Last week I was talking to a friend about the possibility of the iPhone. I love my new Blackberry Pearl. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the first Ã¢â‚¬Å“smart phoneÃ¢â‚¬ that I have been able to access and use all the features. I told my friend that even though I love Apple, they would really have to come up with something amazing to make me switch off the Pearl in the next year, especially since I just purchased it. I imagined the iPhone would be very close to the Pearl, except also have the ability to sync with iTunes. Since I already have the ability to sync with Address Book and iCal, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to functionality to change. I figured Apple would create a cool looking phone that did everything the Pearl did, but added iTunes.
Underestimating Apple is a heard thing to do for a Mac lover. We put people like Jonathan Ive on such a high pedestal, it would be hard for him to live up to the expectation, let alone pass it. But wow did Apple pass it! The iPhone isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just a sleeker
Ã¢â‚¬Å“smart phoneÃ¢â‚¬ , itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s re-invented the idea of how a phone should work. I know a lot has been written about this, but here is a list of the features I love most.
1. Visual Voicemail Ã¢â‚¬“ This is obviously just a no-brainier for how voicemail should work these days. I hate when I see that the same person left me 5 voicemails, and I just got off the phone with them. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wan to go through their voicemails because I already took care of the issue for the call. This allows me to just delete those without having to sit through them. Plus, it letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s you prioritize the voicemails you want to listen to first.
2. Wi-Fi Ã¢â‚¬“ I travel a lot, and so I spend a lot of time in Wi-Fi hotspots. I also check my mail a lot on my Pearl at home. It will be nice to have the speed boost of Wi-Fi in a phone at restaurants, hotels and other places. Plus, I imagine that this will allow you to sync without wires.
3. Widgets Ã¢â‚¬“ I was actually just thinking of widgets for cell phones last week. I was trying to check movie times on the Pearl, but I had to use the browser, which is so slow. I was thinking how great it would be if I could just tap a widget that brought in data, like my widget on OS X. If Apple opens this up, I can see some great widgets coming out that will open the mobile space to a point itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never been before. Imagine a Fandango widget that lets you sign up at home with your credit card and then allows you to check local movie times, as well as buy tickets through your phone. Or an Expedia widget that letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s you book airline tickets and hotels on your phone using your pre-entered payment information. And obviously widgets for Dot Flowers or Amazon are no-brainers as well.
4. Sensors Ã¢â‚¬“ The sensors in the iPhone are just so Apple. To me it seems like the same attention to detail that they put into the Magsafe power cords. The sensors can tell when you put the phone to your ear, which then turns off the screen so as to not waster power. The also built in an ambient light sensor which makes the screen brighter or darker based on the light needs, which again saves power. And the sensor to switch from portrait to landscape mode by only tilting the device looks as intuitive as the Segway.
It would be hard to make a list of dislikes without the device being ready yet. So instead IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m listing the thing I hope I see in the device that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t right now.
1. Voice dialing Ã¢â‚¬“ I use the voice dialing on my Pearl a lot. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really nice when waling through the airport to just touch my ear and say a name. I may look like a dork, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very helpful.
2. Purchase iTunes Ã¢â‚¬“ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m really hoping that I can buy music or movies while on the go. Sometimes IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sitting in an airport and would love to just buy a quick episode of a TV show to kill the time.
3. Record video Ã¢â‚¬“ The pearl doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do this either, but it just seems like something that should be there to keep up with the other phones. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure Apple would make this a nice easy import into iMovie.
4. iChat plugin Ã¢â‚¬“ This is more of a software thing for Macs, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hoping that I can easily see if someone is on their iPhone through iChat and send them a message just like normal. This would obviously open up the possibility of AIM users being able to chat with them as well.
5. More space Ã¢â‚¬“ I get why they had to go with Flash RAM for this, a hard drive would weigh it down, and eat up battery life. But I have over 40 gigs of music alone. I would love to see them add a possible connecting drive that plugs right into the dock connector that also holds a small battery. It would be nice to have the option of having 80 more gigs if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re willing to add some bulk to the device.
One note on the decision to go with Cinugular only; how I can understand that not everyone is happy about this, I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good idea. First, this allows Apple to keep a little control over the situation, much like they do with their software and hardware working together. Second, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see all the providers working to innovate with Apple if they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have an exclusive. Cingular will pick up a lot of business from this, which will possibly make them even more money than Apple. So you can bet that they will work with Apple to keep innovating together on things like Visual Voicemail. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m aware that Cingular doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the 3G network abilities like some of their competitors, but they do have great stats on dropped calls and coverage areas, which is the primary thing. And they seem to be moving into the 3G space at a decent pace. And honestly, if Apple had to chose one provider they could have done a lot worse, like Sprint.
So now I wait until June for my new iPhone. At least that gives me sometime to use my Pearl, since I only got it a month ago.