The Phone for iProjectManagers
So many articles have been published around the iPhone. Hitting the market at June 29th 2007 more than a year has passed. How ever, Australia, always a little different and remote got pleasured July this year. Returning from my long hike in the western US, the first thing after 4 weeks not spending a dime was to get access to an iPohne.
Prior to that i was and and still am using a Blackberry provided by my employer around one and a half years ago i was suffering from not having access to my private email and on the weekend if you want to be reached via phone the whole thing was turned on and you never got a real break from work, therefore i made a decision to get one of the new toys as soon they hit the Australian market.
After 2 weeks of heavy usage this is a summary
1) The Phone
Comes with all you need, standard phone capabilities, a poor Camera, wide open display, and an expensive telco contract. The look and feel, especially the feel is outstanding, a must touch gadget. Phone quality is far better than the other device i was using in parallel and a better reception where i life which is because of the provider i have chosen. Wireless LAN which is great to reduce transaction costs and GPS which is great for positioning based services is built in. The iPod and Video capabilities are standard and well know based on the iPod and iPod touch.
Sometimes the speed / responsiveness is not the greatest, it seems that the iPhone has to think before it takes action. What ever happens in the background, it takes some time, some times.
The Usability is outstanding, no doubt about that. My little daughter was able to use the weather and Google Map application instantly, she is browsing through website as she has never done anything different to that. The ‘haptic’ experience is great and the touch screen is one of the first ones where finger movements are recognised and used for application navigation through out. I always refused to change brands as i got more and more scared (must be because of my age) to leave my comfort zone and get used to something different, also my experience trying different devices wasn’t supportive for a change either (I was on Nokia for the last 10 years). But with the iPhone this change was so dam easy.
The only obstacle is the touch screen software based keyboard and if you are fast writer on a blackberry or with T9 on Nokia, this thing is really demoralising. Never found it so hard to type a message. Beside that the iPhone is so slippery in your hands that you basically have to hold with one hand and type by using one finger with the other. Using a blackberry was a faster and more rewarding experience.
3) Standard Features (Phone, Mail, Contacts, Calendar)
The usability of these features / applications varies. The phone capabilities are great, never was so easy to establish a conference amongst different parties, put on the speaker etc. To find the right number while you are listening to your voice mail is a challenge without looking at the phone. Integration into Contact list is like any other phone, but more fun to scroll through. Mailing features have never been so easy to configure and access. Lots of mail accounts all in one application and quickly to configure and access. The mails are pulled via your phone from the email providers you are working with and not pushed as sometimes mentioned in other posts. You are able to configure that pull routine, and according to your battery lasting and information desire but also consider the phone plan you have signed up for as the more frequently you pull the more bytes you spend, you choose between 15 min and an hour or manual. Contacts are easy to access, how ever the response time of the application increases quickly based on numbers of contacts you have. Sometimes the response to your fingertips are around 3 to 5 seconds which is annoying sometimes.To key in new contacts via the iphone is as time consuming as for other phones, but it feels nicer. The calendar is probably the application which is least of fun. Not from accessing and viewing it, but entering an event is just to many fingertips until you have an event captured. This needs improvement.
This ist the standard synchronisation application on the web for your mails, contacts and calendar entries. As Apple drives the concept of a closed shop as we see it with the iTunes application for quite some time, the same concept is followed when it comes to synchronisation. There are options built in to sync it with outlook express, how ever, if you are an internet only person and manage your mails, contacts or emails by Google for example no real synch options are out there. Services are provided but the level of trust needs to be questioned as you have to provide all your passwords to some provider. MobileMe wasn’t the smartest and best launch for Apple, its expensive for services you receive elsewhere for free ($119 for a year), its slow as pages are reloaded when you access the browser or tab, has some strange behaviour and is not the most intuitive and usable application seen so far. Also the capabilities are limited and the integration of these applications are not as well solved as with Google Gmail for example. Currently i have signed up in the free of charge period that will last for an extended period until 15th of December and i have to make a decision by then whether its worth the money and the have improved the functionality and stability.
5) The Apps (iTunes Apps Store)
That’s the killer feature for my opinion. They started of with 500 apps in the iTunes Apps Store and 4 weeks ago there have been over a 1.000 and heaps of them are free of charge. I have never seen a phone in the last 12 years of my phone experience that had so many apps available, increasing daily. Like 2 month ago in Australia you have had to by voice recorder to record something. Today you find a 99c application that does all this. I will have a category and a stream for that where i will introduce Applications for the iPhone that are worth having for a Project Manager.
6) Phone for PMs
I will and must say a strong YES. Not the standard features or the feedback you are getting from your peers and everybody wants to have a scroll, no, its the applications that do the job, and every day there will be more apps to look at that increase the value of that phone and will make it an replaceable device. And that’s what Apple anticipates. How ever, Lets wait for Googles Android, to be release later this year, and several Phone Companies have announced App Stores for Android already, as Google follows the open strategy. Lets see and let the battle begin.
Never had a phone like this, inspiring, addictive feeling and haptic experience plus more than 1.000 applications to choose from. Some glitches and on mobileme some work to do. A companion to love more every day.