Biting Forbidden Fruit

Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 01:26:25 PM EST

This is the first part in a two part series.  In the next post I'll focus on the gaming side of the iPhone.

I’m a Microsoft guy, plain and simple.  I work solely with their software and their Xbox 360 has taken my gaming world by storm.  But I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been missing the forest for a tree…

Prior to my editing this photo was taken by Alfie W. and found via Flickr

Earlier this summer I left my Zune days behind and bought an iPhone 3GS.  The ‘S’ stands for “speed.”

Yes, you are paying for that kind of originality when you buy Apple products.  But the thing with the iPhone is this: It really is a computer in your pocket, there’s no doubt about it.  And the thing with the iPhone 3GS is that it makes that computing even faster.  Everything from accessing email anywhere you go, using AIM, finding directions on the go, loading up games like Sims 3 or Peggle, everything is faster than any other "smart phone" I've ever owned or tried...  

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And the internet functionality is phenomenal. Built into the iPhone is web browser Safari which let's you browse the web via AT&T's 3G network or wifi if it's available.  And when I say browse the web, I mean use the Internet just like you would on your computer at home.  You certainly pay for this ability (via a monthly $30 unlimited internet fee) but for full internet access, the ability to browse and buy off of iTunes on the run and a nearly limitless supply of Apps, it's worth it.  A large quantity of these are free including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MapQuest, Bible, etc.  But when it comes to free Apps, few compare to Google Maps.


Because you are always connected to the internet, you have access to your GPS location via Google Maps.  From there you can search for a location, ask for directions and just about everything else you would expect to be able to do.  But it's how other Apps use Google Maps that makes it shine.  The "Around Me" App will pick up your location and tell you what gas stations, businesses, stores, restaurants etc. are around you.  Similarly, using your GPS location the Flixster App tells you what theaters are around you, showtimes, what movies they are playing, contact info etc.  The Fandango equivalent even lets you buy tickets via your iPhone.  Here are a few other Apps worth noting:

Ever been in a store and wondered if you could find the movie, game, cd or book you are considering cheaper at another store?  Using StapTell, you can.  Simply open the App, take a picture of the item you are looking at and then in less than a minute you'll have the results with comparison prices.  This is an incredibly practical and usefulful App that's free to download and a blast to use.  

Does anyone else get annoyed when a song comes on the radio and the dj doesn't tell you why it is? Yes, there is an App for that.  (Did I really just say that?) Simply open the App "Shazam" and let it listen to whatever the song is that is playing and just seconds later it will give you the song title, artist, lyrics, a link to buy the song off of iTunes (via the iPhone's iTunes App) and more...  This may be my favorite app that I've tried yet, and certainly one of the best deals: FREE!


So a typical order of events may be hearing a song on the radio, using Shazam to identify what song it is, buying it off of iTunes and then Tweeting about it to see if any friends also like the song right from your phone.  Or taking a picture of a funny family moment, posting the photo on Facebook and then repeating back to the family what relatives or friends had to say about the photo.  The possibilities are endless, especially with the 3GS's introduction of video capturing functionality to the iPhone.

For example while on vacation I recorded the following video and then uploaded it to Facebook all within minutes of it happening:

Car Trouble

From the minimal amount of research I did for this 'review' or sorts, it looks like you can take up to an hour of video at a time.  The quality is solid considering its being taken with a phone's 3 Megpixel camera.  

And that quality jumps from solid to freaking spectacular when just taking pictures:

(Using the "Pano" App I was able to capture the entire scene instead of just a portion of it)

Close up's look good too allowing you to tap on the area you want the camera to focus on:

I could go on and on but for your sake I'll wrap this puppy up.  All in all, the iPhone 3GS is an incredible device.  Those of you with a laptop know what it is like to go from always being tied to a corner where your desktop PC is located to being able to take your laptop wherever you go.  The transition to the iPhone is much like that, only sweeter.  Combining a computer with a phone is a beautiful thing, especially when it works like the iPhone does.  No matter what you are doing, if you get a call, your music fades/game pauses/internet fades out and your phone call comes to the forefront of the screen.  Then upon completion of the call, the ending beep is soon replaced by your music fading in right where you left it, game continuing, or internet being pulled back up. Whatever you were doing is reinstated.

Simply beautiful.  

If you have the cash, value staying connected with friends, family and the world as much as possible and don't mind switching to AT&T...make the trip to the Apple store and take the plunge.  The experience is incredible and has proved itself to me day after day.

And even if you can't make the switch, the good news is that with technology advancing the way it is, eventually the iPhone experience will be a standard one, and that is an awesome thought.

The iPhone 3GS retails for $199 (16gig) and $299 (32gig) in addition to the price of a new AT&T contract.  The iPhone 3G (8gig) is available for $99 plus said contract.

Tags: iPhone, Apple (all tags)

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