A Week With the iPhone 3G

The first week of the iPhone 3G as part of my life has already passed. I decided to do some comparing and contrasting with the old phone. I was fortunate enough to be someone with (what was referred to as) a “jailbroken” iPhone. This meant that the phone was able to have applications written to run natively on the phone. Apple now incorporates this via an application store within iTunes, however, does it measure up?

First up, the physical phone. It seems very similar at a glance, however, once you hold one for about 3 seconds, you feel the difference. The old iPhone was slightly heavier and flatter. The back of the old iPhone was metal where as the new one is plastic. I’m so accustomed to the old iPhone, that the new one seems as though it is of cheaper quality. It is also actually a bit wider and thicker. The volume and silence toggle buttons have a cheaper feel to them as well. Of course, the phone is priced much less, so there maybe a reason to that. One thing that shocked me a little was the screw visibility on the bottom. Apple usually avoids unasthetic eye sores like the plague, somehow, these made the cut. I wonder what prevented them from extending the speaker grate over them just to mask them. Big plus, the flush earphone jack. What a weird thing that was last year. Woof.

The screen seems to be the same if not better as far as I can tell. Although people have been complaining about the yellow-tint, I can clear this up. The screen color is more yellow than the old iPhone, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The old iPhone was more blue, too blue as a matter of fact. If anything, the newer screen has a better contrast and the yellow tint makes the screen more accurate. I brought up a picture on both phones and my computer monitor, the iPhone 3G matched the monitor more than the old iPhone.

3G Vs. Edge: 3G is faster, that’s the bottom line about that, however, at what cost? 3G is great and all, if you have the coverage. Some places, switching off 3G will actually give you more bars on the Edge network. I hope it is only a matter of time before they fix this by adding more 3G coverage. Although it’s a nuisance, for now I switch off 3G most of the time. I know it’s strange to buy the iPhone 3G and not use the 3G feature, but the 16 gigs of space vs. the 8 I had before was motivation enough for me. The other problem with 3G is the battery.

The battery: horrible. I don’t know from experience, however, the feedback I have seen is that the iPhone 2.0 software is a battery hog and it drains the orginial iPhone battery pretty fast as well. I can’t imagine that they downgraded the battery or anything like that, it must be a combination of the hardware and software. Switch off 3G does help though, 3G really likes to drain your juice. I still am a little surprised that they battery could be this weak. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be able to charge your battery at least each night, you may be walking around with a dead iPhone, which is no fun at all.

Accessories: Another annoying side note, a lot of accessories stopped working. Even old Apple chargers won’t work with this new iPhone. That’s a really lousy move. I can’t imagine there is a good reason for this. I popped in my car charger on the way back from the Apple store last week to give it more juice on the way home and the phone delivers a message saying: Pe-tuie. For shame.

The App Store: Native support is supposed to be a step up, but the apps themselves are hit and miss. Some of the apps are dreadful, or just plain useless. The worst is when an app costs money and doesn’t work. There was a flickr app which uploaded pictures upside-down. Costumers loved that one. The Facebook app is lousy as well, using Safari on the Facebook page formatted for iPhone is a way better experience. The Myspace app is surprisingly written well, completely beats having to browse to the site…which is how it should be. Back in the Installer.app days (which was where we downloaded unofficial apps on the hacked/jailbroken iPhone) there were some apps which made it to the app store, so those were a nice touch of familiarity. You should know by now about my Twinkle saga. Sadly, Twinkle finally came out in the app store and as of the time of this writing, its performance is lacking severely. I long for the jailbreak again. Apps also don’t run in the background any longer, so apps like AIM are somewhat of a pain. Services like Shazam and midomi are awesome (song detection). Whrrl and Loopt are like mini social networks which let you and your friends know where you are and what you think about establishments in your neck of the woods. Pandora is finally on the iPhone, which should require no explanation. It’s a toss up since the apps are made by literally hundreds of different developers. The story is the same with the old hacked iPhone software, however. Some of these apps seem to crash the phone unfortunately. Sometimes, all of the apps will crash and I will need to uninstall them and reinstall them before they work again. What makes this even worse is that it loses your saved preferences, which means re-entering your login/pass and whatever else it needs.

So it’s not there yet, but it will be. The battery may or may not be an issue that is worked out, but I’ll cope with it. I feel like once the phone is jailbroken, I’ll be even happier. On a jailbroken iPhone there were some apps that I would just love to see, may even pay for, in the app store. There was an Orb app which allowed you to, among other things, watch live TV on the phone! This is perfect for 3G! There was also a Sirius streaming app! Having the app store and intsaller.app side by side would be almost like, having the WWF and WCW combine.

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