As you know I’m a Microsoft bod at heart but as with so many others the iPhone really did catch my attention. I like to think (or fool myself) that I’m not bothered how it looks but one thing for certain is that I am bothered at how well it helps me run my hectic business schedule. It has been great and after 12 months of use and abuse it was time to test out the 2nd major update it’s tiny little operating system has had.
The upgrade process
I’ll be honest, I was quite happy with the latest incarnation of v2 and my iPhone 3G does everything it needs to do for me. It’s always a risk upgrading from a stable version of an OS to a new one, especially when I rely on it so much for work. But…the voices of Gadget were running wild in my head and the text I received from O2 saying OS3.0 was ready to go, was just too much for me to ignore.
I was pleasantly surprised and in fact would go as far as saying that the upgrade was as easy as I have ever experienced. iTunes fired up, the download took about 6 minutes and after another 10 the phone was all done with all my programs, data and in fact everything that was on the phone seemingly untouched and in place. O2 set up the MMS service in seconds and after about a 15 minute painless activity all was done.
The new features
There are lots of new features to talk about, and many of these are tweaks to the API that will become visible through new applications in the near future. However for me these are the main things that impact me, both good and bad on the iPhone itself.
The search facility is absolutely fantastic and works just like the web-cast previewed it. One flick left from the home screen, type in what you want and everything just lists whether it’s a contact, file, email, tune or whatever and it’s fast! For me, this is a killer application and one thing I noticed was when searching emails, it doesn’t just search the list stored on the phone, but will search and return results from your server too. I cannot stress how useful this will be to business users searching for that lost email whilst in the field.
Oh the debate this has caused! I’m discuss this more in a different post you can find here. Internet Tethering.
For me I was really looking forward to being able to use my iPhone to connect my laptop to the Internet and thinking I had an “unlimited” iPhone bolt on was naive! Internet tethering is enabled in the UK with O2 but you have to buy an extra bolt on to your plan to do so, even if you’re a business user. You can see more about this here @O2 Tethering. I don’ know how this will be monitored and I don’t know if you’ll be able to use the service unnoticed if you keep your bandwidth down but it’s a shame O2 just didn’t enable it for free when you’re paying for it anyway.
Cut and paste
The new cut and paste feature is welcomed by me, it will mean much better productivity when writing emails on the move and it works in a nice intuitive manner.
This is now available for texting, email, notes and in Safari and is great for larger fingered people like me. It actually does make a difference and along with the cut and paste it will definitely make the iPhone an even more useful device for editing documents and emails.
MMS and text changes
Long awaited for me, not only can you send pictures directly to other phones (just like every other phone!!!) but also loads of other types of media too. It works well, integrates fantastically with the existing text application and now that you can also delete individual texts rather than having to delete the whole conversation, will mean the iPhone is finally a true communication centre for me. This is going to cost me a small fortune in MMS texts!!!
New tweaks to the calendar include support for CalDAV, which is a commonly adopted calendar sharing standard used by lots of the calendar providers out there. I’ve already played with this to create a pretty decent team calendar and it syncs well with the iPhone. The other is subscriptions, so you can get sent calendar updates from, say your favourite band or football team.
This is a biggy for me!! I need notes to help me through my busy days and syncing these with outlook will be a great help for me and my team.
Useful, although the iTalk application I used for free was pretty good too. Where this wins though is that you can quickly share your recordings over email or MMS. I think this will be something that quietly becomes a well used feature of the iPhone.
Not a particularly business focused subject but the shake feature in the iPod is really nice!
Operation and speed
One downside that upgrades tend to bring is that they make the device slower as new functionality is crammed onto the same aging hardware. However for me I am pretty sure the phone is a little slicker in places and perhaps just a tad slower in some. The Wifi seems slicker and the 3G handover seems to work better and so far no signal drop-outs like I used to get before.
Now the bad…
Theres not all that much but
Is it me or does the overall design and feel appear a bit less appealing? The text underneath the main 4 icons, the SMS icon and the general tone of the graphics seems different in an ever-so-slightly worse manner?
When sending an SMS text, I sometimes get an error pop-up saying something like “Could not be undone.” not sure what that’s about.
There are loads of things I just don’t use, won’t ever use or I haven’t had a chance to test yet. A2DP stereo bluetooth, app centre subscriptions, stocks app upgrades, parental controls to say a few. If anyone has any feedback then your comments are welcomed below.
To upgrade or not!
Other than the usual, isolated and unlucky issues some people get with the upgrade process, I can’t really see any reason for not upgrading. My data remained safe, there are great new features to use and the overall look, feel and operation of the device remains pretty good. Give it a go!!
Next we’ll have a look at the new 3GS and discuss the extra features this will bring. Part 2 – The iPhone 3GS
The Rugged and Mobile blog.