iPhone 3G: What the original should have been

Posted on by Mike Evans

Having been out of the country until last week, I wasn't among the early birds standing outside O2 to buy an iPhone on July 11. Now I've got my mitts on one--a shiny black 16GB model--I am absolutely delighted. Fortunately, while away, I had my iPod Touch in my bag and I was able to use wifi to explore the Apps Store and try out twenty-odd useful productivity applications, including the wonderful Omni Focus. All my apps installed immediately on the new iPhone when I connected to iTunes and the whole process of buying, registering and starting to use was quick and painless. My only gripe is that the data I had stored in non-syncing applications such as Bloomberg (for stocks and shares) remained on the Touch and had to be re-entered on the iPhone.

Despite my liking for new gadgets, I resisted the original 2.5G iPhone. I felt Apple had made a big mistake in not offering a 3G (third-generation) phone in the first place. I suspect the relatively lack of 3G services in the US led Apple to believe that they could get away with 2G, even when speeded up a little by the EDGE standard. Clearly many people in Europe and elsewhere in the world were not so impressed.

But now there is no excuse for resisting the iPhone. The new model is everything the original should have been. The Apps Store on iTunes is brilliant and contains hundreds of useful applications for download. Most are cheap, less than £5, and many of the most useful items are actually free. Many applications (such as OmniFocus, the Splash wallet series, and my family history program) synchronise with desktop versions so you can keep up-to-date information on both platforms.

In my view, though, the wonder of the iPhone (as with the Touch) is the web-browsing facilty. Having struggled for years with Windows Mobile, Symbian and other phone operating systems, I find the iPhone browser absolutely wonderful. For the first time on a mobile it is possible to do some serious web browsing without jerking from frame to frame. You can even see the whole page in miniature to help with navigation. Frankly, it is so usable it's a pleasure to spend time reading the news, checking facts and simply ferreting around in the ether.

So, for the moment, full marks to Apple. It's been worth the wait.

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