It had been a few months, about five, since I last used Apple Inc.'s iPhone, and I'd begun to forget how nice it was to have one.
The iPhone, as noted in this space last summer, is what I believe all
handheld phones/digital assistants will become: something with a big screen,
a simple interface, and plenty of capabilities. Buttons will go away;
onscreen icons are now in.
Recently, I acquired a new iPhone for work, and it's been delightful getting
reacquainted. Along the way, I found a few neat accessories, and await even
Available now in 8 Gigabyte ($399) and 16 GB ($499) models, the iPhone
works, marvelously, with AT&T's cellular network. It'll also access Wi-Fi to
go out to the Internet and snag e-mail and the like. There's even an iTunes
store for iPhone users where you can buy songs on the go and sync
them back to a desktop computer.
As a business phone, the iPhone is a very good performer. Sound quality is
excellent, and with a pair of TuneBuds Mobile, $39.99 from Griffin
Technology, I was able to enjoy that sound privately. The TuneBuds are, in
my view, a bit better sound-wise than the supplied iPhone "earbuds" from
Apple; others may prefer the Apple product.
The iPhone's interface is easy to navigate, just select a desired program
with your finger. That digit is also the way to type and send e-mail,
quickly and without much hassle. As before, I adapted almost instantly, and
having this device, even during meetings, allows me to answer urgent e-mails
without missing a beat, and without the "obviousness" of using some other
One of the more encouraging aspects of iPhone development is Apple's recent
announcement of ways for third-party developers to bring their software to
the device, as well as the promise, by June or thereabouts, of even better
integration with Microsoft Exchange, the dominant corporate e-mail standard.
For now, setting up an Exchange account using the IMAP protocol works
Some might be concerned about keeping the iPhone safe, and for this I turned
to Griffin's iClear case, which is made from the same polycarbonate, the
firm says, that is used in visors on astronaut helmets. For a
not-out-of-the-world price, $24.99, you get the case, a belt clip, armband
and a static-clinging screen protector. Not a bad deal.
Constant use seems to make its demands on the iPhone's battery, something I
solve by keeping the device docked to a computer at home, for continuous
charging, and by using Griffin's PowerJolt adapter, which sells for $19.99.
Not only does the device provide an extra USB-style sync cable, but the
car-lighter adapter has a tiny LED light that indicates when charging is
complete. Unlike some systems, you can continue to use the iPhone for calls
while plugged in via the PowerJolt.
Among the neat ways I'm using the iPhone is to keep track of connections on
Facebook, the ever-growing social networking site. There's a version of
Facebook for the iPhone, and you can even place its own icon on the phone's
display. The same goes for the New English Translation of the Bible, an
Internet-developed version more popularly known as the NET Bible. Log your
iPhone on to www.enetbible.com, and you have free access to a very good
translation in a handheld-friendly format.
All this is without the promised software development that's coming. Once
that arrives, again in a couple of months, the iPhone will likely cement its
position as the preeminent handheld communications device available today.
The transition to the "enterprise" is moving along nicely, which will only
please any number of corporate users who will marvel at the amount of
productivity they can fit in the palm of their hand.