The iPhone under pressure

Having an iPhone in time for OSCON was the only reason that I bothered to stand in line for one. In general, I would say that it was worth it. I probably would have missed going to dinner with John Resig, which would have meant missing the Portland Python meetup, which turned out to be incredibly useful because I was able to spend a lot of quality time with some Django folks.

The Good

The iPhone basically did its job, which was to get my Twitter updates, web access, and e-mail. This was especially important because the quality of the OSCON wifi was worse than I remember. There were a bunch of times where the only network that I got came via AT&T’s EDGE network, which is a huge improvement over T-Mobile’s GPRS, which is what I had before. I was surprised to have 3G coverage for a sizable portion of the train ride down to Portland. The iPhone was also successful at helping me spend less time responding to tweets and text messages.

I didn’t run into any major power problems. I plugged my phone into my laptop whenever I could, so even though my evenings were going from 6pm to 2am, I still had enough battery to tweet, browse, and SMS with impunity.

The Bad

One thing that I discovered is that the iPhone’s Safari has tabs. The only problem is that if you put the phone to sleep, the contents of those tabs will be gone and when you switch to that tab, the browser will force itself to reload. Reduces the usefulness of tabs as far as I am concerned.

The iPhone is definitely a 2 handed phone. It was hard to operate the phone while dragging my roller bag. Even when I had no roller bag, I found it hard to type accurately enough to Twitter/SMS and walk at the same time. I expect my iPhone typing to improve with time, but I don’t see this problem going away. On the other hand, I really don’t want to give up screen space or thickness to a keyboard. I think I can deal with it.

The Weird

3G seems to degrade in a way that is different than I expect. Outside the convention center, or near the perimeter, you could get a 3G signal with 3-4 bars. Once you went further in, you would switch immediately to EDGE, and be getting a decent number of bars. Somehow I expected to get a very weak (1bar) 3G signal in preference to a very strong EDGE signal. I am not an antenna guy though, so I am sure there is something I am missing.

Help needed

This one is for the iPhone Twitter clients. I need a way to direct message people on Twitter by selecting from a list of favorite people or something. Don’t require there to be a recent tweet from someone in order to have an easy way to direct message. This is definitely a difference in the way that I use Twitter when mobile as opposed to sitting at my computer. The service becomes a way to SMS people that I don’t have phone numbers for.

All in all, not bad for having had the phone for less than a week going into the show.

1 thought on “The iPhone under pressure

  1. Elliot

    It’s interesting that the iPhone works so well with Twitter. I’m definitely happy with my iPhone, and I hardly use Twitter at all. Most of my friends are on Facebook, so I end up using Facebook Chat surprisingly often. Now that I’ve had my (1st gen) iPhone for well over a year, I’m quite proficient at typing on it, even with 1 hand (although 2 hands is much faster).

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