From:         Patrick_Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 1 Aug 2007 - Patrick on the iPhone


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, a town that was created by blending corn syrup and sugar and then cooking it to 245 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a recent post my partner in bus-driver-ey provides 10 reasons why he won't be purchasing an Apple iPhone. While I certainly hold Bob's opinion in high regard, I respectfully disagree with his conclusion. In that light, I present my 5 reasons why the iPhone *IS* my phone.

1. It *IS* my phone

I have an iPhone. It was a wedding gift from my wife. [Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. I got married. On 07/07/07. In Las Vegas. I promise I'll tell you all about it in my next post. For now, let's get back to the iPhone.]

Would I actually pay US$499/$599 for an iPhone if I hadn't received one as a gift? My answer is "yes, despite its flaws." And since I was already a Cingular/AT&T subscriber with a monthly data plan, the activation process was a snap. In fact, I think I am paying AT&T *less* per month than I was with my old phone.

2. The Interface

If you've seen the iPhone commercials, you know how to use an iPhone. No, really. The interface is at once beautiful and intuitive. Launching and switching between applications is a snap. And as hard as this is to believe, the iPhone's virtual keyboard works quite well. It's even good a predicting what you meant to type if you make a mistake. Punch in "Hwlli" and the iPhone predicts, based on keyboard quadrants, that you meant to punch in "Hello" instead. Pretty slick.

3. Google Maps

I downloaded and installed Google Maps on my old phone -- a Palm Treo 650 -- but the Google Maps application that comes pre-installed on the
iPhone just plain works better. In fact, it has changed the way I use my cell phone. Case in point: on Saturday, Christine [my wife] and I went on a quest to find a store that sells Red Hots cinnamon imperials candies by the bag instead of by the box. After striking out at CVS, Ralph's, and Target, I launched Google Maps, typed in "Walmart", and up popped six Wal-Marts within about 10 miles of me. A quick trip to the Wal-Mart in Foothill Ranch and my Red Hots craving was satiated.

And because the iPhone's Google Maps application shows live traffic conditions, I no longer need my TrafficGuage [see ] to see what the freeway congestion will be like on my trips to and from work.

My only complaint about the iPhone's Google Maps tool is that the iPhone doesn't have GPS. This means you have to manually tell the iPhone where you are before you can use Google Maps to get driving directions or a list of local businesses. For example, in Apple's "Calamari" commercial [ ] you have to start with an already zoomed-in map of San Francisco and then search for the keyword "seafood" to see a list of San Francisco seafood restaurants. Other than that, though, Google Maps works just like it does on the commercial. The red location pins even drop in from the top of the screen.

4. Call Quality

Despite assertions from Consumer Reports [] and others to the contrary, the iPhone sound quality is as good as or better than other cell phones I have owned. And it is SIGNIFICANTLY better-sounding than my old Treo 650 [motto: "Are you still there? Can you speak up? I can't hear you!"]

But don't take my word for it. The folks at ran the iPhone through a series of rather expensive lab tests and concluded that the

iPhone scores higher on [the Sound Receive Frequency Response] test than all of the five comparison phones, and only one phone that we have tested so far (the BlackBerry Curve) scored higher

As for the Sound Send Frequency Response test, the conclusion was that

The bass response ... is perhaps a little higher than we like to see; this could make your voice sound a little bit bassier than it really is. But overall, the sound quality is very acceptable. It scored almost identically to the Treo 750, slightly higher than the Nokia N95, and much higher than the BlackBerry 8800.

I have a deep voice already so that extra bass makes me sound like Barry White. And my wife thinks Barry White is hot ... or that his tractor is sexy. I forget which. Either way, it's a win-win.

You can read Wirelessinfo's full report at

5. Web Browsing

The primary reason I bought a Palm Treo 600 in 2003 and replaced it with a Palm Treo 650 a few years later is that I wanted to be able to surf the web from my cell phone. Unfortunately, using the Treo's browser on Cingular's EDGE network was a trial of patience that even Job would fail. Web pages took forever to load and didn't look right when they did load. But it was better than nothing.

And then I got an iPhone. Browsing the web on the iPhone's built-in Safari browser is an absolute joy. Check out for a video of Safari in action. Notice that when a web page first loads the page's text is so small that it is quite difficult to read? To fix that, just double-click on a part of page to zoom in. Voila! The text is readable. And if you hold the iPhone horizontally, the page's text become's even larger. Oh, and the video doesn't show this, but by doing a "reverse pinch" you can zoom in even closer.

I've had absolutely no problems reading Digg, Fark, Slashdot, and even my campus Lotus Notes webmail messages on my iPhone. In fact, shortly after getting married, I went to the campus' human resources office to add Christine to my health insurance. The folks at HR asked me for a piece of information that could only be found on my pay stub. So I fired up my iPhone, browsed to the campus' PeopleSoft webpage, logged in, pulled up my most recent pay stub, and then showed the HR staff the information they requested.

I'm such a geek.

Now, do not read into this that marriage has turned your fearless bus driver into an Apple fanboy. I am still a true-blue Windows user. My next computer will most likely be a Lenovo T61P Thinkpad [see ], not an Apple iBook.

And as much as I love my new iPhone, there are a few things I don't like:

1. Network Speed

Bob writes that "[t]he cellular network that the iPhone uses is Slow With a Capital S." Bob is overly generous. Cingular/AT&T's EDGE network makes glaciers seem downright speedy. But AT&T has slighty bumped their EDGE network from "it's headed this way ... slowly crawl for your lives" speed to "it's headed this way ... casually saunter for your lives" speed. So, yeah, it's still slow. But as an old Cingular/AT&T subscriber, I am used to this slowness. And when I connect my cellphone to a Wi-Fi network at home or at work, the iPhone's network applications absolutely fly.

By the way, to check *your* mobile phone's internet speed, visit

in your phone's browser and select the 100k test. And to see today's mobile speed test results, fire up any browser on any device and go to

According to the data from 7/23, the iPhone's network speeds fall somewhere between a pathetic 21 kbps [worse than most dial-up connections] to a semi-decent 153 kbps [better than dial-up but well worse than DSL].

2. Headphone Jack

Another complaint is that the iPhone's headphone jack is so deep that you need a special, longer headphone adapter to be able to plug in your older headphones and accessories [see]. So add an extra US$10.95 to the iPhone's total cost of ownership. :(

3. Sunny, 73 Degrees

This is a minor gripe, but while the calendar icon automatically updates to shows you today's date [for example Saturday, July 7 or Monday, July 23] the weather icon never updates. It is always sunny and 73 degrees, even when it is raining and 85 degrees. You have to click on the icon to see the correct weather.

4. Voice Dialing

The iPhone does not have voice dialing [where you say "Call Home" and the phone automatically dials your home telephone number] which is a downright criminal omission. Since many US states now prohibit 'driving and dialing,' this may be the deal breaker for some. However, I never make calls while driving. I only answer incoming calls. And my Bluetooth headset [see ] works perfectly with my iPhone, so I can keep both hands on the steering wheel.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, I wish the iPhone had GPS. And a Red Hots dispenser. But would I buy an iPhone again? Absolutely. And I cannot wait to see what new features are added to the next iPhone. [Hint to Apple: People like Red Hots!]

Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

           .~~~.  ))
 (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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