, all of which drain the battery. It will depend on your usage. Hopefully the battery will last around 12 hours under typical usage, then you can charge it every night and never have to worry about it.

Should I get the 8gb or 4gb model?

The difference in price translates to $100 per gigabyte for the 4gb model, and $63 per gigabyte for the 8gb model. Of course you pay less per gigabyte for the 8gb model, so it is a better value. But bigger storage space is the only advantage. If you don’t have a lot of music, or don’t mind only keeping your most-listened-to tracks on the device then go for the 4gb. If you love having all of your music with you, or expect to watch TV and movies on the iPhone, you will need the 8gb version.

Apple has been criticized for having “too small” of storage space on the iPhone. I think the space will be manageable, but it is a little small. I think the main problem is the lack of flash storage. Companies are buying up flash memory faster than factories can produce it. One report said Apple is asking for 15% more flash memory than is available from its suppliers.

Is Cingular a good provider? Is my phone bill going to double?

I use T-Mobile currently; I haven’t used Cingular. I know many people who are satisfied with Cingular. Cingular and T-Mobile use a different type of network than Verizon. This means the coverage might be different, so try to check that it will work where you want to use it. In any city area, all the providers will work, but in less populous areas you will want to check.

Details about what the rate plan will be like for the iPhone have not been released. They might offer a special iPhone plan, or just use Cingular’s standard rate plans.

What about this on-screen keyboard. Is it as good as the mini-keypads seen on smartphones?

Apple claims the on-screen keyboard is better because it only is visible when needed, meaning there is more room for other interfaces when you aren’t typing. On phones with built-in keyboards, the keyboard is always takes up space making the device much bigger or the screen much smaller.

The worry is that a touch-screen keyboard would be harder to use; pressing actual buttons seems like it would be much easier. Apple claims to have solved this problem with its new display technology. I have heard about one first-hand iPhone user that the keyboard works great and it’s error correction allows you to type naturally without worry about hitting each key perfectly.

I’ve seen similar phones with the same features. Is the iPhone really any better? As I mentioned earlier, those similar phones are all tailored for business users. I have wanted all those features for some time, but I can’t stand using the existing phones. My employer actually bought me a smartphone with a keyboard that does email and such. I can’t stand using it. Apple appears to have done an excellent job with the software, and focused it toward things that are fun and useful for the average person, not just businesspeople.

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