iPhone 3gs review after one day

“Business Care” Nextel told me yesterday that the “phone insurance” I have been paying for my handset, a Sprint/Nextel Blackberry 8350i, means that I earned the privilege of only having to pay ~$120 to rectify a piece of crap design where the power connecter snapped off the PCB upon attempting to tether this morning. The rep was kind enough to describe, sight unseen, a dozen ways where “how I plugged it in” was likely to be the issue without considering that plastic adhesive reinforced by solder points may not be the most robust solution to handle the physical connecter of the mini USB interface that by its very design is arguably one of the most tedious alignments since the venerable DSUB or the cheap-ass PS/2 male fittings, each with soft wire ends that mated so poorly upon setting up living conditions for their arranged marriages. Let alone if they separate and re-marry every day. Won’t someone think of their arranged children? If my “insurance money” (think pipe-wielding thugs “helping” a local grocer) is worth so little, I may as well throw a pile of dollars elsewhere and see what sticks.

As it happens, the timing was nearly perfect to join the iPhone crowd. Before my giddiness could peak, the first unit I bought turned out to be a lemon instead of a macintosh. My fouled citrus was smelled out before I got back to the parking garage after the purchase because I chose to play with my new fruit in traffic, so back to the store I went to swap my new but broken toy for another, identical yet functional new toy. That is what that was and is worth noting regarding Apple’s acclaimed “works out of the box” mantra, but the reps at the store coped directly and admirably, considering I bought what they told me walking in was “the last” 16GB 3gs in the store and they had the foresight to maintain a reserve to deal with miscarriages. Goodbye, my first iPhone. Hello, my new first iPhone. Well done to Apple Pioneer Place Portland. Get down with A-P-P-P.

That sorted, I played with my new iPhone 3GS quite a bit, as everyone does when they get a Matchbox Car. I work with “Matchboxes” all the time, and happen to be fairly familiar with the prior generations interface and response, since my best half owns a 3G and I own a first-gen Touch along with a jillion other gadgets Apple produced that, at one point or another, I work with. Anyway, here are my quick takes on 3GS…

1. Fundamentally, there is very little difference between it and the 3g with the new software, regardless of the faster processor. Yes, it feels a bit snappier, but not overwhelmingly so to me. Then again, I’m coming from Nextel, so everything feels fast as shoot through a gise, now with 75% less disgusting.
2. The selectable AF camera and its higher res sensor are gimmicky. All you get are larger “bad” pictures that are now are in selective soft focus. It’s still a junk lens and a junk sensor, considering what’s possible with sub 100$ cameras and the photo kit they are putting in some of the current phones.
3. The movie trimmer is wonderful, even if the movies are mediocre. I’ve seen movies shot from hacked iPhone 3G series phones, and the quality isn’t substantially different considering the eventual retransmission medium of youtube or whatever, but the built-in editor is perfect in its conception and execution for the platform.
4. I like maps. I’m a spatially-oriented person* and have a decent sense of what direction I am facing, not that that means I know where I am going. The compass is very cool, and directional representation on googlemaps is quick and accurate in my brief handling. I would call this a must-have feature if I travelled more, and even though I know Portland well, I can see this being very useful.
5. Voice recognition is not as good as phones I have owned more than two years ago, but then again it does more than dial. The included headset with volume control and push-voice-activation is a wireless lapel mic and a stereo aural implant at the jaw hinge removed from a better StarTrek communicator. Yes, that is what I want.
6. Google’s app for the iphone includes integration with the iPhone’s voice recognition software. This was pretty cool. I was looking to see if Twitterific/Nambu were the best options for the iphone. Launch google search… say “Twitterific versus Nambu” wait a second… search results pop up in the browser. Wow. Worked perfectly. Try again. “Pizza Portland”. -Not recognized- replies the computer. *hold computer closer to mouth* “hello, computer,” (with a scottish brogue). Up came searches for “no computer”, (had to try it!) . Third try, speaking slowly, “PIZZA .pause. PORTLAND”. Now, without typing, I had pizza results from all over the region. Mind you, it was 1:30am, but had I wanted pizza, I could have clicked their phone number and hopefully heard “hey, you should be sleeping and you are on a diet.” Is there an app for that?

edit: WTF does ‘spatially oriented person’ mean other than a possible extension of a SOP? I have no answer for that except I often think about where I am at the expense of why I am there.

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