The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Three Weeks With The iPhone

It’s been three weeks since I got an iPhone, and overall I’m very glad I did. I’d wanted one for a while, but had trouble justifying it. I already had, I reasoned, a working iPod and a working cellphone. Then my iPod died and I started considering an iPhone. I ended up just getting a new iPod. But I realized I had been thinking all wrong about the iPhone.

It wasn’t until I had a need that I thought it could meet that I started seriously considering it. I’d gotten to the point where the best and most reliable time I had to write was on the Metro jailbreak iphone 6 . But that required getting a seat and hauling out my laptop. It was then that I started thinking the iPhone might be one answer. (The bigger answer is figuring out what I need to change about my life to move in the direction I want, but that’s a longer and ongoing process. Buying an iPhone was an immediate solution.) I started asking coworkers if I could take a look at their iPhones, and asking them about their experience.

Yes, I know the about the complaints of iPhone being a “closed” piece of technology, tied to AT&T mobile. A coworker of mine showed me his smartphone, which was on another mobile service and used the Google Android OS. But I was already on AT&T, and eligible for an upgrade to an iPhone.

So I got one. It’s an 8GB model, because I determined that it would’t be my primary MP3 player. It’s a 3G instead of the newer 3GS, because it was cheaper and it did everything I need. (Besides, I can always upgrade to a 3GS later.)

First, I’ve got to say that it’s incredibly well designed. I didn’t need to read the directions before I started using it. I knew intuitively how it worked. I even figured out how to delete unwanted apps by just guessing and doing what I thought made sense. And it worked!

It just works.

A word on apps. When they say “There’s an app for that,” they mean it. There are apps for everything, and I found quite a few that met my needs. Especially related to blogging. In fact, several of my posts in the last few weeks have been at least partially written (started or continued editing) via iPhone, and a few were entirely written and published via iPhone. The spelling is a dead giveaway. The iPhone’s spellcheck is pretty good, but it more or less guesses the word you want to type and finishes it if you tap the space bar. (For longer pieces, I still prefer to be in front of a computer with a full keyboard.)

My focus was just on being able to read news items and blog posts, and write blog posts offline. It has to be offline, because the biggest most reliable block of writing time I have (that happens to be when I’m not too physically exhausted to even think) is during my commute, except for when I have to switch from metro to bus or vice versa. I started with Feeds (iTunes link), after reading a review at TUAW, because it syncronized with Google Reader and also interacted with Read It Later.  It also downloads feed items for offline reading. Bingo!  I can catch up on my Google Reader feeds on the Metro, offline. It has to be offline, because AT&T mobile service doesn’t work on the D.C. Metro. (But reports are that it will by the end of the year).

OK. Now, I need to be able to write blog posts on the iPhone. Enter WordPress for iPhone.

Again, it just works. Beautifully, in fact.

Then I downloaded the Read It Later app, since I already used the Firefox extension.

Again, it worked very well.

Except for one drawback. See, if I’m blogging, I need to be able to link to what I’m reading/quoting. WordPress’s link assistance feature works pretty well, but you have to have a URL for it to assist you with. Unfortunately, the Read It Later app didn’t have a function for copying the URL. If it did, I couldn’t find it. Instead, I had to “share” it via an email I’d never actually send, just so I could copy the URL and head back over to WordPress. What I wanted was a function more like Safari for iPhone: tap, hold, and wait for a menu to pop up that lets me either copy the url or save the page.

Enter Instapaper. I started using it a while back, before switching to other services, but the Instapaper iPhone app brought me back.

Plus, it turns the title of the saved article into a link. Tap, click and hold, and I can copy the URL to paste into WordPress. All offline.

Once I’m above ground again, I’m golden. I can upload updated posts and drafts, etc.

If there’s antother app I use regularly, it’s Google Mobile.

I use it to keep up with Gmail and Googl e Reader once I’m above ground. For what it’s worth, I’ve downloaded the Yahoo Mobile app too.

Besides the above, I grabbed the apps for Facebook, LinkedIn, ImageShack, and Photobucket. I also grabbed Yummy (for del.icio.us).  There are tons more. I grabbed the Epicurious app as soon as I knew it existed. I’ve stayed away from games, except for Spore Origins.

I could go on about apps, but there’s also gear.

It turns out I’m as picky about cases for the iPhone as I am for the iPod. I haven’t found one I really like for the iPhone. But I turned out to be a heavy user, so I had to be concerned about battery life. My strategy has been to keep the power adapter and cord at work and employ my unused iPod cradle at home.

But there are stretches of time when I can’t plug in. So I got the InCase Power Slider, which I’ve since learned has been discontinued and even removed from the company’s site while it works on a new version.

So that search will continue.

But, the bottom line is: even the old 3G 8GB iPhone gets a thumbs up from me.

For now, I’ll resist the call of the 3GS.

For now.

2 Comments

  1. I love my iPhone; I got it last November before the 3GS came out. I got the 16G version so I could go back to just having one device for the gym — no need to carry the ipod around anymore.

    I can’t say enough good things about the iphone, but I’m a bit slow on the apps area sometimes. I use Google Reader’s mobile site through Safari. I’ll try the other apps you mentioned. They sound very interesting.

    By the way, I’ve used Google Mobile, but unfortunately it doesn’t make me young and skinny like the guy in the video. 😉

  2. I love my iPhone; I got it last November before the 3GS came out. I got the 16G version so I could go back to just having one device for the gym — no need to carry the ipod around anymore.

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