Without iPhone

June 21st, 2008

Initially, I was not very excited about the new iPhone. Before it was announced at WWDC, we were sure it would be 3G, and would probably have GPS built in, too — which is nice, but faster speeds and GPS really were not that exciting for me. I was most excited for the iPhone’s 2.0 software update, which, in addition to third-party application support, brings a multitude of necessary fixes, like mass-delete in Mail and a WiFi network manager.

So I really had no intention of buying the new iPhone after it was announced, until Thursday, June 5th, days before WWDC. I was offered $350 for my year-old, 8GB iPhone. My first reaction was to accept the offer — after all, knowing that the new iPhone would most likely be $399, that meant I could upgrade for very little — but I rejected the offer, and went to bed. I decided that I loved my iPhone, and going without it for up to a month would be difficult.

When I woke up, I thought about it a little more, and decided that while waiting for the new iPhone may be hard to do, it would be worth it, so I met the person and sold it to them.

I had a feeling, though, that Apple would announce the new iPhone at WWDC and release it the next week, because iPhones had been out of circulation for so long. I did not think I would be waiting very long.

Well, as we all now know, the iPhone 3G will be released on June 11th. I am currently using my old Motorola V557, and the change is a bit like switching your BMW for a Civic, and getting kicked in the groin.

But this wait has made me realize a few things about the iPhone that I took for granted:

  • The keyboard is fucking great. Seriously. Anyone who has complained about the iPhone’s keyboard deserves their iPhone taken away or, if they do not own one, to be blacklisted — because when Jobs said it is better than using T9 or even a Blackberry-style QWERTY keyboard, he was not just making shit up. What took me less than ten seconds to type on the iPhone takes me 40+ seconds using T9, and I am not even that bad with using T9. Just to see how using a physical QWERTY keyboard is, I used a Treo 650 and a Palm Centro, and it was a terrible experience. The keys are small and, worse, rounded on top, which means that your thumbs slide off of them, and provide little tactile feedback because you are not sure whether you hit the correct key or not until you look up on the screen.

    The iPhone’s virtual keyboard has relatively large keys and, un-intuitively, provides excellent feedback. Its clack sound, combined with the letter popping up above your thumb as you tap it, becomes a natural way to see if you hit the correct key or not. And even better, the iPhone’s predictive software actually works.

    I text a lot on the iPhone, because it is a good experience — typing out a quick message is easy. I dread using SMS on the V557, though, because a number pad with T9 sucks when typing messages.

  • “Internet in your Pocket” is right. Safari, Google Maps and Mail on the iPhone are beyond words. I became so used to them that it didn’t even register in my head how big of a deal this is. Quick example: I went and got sushi with a friend the other night, and before she arrived, I wanted to check what the dollar theatre was playing so we could catch a cheap movie after dinner. No problem; I’ll just open Safari and browse to Fandango’s excellent iPhone site.

    Except when I pulled the phone out of my pocket, it wasn’t the iPhone — it was the abomination-phone, fat-as-hell-phone, Creed of a phone, the V557. I kind of sunk back in my seat, and cried a little. I considered using the V557′s girth as a means of bludgeoning myself out of this misery, which it is little more effective at than using the web, but ultimately decided against it.

    Or another. I will be on vacation next week at Lake Havasu, Arizona. I have two clients I am working for right now, and being in contact with them via email would be nice. The iPhone would do that, even when I have no computer access. Motorola V557? Nope. I just get the clusterfuck version of the web.

  • The iPhone isn’t fat. In case you are stupid in the obtuse-variety and can’t tell, the V557′s size pisses me off. I don’t wear tight jeans by any stretch of the imagination, but jean pockets are a little tight. The iPhone slid in and out easily, and felt like there was nothing there while walking.

    The V557, though, provides an obscene bulge,1 and consequently is a bitch to get in and out of my pocket.

This wait will be worth it, and it is making me appreciate the iPhone that much more. Only a few more weeks…

  1. And not even in the proper place. []