Want an iphone? Better Read This First
The long awaited Apple iphone hits the market today! Betcha want one, huh? Me too. But read this first-just so you know all you need to.
Written By David Pogue for The New York Times:
Often-Asked iPhone Questions
With its new iPhone, Apple pulled off two masterful feats: creating the machine and creating the buzz around it.
That machine, and that buzz, have inspired a lot of questions. Just how much of a phone, an iPod and an Internet machine is this thing?
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked iPhone questions. Consider them a companion to my review yesterday, which covered the big points like the touch-screen keyboard (adequate with practice), the AT&T Internet network (painfully slow) and the iPhone's overall character (fun, powerful, amazing).
Before you dive in, though, a note about the "Does it have...?" questions. Apple has indicated that it intends to add features through free software updates, so the real, secret answer to some of the "no" answers is actually, "Coming soon."
above: the iphone in stand
Does the touch screen work if you're wearing gloves?
Will a stylus or pen tip work? No. Skin contact is required to operate the buttons. Fortunately, most tappable elements on the screen are big and broad, designed for fingertip access.
Does the iPhone have a speakerphone? Vibrate mode? Airplane mode?
Yes, yes and yes. The speakerphone and the vibrations are both weak, though.
Can I dial without looking? Can I dial one-handed?
You can't do much on the iPhone without looking. Then again, few people can operate a cellphone without looking. Dialing the iPhone one-handed, though, is easy. As your fingers grasp the iPhone, your thumb is free to tap buttons, scroll lists and so on.
Can I use a SIM card from another phone?
The iPhone comes with an installed SIM card, the tiny circuit board that stores your account information and phone number. Apple says that you should be able to replace it with any recent AT&T card, once you activate it in iTunes. No other company's SIM card works in the iPhone.
Will the iPhone work overseas?
If you mean to use your AT&T account, yes; call AT&T to turn on international roaming, and then prepare to pay big roaming charges. If you mean to insert some other country's SIM card, no.
How about voice memos, voice dialing or call recording?
Do I need an AT&T account?
Yes. The iPhone won't work at all without a two-year AT&T voice-plus-Internet plan (and no, you can't use it as just an iPod, no matter how tempting the bigger screen and longer battery life is).
Above: iphone with music and headphones
What iPod features does the iPhone have?
Password protection, Shuffle and Repeat modes, ratings, audiobooks, audiobook speed control, podcasts, SoundCheck, equalization, volume limiter, on-the-go playlists.
What iPod features does it lack?
Games, lyrics, video output to a TV and disk mode (when the iPod acts as a hard drive for transporting computer files).
Does the iPhone work with iPod accessories?
Some of them. The iPod radio receiver works, for example, but FM transmitters may not work. Existing speaker systems trigger the iPhone's airplane mode (wireless and phone features turned off) to avoid interference with the music. Starting soon, iPhone-compatible iPod products will bear a "works with iPhone" logo.
Can you use your iTunes songs as ring tones? Can you download new ones?
No. At the moment, the iPhone's 25 ring tones are your only choices. (They're really good.)
Can you use your own headphones?
Fortunately, the iPhone has a standard miniplug headphone jack; unfortunately, its plastic molding prevents most headphone plugs from seating properly. Inexpensive adapters are available from Belkin and others.
Does the iPhone work with Bluetooth computers, printers, stereo headsets or keyboards?
No. At the moment, it communicates only with hands-free devices like Bluetooth headsets (including Apple's very tiny one, coming in July) and a car's dashboard system.
Does the iPhone alert you when it detects a wireless Internet hot spot?
Yes. In fact, if it's a hot spot you've used before, the iPhone hops onto it seamlessly and quietly.
Can the iPhone serve as a wireless modem for my laptop?
Can the iPhone receive songs, files, calendar appointments, contacts or software updates wirelessly?
No, only from your computer through the U.S.B. charging cradle. But this is kind of neat: Unlike the iPod, there's no "do not disconnect" message during syncing. You can yank the iPhone out of the cradle whenever you like - to answer a call, for example; syncing resumes when you're done. You can also operate the iPhone while it is charging.
Can you make phone calls while you're on the Internet?
Yes - if your iPhone has a Wi-Fi connection. When it's using AT&T's Internet network, no.
Why didn't Apple use AT&T's faster 3G Internet network?
Apple says that today's relatively unpolished 3G (third generation) radio chips would drain the battery too fast - and at this point, wouldn't provide enough of a speed boost to justify that trade-off. Apple will release a 3G iPhone model when the time seems right.
How snappy is the real iPhone, compared with Apple's ads?
It's identical, with one exception: Apple never shows the iPhone when it's on AT&T's cellular network. That would just be embarrassing.
What kind of e-mail can it get?
The iPhone comes with presets for Gmail, AOL and Yahoo Mail. You can also set up standard POP3 and IMAP accounts.
Is there instant messaging, like AIM or MSN Messenger?
No. Text-message exchanges appear as sequential, colorful text balloons, just as in Apple's iChat program. But they're still cellphone text messages, not chat.
Does the iPhone synchronize bookmarks with your computer?
Yes: with Safari on the Mac, or Internet Explorer on Windows.
What does the Web browser have?
Multiple open pages (like tabs), fonts, layouts, pop-up menus, checkboxes, clickable links and dialable phone numbers (tap with your finger).
What does it lack?
Java, Flash, stored passwords, RSS, streaming audio or video (except for some QuickTime videos).
What about V.P.N. (virtual private networking)?
The iPhone works with several common V.P.N. systems (that is, secure connections to corporate networks). A Settings screen lets you fill in the configuration details.
Does the iPhone synchronize with my computer's calendar and address book?
Yes. It can sync with Address Book or Microsoft Entourage on the Macintosh, Outlook, Outlook Express on Windows, or Yahoo's address book on the Web. If you add appointments or phone numbers to the iPhone, they are added to your computer the next time you sync.
Do To Do items show up on the iPhone? Do memos in the iPhone's Notes program show up on the computer?
Does the keyboard rotate when you rotate the iPhone?
Only in the Web browser. That's a shame, because the rotated keyboard, stretching the full length of the screen, is much bigger and easier to use than the narrow version.
Above: The iphone's keyboard
Can you type with two thumbs?
I've seen Apple employees flail away with two thumbs as though on a BlackBerry, but it takes loads of practice. After two weeks, I'm still tapping with one index finger.
Without cursor keys, how do I edit something I've written?
If you hold your fingertip against the glass, a magnifying loupe appears around it. You can now slide you finger through what you've written, moving the insertion point as you go.
Can the iPhone replace a BlackBerry?
It's not really even in the same category. For example, only Yahoo Mail accounts offer "push" e-mail like a BlackBerry, in which new messages appear in real time. For other accounts, the iPhone checks either periodically (every 15, 30 or 60 minutes) or when you tap the Check button. Similarly, you can view e-mailed Word, Excel and PDF attachments on the iPhone, but you can't create or edit them. The iPhone doesn't work with corporate Exchange e-mail systems, either, unless the administrator turns on IMAP (the administrator presumably knows what that is).
Above: the back of the iphone
Is there an ambient light sensor?
Yes. A light sensor lies camouflaged behind the black glass. Each time you wake the phone, it adjusts the brightness - to make it brighter in sunlight, for example. You can also adjust the brightness manually.
Does the camera have a flash? Zoom? Self-portrait mirror?
None of the above. The chrome Apple logo on the back is not a self-portrait mirror.
Are there any secret features?
When the screen is off, the glossy black glass becomes a handy makeup mirror.
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