Thursday, July 30, 2009

iPhone 3.0 and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée French Toast

I need to post this quick before July is gone and I fail the one post-per-month minimum for this blog. So here goes:

I like the iPhone. With my 3G now upgraded to 3.0 and the ability to cut, paste, and search globally, the device can now serve as a portable computer as well as a phone, camera, music player, GPS, and recording device. I can write decent notes, take decent photos, surf most web sites acceptably, and take care of email. While I don't seem to have much time to play with apps, there are several on my iPhone just in case I get stuck somewhere without a WiFi, 3G, or Edge connection. I will write more about apps in a later post--although you can see some of my choices in the screen shot (and the ease of doing screen shots is no small bonus feature).

While AT&T 3G coverage is still weak in my opinion, I can get an Edge signal most places. That means I can stay in touch with folks in my head office with Yammer while traveling. I can handle both work and personal Twitter accounts while on the move (observing all applicable bylaws officer, honest). At the end of the day I can plug in my Sennheiser PXC 250 Active Noise Canceling Headphones and be lulled to sleep by any number of albums or my favorite Pandora station (currently Tangerine Dream Radio). I can even put the iPhone on the nightstand and play soothing sounds over the built-in speakers.

Speaking of sounds, I have now used the Voice Memo feature to record several interviews. The quality is surprisingly good if you are in a controlled environment, like an office with a door on it. The recordings are easy on the ears when transcribing and acceptable for podcasting. I don't like the fact that voice recordings are stored as m4a files (although these are easily converted to MP3 by iTunes). And it would be nice if I could copy voice files off the phone some other way than syncing within iTunes (mailing memos longer than one minute in length doesn't seem to work and you can't yet see your iPhone as a drag-n-drop NAS device or BlueTooth drive).

The iPhone has taken many mobile device features beyond the gimmick phase to downright useful. I actually turned to the iPhone GPS to get out of a sticky situation in Boston where I was on a deadline and needed to walk the city's crooked streets from my hotel to one of several Staples. Worked like a charm.

Of course, some people are going to read this and say: "See, we told you the iPhone was awesome." To which I reply, "And you were wrong." It is awesome now, it wasn't awesome a year ago. Back then it had a lot of potential, but until 3.0 it was missing vital functions. Even now, I would limit the plaudit of "awesome" to the 3GS, which adds video recording, digital compass, and voice control to the 3G, together with a performance boost.

So, my 3G is cool and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't had time to dig into the complex math of how much money it would take for me to become a 3GS user. And I haven't had time to berate AT&T for the failure to support tethering (I have a hack for that which takes the edge off, so to speak). Now I'm off to enjoy the world's best decaff latté at StageCoach Coffee. I may have to order a piece of the amazing Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée French Toast, just so I can use my iPhone to post a 2 megapixel, non-auto-focus picture of it on Twitpics.