I had been mildy in lust with the iPhone sinec it first appeared however I managed to restrain myself, partly through aversion to version 1 of anything and also fear of the data costs which I would probably run up. As I saw freinds and colleagues acquire them my desire deepened until last year I saw a good deal on a 16gb, 3GS. It was a genuine Apple-unlocked version, presumably destined for Belgium or Italy where phones may not be sim-locked, complete with a Dutch Vodafone iPhone package, with unlimited data for a flat rate, and a discount against the phone cost. A quick rationalisation to my wife, an early Xmas present, and the order was placed. Within a couple of days I had the phone in my hand. Joy! Since that day in September the phone is never far from my side.
So, what is good about it? General simplicity of use, partly due to the integration of the installed apps, is a clear positive. The cost of apps is excellent compared to what I used to have to pay for my various Palms, although the good ones amongst the chaff is a challenge. The touch controls work well although I sometimes find that drop down boxes on websites cannot be scrolled. Integration with iTunes, Address Book and iCal is good but having to sync notes to Mail, which I otherwise do not use, is frustrating. GPS location works very well, it’s cool to watch your little blue blob move around a map as you walk, and useful when you are navigating on foot; I should never get lost again. I was sceptical of whether you could use it for watching TV or movies but this has been remarkably good. When operating on home wi-fi I have even been able to stream video live from EyeTV on the Mac Mini. You can also use the iPhone as a remote control for an AppleTV.
You are probably interested in the not so good too. I should say that there is nothing really bad about it. Most of what follows is in the “nice to have” box. One of the most frustrating things is the limited control over the application menu screens. If you try to organise your apps logically, say games on one page and travel apps on another, you will end up swiping right to left many times to reach some groups; the old Palm system of customisable categories reached by a tab is much slicker. The good news is that iPhone OS4 will have something like this. However, the thing that I really miss vs. my Palm is handwriting recognition. The on-screen typing works OK but for me it is definitely slower and more error prone than I was before. I will be first in line for a Graffitti app if it ever reaches the iPhone. The other thing that I miss is more a style thing. In Palm OS PIM records (appointments, contacts, whatever) have a tag for “private”, you use it to keep certain things (date with mistress for example) hidden from anyone who might have access to the device itself or the systems that it syncs to. A simple two stroke commands hides/unhides them all. I did not use it for much, mainly to keep details of personal meetings out of Outlook, which a number of colleagues had access to. You can do the same with iPhone OS by other means but the simple hide/unhide is missing.
An obvious area of concern is battery life. In practice I do not have much of a problem. My iPhone gets a lot of use and I am keen to avoid battery memory effects. So, I like to run it down to 20% rather than partially charge it all the time. This leaves me exposed to running out of power at a crucial moment. My solution was to buy a small external battery pack that I can use to recharge when out and about if the battery gets too low.