Category Archives: iPhone

Using the iPhone 3GS

Finally I have the long cherished iPhone. A spanking new 32 Gb 3GS. As I begin to use it as I want it, I am building the list of likes and dislikes. Some of the dislikes might be more of a usage issue some are genuine. So here goes:
Likes:
1. The whole package of the phone. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful phones around.
2. It’s ability to seamlesly handle data and voice is amazing. It gets better when you are using wifi, it’s simply seamless.
3. Attachment viewing is amazingly fast. This little guy was able to open a 1.8 mb PowerPoint attachment without batting an eyelid. It takes longer on a laptop.
4. AppStore is cool. So far I managed to get most of what I need without additional cost. Mint, BoA, WordPress all pretty nifty tools. Deciding on which office tool to get among the two available: Datawiz and Quick something.
5. Camera: I know everyone is interested in this one. Well to be honest I did not buy it for any of the camera features but then you can’t help talk about it. The first surprise was when the emailed images where only 800×600. I was confused because my 1.2MP LG Chocolate’s camera used to take bigger images. Turns out it pulls a fast one on you by resizing them down to 800×600 automatically. Naughty Apple! should atleast give an option right? Specially if you are using your own home wifi there is no reason to resize it. Over 3G is understandable. After transferring them over the wire the images were indeed bigger. Quality of images are acceptable. They won’t win a photography contest (unless it’s an iPhone only contest) with it’s soft and saturated images. I don’t have surgeon’s hands so low light photography is out of scope and so are indoor shots.
Video: This was a BIG surprise. The quality of video is just amazing. Even though max resolution is VGA the frame rates are great resulting in crisp videos. The videos will can definitely give the regular point and shoots a run for their money.

On the fence: Functionalities I love to hate
1. Keyboard: well I can’t imagine life without the landscape keypad. So all who managed without it so far – kudos.
Though I started off with fat-fingering every second character I have improved over the past few days and I am sure it will not be a problem in future.
Though I haven’t used one but I hear the ‘clicky’ feedback of the Storm is pretty cool. If storm can have it so can the iPhone, what say?

Voice Commands: I consider this a fun feature. However if it works it’s a good to have. It dials the correct number most of the time. But to get it to play the song I want is a different deal. Hopefully with time I will be able to talk to it in an accent that it will understand better than it does currently.

Dislikes:
1: The battery life: it may be ‘cool’ to have the thinnest and dandiest smartphone on the block but if it’s battery dies in half a day when you use it like one, it ruins the fun. Only other option is to carry a battery pack if you really want to remain ‘Wireless’. Most of the battery packs out there double up as a hardcover; cost you another 30-70 bucks and ruin the cool lean feel of the phone.
So apple, all your efforts to create the coolest phone is well appreciated, now how about something more practical? Options: have another version that has double the battery life and is slightly thicker.
Here is another kicker of an idea, double the thickness at the top half making space for a higher MP and better camera, as well as space for bigger battery.
I am sure they can work out the ergonomics. Keeping the base thickness same would not break backward compatibility of docking stations!
User replacable batteries: which I believe goes against apple’s business model considering they have gotten rid of user replacable batteries even in their laptops.
2. Another major issue are ear plugs set. They are Bad by all standards. The sound is cheap and tinny. To make matters worse the socket is proprietory and none of the adapters in the market have good reviews. I have a nice pair of Bose earphones that are going a waste right now. (Update: the Bose earphones work without adapters but ofcouse they don’t have a microphone).Thinking of getting a Bluetooth headset which again is a battery hog. So request to Apple – make an adapter that is clipon with the microphone and the controls for play, voice commands etc. And provide a standard headphone Jack on the control module so that people who want to use better headphones don’t lose out on the other ‘cool’ features.

Have’t tried: the oleophobic screen. Did not have the guts to leave the screen without a screen protector specially with a three year old around.

That’s it for now. Will continue to update my experiences with the iPhone. This post was entirely written using the wordpress app on the iPhone.

[Update November 10, 2009]
After the initial feel good wore off, I did find some bugs in the phone. Most prominent being application icons getting messed up and OS crashing or not recovering from sleep mode. Both seemed to have been resolved in the last bug fix path of the OS.
ITunes stopped downloading iPhone app updates and syncing applications from iPhone gives an error saying applications could not be updated because it is not a registered computer (needless to say it IS registered and will not Reregister to itself).

Apart from that I’ve come to terms with ATT’s service which is pretty bad in Milpitas and Boise two areas where I spend my ‘out of office’ time.

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Getting the 3GS on the first day

After a long wait, the day was finally here. I got up at 5:30 am and got ready to leave for the Valley Fair Apple Store in San Jose from my apartment in Milpitas. Managed to get ready only by 6:30. Got the 6:45 light rail from Great Mall and reached Civic Center at 7:12. Got the number 61 VTA at 7:22 and reached Stevens Creek and South Bascom at 7:45, walked the rest of the way to valley fair mall and ‘queued’ up at about 8:04 am. There were about 50-60 people ahead of me. The gentleman offering coffee said the line wasn’t much bigger that what it was then (maybe another 20 people) before the store opened. In about 10 minutes one excited guy came shooting video of the queue in his new iPhone. Everyone were in good mood and smiled back…
Some guy from the “Mercury News” (didn’t see any ids on him, but heck he did quote me here and my company’s CEO of all people found out from the article) was talking to people in queue and asking about their experience. Asked me a few questions like where I was from, when did I queue up, why queue up etc. Sometime later the ‘conceirge’ came along and verified if I had a reservation. Wasn’t really sure so showed them the printout of the email and confirmed that indeed I had one. Was told to mention this when the queue reached the store (which had about 15 people ahead of me). Thereon it happened pretty fast and in no time I was at the Store (at, not IN the store). The queue of people who had preordered had 5 people and the queue without reservation had… a huge crowd of 1 person ONLY :-). That made three of us at the head of the ‘reserved’ queue joke that we ‘now’ did not have any reservations :). Anyway it wasn’t a long wait, another 5 minutes and I was in and Fun started.

The first thing I wanted to confirm was if I could switch from white (which I had reserved hurridly) to black 32G which my concierge agreed to without fuss. But then when I told him I had been asked to pay an extra $200 deposit by ATT and if he could split the phone purchase and the ATT deposit into two separate credit card transactions he said no. I said okay, I was ready to swipe my credit card from India (which has about 3 times the credit limit than the one issued in US). However thereafter we hit glitch after glitch, it seems that I was not providing the same ZIP as the one I provided while booking. I really couldn’t recall which one i had provided and after trying all the possible ZIP codes, the concierge gave up and requested me to re-enter the information at the site again. I was guided to a macbook Pro. Gee I felt stupid for a minute when I couldn’t find the ‘left click’ button on the trackpad, till I realized the whole pad was ‘clickable’. That out of the way I carefully provided my information and was done in about 3-4 minutes. Less than a minute later another conceirge was assigned to help me and when I repeated my request to split the payments he readily agreed because he said they were two different transactions. GREAT! Someone who knew what was going on (when i gave the required details he asked did you enter your info twice? In less than 5 minutes the transactions were done. I was asked if I wanted a printout or email would be good enough, I happily agreed to an email and he ‘wrote’ it down into his hand held device (impressive) and then I was taken to an ‘activation table’ where another concierge activated the phone. She told me the phone would be active in 5-10 minutes. I went back to look for a good protective cover for my precious posession and ended up spending another $43 for a holster+case+protective film and walked out of the Store at about 9:40 am. On my way back I still had the phone showin ‘No Service’. That’s when I relalized that a good ol’ re-boot might just do the trick. So as I walked back to the bus stop my iPhone came alive.
Since then I have fiddled around with it and so far I am still soaking it in. I started this blog on my laptop but it ran out of juice and I am not carrying my charger so guess what? Well no points for guessing, I have downloaded the wordpress blog app from the apple store and I am typing away to glory on my iphone as I wait for horizon air flight to come and fly me home! (running late by three hours) !!!!

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Making of an “Apple” convert…

It’s really a long story, but to cut is short, I’ve fallen in love with the … you guessed it… iPhone.

For the past 3 months I’ve wanted to own one, but have put it off as rumors of a newer… better iphone got stronger by each passing day. I scoured the net, read each blog and looked forward to what every “Apple” fanboy worth their salt hoped – Announcement of the new iPhone at WWDC. The day came and I followed it on twitter and rushed to order my piece as soon as it got announced.

Alas, Apple and ATT denied me the pleasure of buying/pre-ordering it online and smacked me with a $200 ‘deposit’ after the $299 for the 32 GB 3GS. Instead I was politely told to come to the store and pick it up.

Finally the last night is here, I’ve stopped working from the beginning of the week, eagerly (eager being a mellow way to describe it) feeding on each scrap of information available. Even went out and checked out the nearby ATT store, and confirmed with a friend as to where would be a good place to go first up on the day of the event!!! Today morning I surprisingly got a mail from Apple Store reminding me to pickup my ‘reserved’ phone. That kind of ended the dilemma and I have now decided to head of the Valley fair Apple Store in San Jose, first thing in the morning (an hour’s travel including 25 minutes of walking, yes I don’t have a personal vehicle in the US of A). Even now as I scour through tweets and live streams I hope and pray that I am in time to get my precious little iPhone tomorrow itself. Aah the wait!!!

As I go to sleep, I believe the ‘conversion’ is complete… Another apple convert is born!!!

7hours and 33 minutes to go before the iPhone 3GS is launched in the Bay Area…

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