I’ve had my new iPhone 4s just short of two weeks, and I have to say I’ve been extremely pleased with it so far. This was a huge leap for me, as I was really, really fond of my BlackBerry. But after careful thought and consideration (and watching Research In Motion do some really dumb stuff), it just seemed to make more sense to go with an iPhone.
So, what’s good/bad/different to this newly-converted from “the other fruit phone” owner? Here are a few quick thoughts.
Things I Like
Siri – This is the new “talk to the phone/computer technology” in the 4s, and it is just simply amazing and cool. And borderline scary, in a HAL9000 sort of way (the older readers should get that one). I tell Siri to “text my wife that I’m on the way home” while I’m driving, and it does just that (with audio confirmations before sending). The safety factor for me (and those around me) has increased immensely. But that’s only one aspect of it. It’s almost one of those things you have to see and try to believe. Lots to talk about here, so I’ll write a dedicated post to things you can do with Siri.
iMessage -When I text message other iOS5 users, the phone switches to iMessage versus a standard SMS (text) message. The benefit here is that the 160 character limit no longer applies. It’s like BlackBerry Messenger (which I used a lot), except this is for iPhone (iOS5 only, though).
The Camera – The 8 megapixel camera can take some really good photos (if you can hold it still enough, particularly when zoomed). The video is also pretty stunning, in terms of quality. It does hammer the battery pretty well, but I can get used to the idea of having a decent still/video camera on my belt.
The Apps – I really like having the apps that I use on my phone, and the integration is seamless. Evernote, Dropbox and Wunderlist all work the same on my phone, laptop, desktop and tablets. It. Just. Works. Everywhere.
Things I Don’t Like
Battery life – I knew going in that battery life wouldn’t likely be the same. I was right, it’s not. It’s not horrible, but the phone is definitely ready to charge at the end of the day, if it’s had a reasonable amount of use. Shooting a lot of video definitely smacks the battery pretty hard. A lot of application usage, particularly with apps that talk to the cloud, will draw it down. It comes back to something I’ve often said: it’s mileage versus horsepower. Just like performance vehicles, they require more frequent refueling.
Ringtones and Alerts – Maybe I’m missing something, but there just doesn’t seem to be an easy way to add tones like I could to my BlackBerry, at least without having to buy something. I miss having my phone utter that infamous Homer Simpson “Sweet Merciful Crap” when my wife calls. I’ll keep poking around at ways to do this.
Case Options – Trying to find a belt clip/case that I like is proving to be a challenge. Because the iPhone is really just a small computer that happens to have a phone, I opted for an Otter Box case – something that can take a punch. The good news is that it’s sturdy, but the bad news is that the belt clip is bulky and not very comfortable to wear. My quest now is to find a different/better belt case that can hold the encased iPhone.
Things That Are Just Different
Reminders – This is new to iOS5, and it’s interesting. My only issue with it is that it doesn’t integrate into the calendar very nicely. Reminders that I create in my desktop calendar show up on my iPhone, but not the other way around.
Virtual Keyboard – This was the most painstaking sacrifice I thought I’d be making, moving from a physical QWERTY keyboard to a virtual one. Surprisingly, I’m finding it easier to use than I had anticipated. The auto-correct does a far better job of anticipating and deciphering keystrokes than I’d expected.
iCloud – I learned the hard way that some things don’t work as well when you disable the iCloud components. For example, reminders: I asked Siri to create a reminder for me, and it kept failing. I turned Reminders back on in my iCloud settings, and it started working. My guess is that I’ll find a few more things like this before it’s over.
The verdict so far is that it’s a great phone, and it offers more functionality than I could have ever dreamed could be put into one’s pocket. It really is amazing. I can’t wait to see how the wife does with her phone, once we get it activated. I think she’s going to love it.
So, what do you love about your iPhone?