20 Reasons I'm Happy with the iPhone

Argh! I hate eating crow. I really, really, really do. It doesn’t taste that nice. My original “20 Reasons” I didn’t get an iPhone on the first day are still relatively valid. I didn’t want to wait in line on the first day, I didn’t want to get caught up in the hype, and I really don’t think that most of the first generation’s shortcomings are fixable through software updates.

Unfortunately, Apple has to play by the rules of lame-ass “exclusivity” with wireless partners here in America (and likely abroad as well). It’s what is keeping a lot of people from picking one up for their own use. Should’ve been a WiFi enabled device with the option for EDGE, in my opinion – that would have been truly revolutionary. As it stands, however, the iPhone is a vendor-locked piece of hand candy. Besides, if I wanted to buy into the who “exclusivity” market, I’d just treat myself to a home-spa, but that’s another story…

It’s very imperfect, but I’m still glad that Ponzi provoked the experience. I don’t think I could’ve brought myself to it, otherwise – suffering from the “I’m fine with what I already have” syndrome that many geeks have. I can tell you that it’s much easier to come up with reasons I’m keeping the iPhone than it was thinking of reasons why I didn’t want it on the first day.

  1. Jeez, you can’t deny that Apple raised the bar a zillion miles past any other kind of mobile device experience. Windows Mobile 6 hasn’t even shipped yet and its UI already seems overtly antiquated. [WM6 has shipped, but seemingly to little fanfare – or any kind of direct notification from my provider, AT&T. I actually think I remember hearing it shipped, but that fact slipped my mind when I decided to do this before heading to bed at 5 in the morning.]
  2. IMAP email, despite small hiccups, is finally a joy to access from a mobile device. I do more reading than responding, so this is perfect. Plus, HTML email finally looks like HTML email.
  3. The photo app snaps the shot when you release the button, not when you press it. There’s no lag in this case, and that’s a small touch I wasn’t really expecting.
  4. I don’t really watch the stock market, but it’s never been more fun to do. Seriously, could someone tell me why I keep using this without a seemingly valid reason?
  5. You can get sucked into the Google maps feature for four hours straight without ever finding or bookmarking anything important.
  6. Bluetooth connectivity with my car, barring a few hiccups, is pretty damn sweet. I finally have a phone that displays its signal and battery power on my car’s dashboard. Moreover, I can EASILY switch audio sources without skipping a beat – going from the car’s HandsFree mode to iPhone “regular” to Speaker in a button press.
  7. Managing call waiting is exceedingly simple. Big buttons, no crazy keypresses.
  8. Voicemail is… finally the way it should have been all along.
  9. Despite my many years of using devices that allowed me to install third-party software, I’m somewhat not very disappointed that Apple hasn’t released an SDK for people to potentially mar the elegance presented in this simple package. Web site services are fine for now. Same holds true with the customization options. I’m at the point where I just want something that works (and the iPhone certainly does work much better than the $700 Samsung i700 I purchased from Verizon a few years ago).
  10. Gah. Zooming in and out of anything shouldn’t be this much fun. It’s a crime. Flipping for the sake of flipping is also flipping nutty. Why, WHY does this have to be so… addictive?
  11. I thought I wouldn’t like another touchscreen device, but the iPhone proved me wrong (thus far). The keyboard is a bit crazy, and predictive text could be better handled, but this really is a joy to touch (you have to try it in person – the commercials don’t do it justice).
  12. The cursor zoom feature is another one of those small touches that just impressed the hell out of me. I mean, talk about attention to detail.
  13. Apple has already released a firmware update and… it was mindnumbingly simple to implement. I wanted to cry. I’m not an iTunes fan, but damn they really hit it out of the park with what was previously a very painful experience for ANYBODY.
  14. SMS never made much sense to me before… until it was threaded in a conversational style.
  15. World Clock, Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer… I’m finding myself setting a Timer to set the Alarm for when it’s time to start the Stopwatch to see how many Cities I can add to the World Clock within five minutes.
  16. I kid you not: Word document (email attachments) look better on this Apple device than they ever have on any Microsoft “pocket” device. Ever. EVER.
  17. General web browsing and “tab” management is near perfect.
  18. I don’t want to admit it, but I’d just as soon have this thing with EVDO EDGE than a tricked-out something-else with 3G. Sad, but I find that true (for myself).
  19. YouTube integration is near useless right now, as you can’t get to its entire index (really, then, what’s the POINT to that). However, it’s nice to have community videos at my fingertips without having to go through some insipid wireless provider’s idea of “entertainment.”
  20. The animations and transitions seem natural, as if… that’s just the way God intended them to be.

This wasn’t just a feature-by-feature rundown, folks – Apple has nowhere to go with this thing but up. Rand Fishkin compared the iPhone to Barack Obama last night, but… I’m still not quite sure I followed the reference completely (it was late, and I already had one beer in me). Regardless, it really has me wondering what the hell the rest of the industry has been smoking – and what they’re going to do to even come close to the experience that Apple now provides.

Don’t buy it for the hype – TRY it for the hype, but buy it because you’re tired of the shit everybody else keeps shoving into your pocket.

I’ve made a few small edits to this list, and probably should have waited until I was more awake to post it originally. No matter, if you made a comment pointing out my errors, thank you – it didn’t get moderated. You’re certainly more than welcome to call me crazy for writing this list in the first place!

To tell you the truth, I haven’t even installed iTunes on my Windows machine – so my contacts and calendar are not on the iPhone yet. I really don’t use Yahoo mail since they burned me with Qwest DSL a few years ago, and there’s no simple way of making an automated, private URL push from Outlook (klutzy third-party apps seldom seem to work well, no matter the price). I really haven’t felt the absolute need to sync this with a computer yet – and Apple’s goal should be to remove the computer connection from the equation altogether, making it equally as simple to update PIM data and media over the air.

I really don’t want to hack my iPhone – but it’s cool to see that some people care enough to do it themselves. Stability is very important in any situation, and I don’t care to introduce unknown variables on any given mobile device. Some people have noted that it takes more clicks to get things done on the iPhone, but if that’s the case – it certainly doesn’t feel half as painful. And to tell you the truth, I really don’t miss the myriad of buttons I used to have, either…

Am I encoding the MP4 videos from my podcast incorrectly? Seems that they’re not working right on my iPhone, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong (I can see a static thumbnail of the video, hear the audio when it plays, but no actual video playback).