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Tips from an iPhone Owner

October 11, 2008

Much has been written about the iPhone. I have owned and used the iPhone for nearly a year now and I still love my iPhone. There are nuances and quirks of iPhone, much like any other phone, and once you get used to them it is a great piece of equipment. I got one of the first versions of iPhone. It was easy to unlock this version of iPhone. This made it easier to unlock it to use it with my existing SIM card. Most of what I write here is for ‘jailbroken’ iPhone. These are practical tips from an iPhone owner.

After the initial euphoria of the new toy, when I finally started to use the “phone” of the iPhone, and I missed my old Nokia. To start with, I couldn’t access the phone numbers and SMSs stored on my old SIM card. iPhone doesn’t recognize SIM card as a device on which phone numbers and messages stored. So in case you want to use your existing SIM card with an iPhone, figure out a way to get your phone numbers in Microsoft Outlook Contacts. iPhone synchs very well with Outlook contacts and it is easy to get your phone numbers transferred from your SIM to the phone. You still can’t get your old messages stored on the SIM card though. You can also use iSim utility (by Makayama) to access your SIM card phone numbers.

The earphone design is just superb. The microphone on the earphone wire is actually depressible like a button. Single press picks up the call, double-press disconnects and sets busy tone. When you are using iPod on the phone, single-press of the mike pauses and resumes the song, and double-press skips the song to play the next song. Of course I didn’t read the manual and it took me a little while to figure out the depressible mike. The design is just so sleek and sexy.

You will be absolutely enthralled by the finger scrolling on iPhone. It is undoubtedly one of the coolest features on iPhone. But if you want to find a contact in your contact list, you can’t just simply type the name for quick search. You still need to scroll through the list to find the contact, which is a pleasant experience initially but I miss the ability to type the first few letters of the contact name to quickly get to what I am looking for. Well, the Search utility from Polar Bear Farm Ltd. provides a tool to your search not just your contacts but also calendar entries.

On my old Nokia, phone numbers were stored without country or city code. I transferred these to iPhone using the Outlook synch. iPhone can’t separate the country code/city code for incoming numbers. Dialling out is not a problem but when you get a call, iPhone displays the number instead of the name, since the phone number stored in the phone was without the country/city code. To ensure that your iPhone displays names stored in the contacts list, store your numbers including country code and city code, e.g. +91-98… or +91-11-234… etc. It is a minor irritant initially but worth the effort for using the iPhone.

The SMSs are stored as chat conversation, which is really cool. One of the most talked about shortcoming of iPhone is that it can’t forward SMSs. Yes, it can’t. You also can’t delete individual SMSs but can only delete the complete conversation string. No sweat. SMSD utility (by Amrut Joshi) allows you to forward and delete individual SMSs on your iPhone. Amrut also has another utility CallD that allows you to delete individual call history entries from the iPhone log, something that iPhone native application doesn’t allow.

The full browser experience of browsing the Net on iPhone is just awesome. Just pinch your fingers to increase the size of the page you are readying. Scrolling and clicking on links is easy and intuitive.

Setting up emails is a piece of cake. You can set up multiple POP3 and IMAP accounts. I have set up my work mail and multiple Gmail and Yahoo mail accounts. Unfortunately Hotmail doesn’t provide POP3 or IMAP feature. There is a paid service to set up account on iPhone – IzyMail.

The iPhone battery life is also much talked about. Yes, the battery doesn’t quite last as much as you would like it to. You can conserve battery by limiting your Net, email, wireless and Bluetooth usage. iPhone is not push mail so you need to download email manually. You can set up iPhone to check for email at period intervals of 15, 30 and 60 minutes to make it sort of work like push email. However this will reduce the time between recharging the battery. I charge fully each night and that seems to be just fine, and I do extensively use email and the Net on iPhone.

The photo scrolling, zoom in and out of photos, websites etc. is fantastic. iPod works like a dream. Synch with iTunes on your desktop. There are a whole bunch of games you can download. Many of the games provide you with desktop experience. Very very cool.

What’s really not right with iPhone? I found only two things that are fundamentally wrong. For everything else there’s a utility to get around the shortcoming.

  • For one the price in India is just simply too exorbitant. Rs. 31K for iPhone is just too much when you know you can get one outside India for much lesser.
  • And the other is that the ear phone jack is not the standard 3.5mm jack. The iPhone jack is slightly bigger and you can use just any headphones with it.

You may also miss the tactile feedback of physical keys while typing. Typing takes some time to get used to. The auto-correct dictionary is very good and makes typing easier. But if you really really want tactile feel, the iPhone is not for you.

Final verdict: Overall the iPhone is simply too cool and sexy. Notwithstanding the nuances and some shortcomings, it is a great phone to own.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Quirky Indian permalink
    October 11, 2008 8:18 pm

    Thanks. This might be useful….I’ve been very unhappy with the Iphone’s inability to forward SMSs.


    Quirky Indian

  2. lifeofhues permalink*
    October 12, 2008 1:03 pm

    Hi Quirky
    If you have a ‘jailbroken’ phone, you should have the Installer application. Scan this for new applications being uploaded frequently. Most are still free but many are now beginning to come as trial versions that you need to pay for if you want to continue using. You will find SMSd under Network and Calld under Utilities category. If you bought iPhone from the service provider, then iTunes Store is the place to visit.

    Oh and by the way the earlier version of iPhone would show garbled text if you got an SMS from a named account (e.g. some of the banks that send you a message that appears to be from the name of the bank rather than a number). You need SMS Fix utility (under Unlocking Tools category). Again, it is possible that Apple fixed this problem in newer versions of iPhone.


  3. HIMANSHU permalink
    March 14, 2009 5:58 pm

    calerID fix from cydia for jail broken iphones will help to support country code/city code

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