iPhone questions: Some answered

Sunday, July 1, 2007

We’ve been using our iPhone over the weekend with EDGE, WiFi, and voice and are, on the whole, pleased with the experience. The iPhone is one of those devices that you get and then, since it’s so easy to use, you spend most of your time thinking about how cool the future can be with this as a starting point. Just yesterday, I came up with three business ideas that center on the idea of a fast, WiFi enabled device in the hands and pockets of a fairly well-heeled populace.

You’ve probably read some well written reviews by some highly respected members of the tech community and I’d basically agree with them on all points EXCEPT for the constant droning of complaints about EDGE. It almost seems that, in order to appear “fair and balanced”, a reviewer has to make mention of the dreadfully slow EDGE network. Is it broadband? No. Is it 3G? No. But what it IS is the “internet” wherever you get a connection. No doubt faster is always better, but when I want to look up the review of a DVD or game before I buy it, I’ll wait a minute. Reader reviews of just about any consumer product is less than a minute away. You can get the locations of nearby stores, the phone number and web site OF those stores and directions on how to get there. I’m also not saying that this couldn’t be done on other phones (I’ve done it with a Blackberry Pearl). But, I can say with much certainty that the way it’s integrated on the iPhone means that users are more likely to figure out how to access all this info and will utilize it (a company that wants to do well this Christmas will be setting up an “iPhone” domain fairly soon!). These are things that outweigh the “speed” concerns of the network because even if it takes two minutes to access your information, that still saves you a trip home to your computer which would take MUCH longer.

Also, one other thing that I haven’t heard, but I think needs to be said, this thing gets warm. Not sure if there’s a difference between the 4G and 8G versions (we have the 8G), but you’re likely to feel a warm sensation while using this phone. It’s not “omg! MacBook Pro burn my lap!” warm, but still one of those things that I feel worthy of mentioning (which is why I’m mentioning it). Also, my last phone was a small plastic blackberry that I never noticed any warmth from, so maybe higher end and 3G users are used to this heat.

Some of our questions were answered by other reviews that came out in the remaining time before the iPhone was released, but we wanted to verify with an actual shipping version before we set these down in stone. Here, then, are the answers to the questions we had.

The 30-pin connection

1) USB Camera Connector – NOT SUPPORTED
2) External Mic (Belkin Tune Talk Stereo) – NOT SUPPORTED
3) Video output – NOT SUPPORTED
while we’re on the subject,
FM Remote – NOT SUPPORTED

So it looks like only audio out is currently supported via the dock connector.

Nice to Know’s
4) iPhone “attract” mode – NO
But, this didn’t appear until the iPod with video, so it’s not surprising that this version can’t do this yet.

5) Enhanced museum mode – NO
Again, this wasn’t in the first version of the iPod and was last updated in 2006, so perhaps this is something we may see in the future?

6) What kind of reading interface?
The “reading interface” appears to be via PDF’s and Notes that you enter on the phone. However, you can’t write something on the computer and have it transfer over AND you can’t get those notes off of the iPhone unless you email them to yourself. Same with PDF’s, you can’t just save a PDF to the phone and then open it.

7) Audio circuitry
We’re still waiting for more details on this one. Some sites have speculated about the chipset, but until this is settled, we won’t know what sound generation it’s capable of. What we CAN tell from the ringtoes, though, is that it’s audibly pleasing.

For the Keynoter in all of us

8) What can the iPhone do with .key files? – NOTHING
Since .key files look like folders to the internet, Mail .zips your .key files when you send them. Well, that .key file can’t be unzipped on the iPhone. Because Office files are flat data, they don’t have this problem. So, f you want to look at your presentation or Pages files on the iPhone, you’ll have to export as an Office format before mailing it.

9) QuickTime files
If your movie has audio and video supported by the iPhone specifications and maybe a chapter track, then you should be fine. However, interactive Keynote exports have more than that and these extra tracks aren’t supported. So, no creation of interactive displays with QuickTime… at least for now. I’ve got MY fingers crossed…

10) Slideshow transitions
The iPhone has these transitions. It defaults to “Dissolve” but also includes Cube, Ripple, Wipe Across and Wipe Down. Clearly a subset of the large number of iPod transitions, but at least Ripple is new and looks as good as it does on your computer.

Seems like most of the above is a “No” but, who knows? Maybe some of it is a “not yet” and, with the ability of the iPhone to be updated I’ll be waiting and checking to see what develops!