Parallel Desktops

iPhone 3G Second Look

There are a couple of things I’ve noticed about the iPhone 3G that I didn’t mention in my original post that I would like to cover. First off, the iPhone comes with what look at first glance like standard earbuds. I simply ignored them since they looked like the little white earbuds that I received with every other iPod I own.

These earbuds are different though. They include a little microphone 5 inches below the right earbud, harking back to the wired headsets that were popular before Bluetooth headsets became all the rage. You can use the them to listen to your music and it produces very serviceable sound. The best part though is when you use it for a phone call; the sound is loud, crystal clear and comes into both ears, something I rarely experience with a phone since I tend to use single ear headsets or just press the handset up to my ear.

The other cool feature is that the little microphone is also a switch that can be used while playing music. A single click pauses the current song and a double click advances to the next song on the playlist. If a call comes in while you are listening to music you can also click the microphone to answer the call.

About the only downside to the headphones are how to carry them. You can wrap them around the body of the iPhone but that renders the display unreadable. There are cases out there—like the Jam Jacket from DLO that I bought for my iPod Touch—that provide a nice little clip to wrap the headphone cord around. The downside to that is the iPhone can’t be slipped easily into a pocket with it attached; far too bulky. “Is that an iPhone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

The alternative is to just pick up a Bluetooth headset of course, though I have yet to have found one that offers decent sound beyond the ability to listen to phone calls. If you have a good solution to this problem please let me know. As Ross Perot would said, I’m all ears. Assuming I’m not listening to my music that is.

Portable Pictures
One of the nicer features of the iPhone is the ability to sync it up to my iPhoto collection. From within iTunes I simply point it at iPhoto and tell it to grab my 20 most recent events (there are several options for controlling what comes over). iTunes optimizes the photos before shipping them off to the iPhone so they don’t take up the same amount of space they do on your hard drive. Once there you can scroll through them or generate a slide show.

The camera that comes in the iPhone is 2MP and takes very, very basic photos. This is not a replacement for even a basic digital camera since there are no controls to handle things like white balance and there is no flash. If your subject is properly lit you can take a decent photo; outdoors in daylight the quality is fine but if there is any backlighting at all everything washes out. That means forget trying to take a picture of someone with a window at their back. A flash would help but again, this isn’t a “leave the digital camera at home” kind of device.

It’s more like a “I don’t have my camera with me but this will do in a pinch” kind of device.

A Black Rubber Cover
I really don’t like the idea of having a device as expensive as the iPhone subject to the abuse I would likely visit on it without at least a little protection. I picked up an Incipio dermaSHOT silicon case, which provides some insulation against scratches and inadvertant drops but adds little to the bulk of the iPhone. The case also comes with a clear surface protector that helps keep the main glass free of scratches. The dermaSHOT does attract a little bit of lint when placed inside of a pocket, making the iPhone look a little on the furry side, though it is easily brushed off.

I have one of those scratch protective coatings on my iPod Touch (Came with the DLO Jam Jacket) and it helps considerably. Not only does it protect against scratches it cuts down on the finger print factor too. I haven’t seen any change in the sensitivity of the touch screen since applying it either.

If you are going to install one of those protective covers to the face of your iPhone make sure you wipe it down really, really well first and apply it in as dust-free environment as you can. Otherwise you’ll get small bubbles under it.

By David Alison

I bought my first Mac almost 24 years ago when DOS ruled the world. I didn't keep it too long though. I was just kicking off my career as a software engineer and needed to go with PCs. I bought my 2nd Mac in February of 2008. I didn't expect that I would find myself using the machine as much as I have. It's not that I hate Windows (well, I pretty much hate Vista but XP is a fine OS), it's just that I find myself constantly playing with this machine.

I'll share with you here my experiences of making the move from Windows to Macintosh. I still have a foot in both worlds, hence the name of my section.