Gary Cutlack writes…
So yes, iPhone’s got loads of great features, but will you actually use any of them?
My Nokia 6680 can connect to the web, but I don’t bother as it’s slow, awkward and the effort of manually typing in URLs using a phone keypad just isn’t worth it the suffering. It can play music too, but I’d rather use an MP3 player where someone’s put some thought into the interface and made it actually usable.
My PC can open Excel documents, but I don’t. My £30-a-month phone is basically a text message device and pocket watch. It’s overkill, and people getting so excited about iPhone may be about to fall into the same trap.
So, before you blow thousands buying, importing, signing up for and unlocking the world’s favourite new phone, ask yourself one question – will I ever use my new iPhone for anything other than sending a couple of text messages a day, seeing what the time is and putting it on my desk to look cool?
These are the iPhone features you might actually use once the novelty’s gone…
1. SENDING THE ODD TEXT EVERY WEEK OR TWO
Thank god for that. The only reason I bother taking my phone out of my pocket each day is to reply to the one text message I get, or to read the latest Vodafone network spam. Thankfully, Apple has embraced text messaging and included this in the iPhone. Otherwise it’d be practically useless to me.
2. LOOKING AT THE CLOCK A FEW TIMES A DAY
iPhone has a beautiful clock! Look at the size of those digits. If you, like me, only really use your £30-a-month mobile to check what time it is – even though you also have a watch – the iPhone is definitely the phone for you. These two features alone guarantee a purchase.
3. USING GOOGLE MAPS WHEN LOST ON HOLIDAY
Anyway, let’s pack up the cynicism and put it in a little box, just like the therapist suggested. The Maps feature of iPhone is the one thing that gets me really excited about it. My current mobile hasn’t got the power to handle a decent map application, so being able to whack in a street name and see where you are and how far you’ve just walked in the wrong direction sounds like a dream. Shame iPhone doesn’t support GPS for real-time directions, though. But then it’s expensive enough already.
4. TAKING THE ODD PHOTO
In the two years I’ve owned my phone, I’ve taken about five photos with it. And they came out rubbish. Still, it’s strangely reassuring to know that your phone can take a photo, so if, say, you find yourself standing in the toilet next to a celebrity, you can take a quick snap to send into some awful gossip blog. Shame iPhone can’t record video, though, especially with it making such a bit deal about having YouTube support.
5. AS AN iPOD
Even though my first experience with the older third-generation iPod ended in disillusionment and an eBay fire sale after three months of syncing problems, poor battery life and random crashes, it’d be nice to see how Apple has improved since then. Having decent music playback support in a phone is something that the world really does need, and an iPhone feature that’ll actually be used once you’re done showing off with it.
6. WATCHING THE ODD VIDEO
And seeing as you’re going to be dumping your entire MP3 collection on it, you may as well copy across a few movies and TV episodes too. YouTube clips of people hurting themselves will help while away train journeys too, as long as the data transfer packages aren’t too expensive.
7. MAKING A PHONE CALL
Oh yes. My current call plan gives me 300 minutes a month, of which I use about two. And that’s when I forget to lock the keypad and it rings someone from in my pocket. Although with the iPhone’s apparently long-winded way of starting up calls, this might not happen at all.
8. THAT’S ABOUT IT
The chances of me bothering to set it up to check my email are remote, contacts and calendars are something no sane person ever uses and there’s no need to ever open a PDF document – especially on a telephone. So much as I’d like an iPhone to show off with, it’s probably best to be strong and stick with what I’ve got. It does text messages and displays the time to the nearest minute.