More iPhone impressions

Some more thoughts…

Safari understands RSS, using the “secret” reader.mac.com address. Odd, but I guess that’s how Apple will keep network use down. It doesn’t auto-recognize RSS feeds like Safari Mac does (with the RSS icon in the URL bar). You need to find an RSS link, click on it, then you can bookmark as appropriate. They should show the RSS icon as Safari Mac does.

You can have multiple email accounts at the same time, which is nice. But it isn’t handled particularly well. When sending a message, the new message screen doesn’t tell you what mailbox you are in (you need to check before clicking the new message icon). This should carry forward.

Critically (in my opinion) – there should be separate auto-checking and notification preferences for each account. I have one account I’d like to check as often as possible. I have others which are fine every hour or two, and don’t even need notifications.

The headphone jack is strange. Others have written about this – it’s quite recessed. My over-the-ear noise-reduction headphones don’t fit. I’m sure there will be adapters available, but that’s another thing to remember. I’m sure there’s a reason for the design.

The camera’s white balance is…strange.

Overall (just so it doesn’t sound like I’m whining) I really like the iPhone. The things I don’t like are small in nature, and also (other than the headphone jack) software-related. So I shall endeavor to pester Apple as need be for updates.

If anyone is curious, I’m using the Speck Toughskin case, and Power Support Crystal Film screen protector. Both bought at the Apple Store at time of iPhone purchase. The case is nice. Not sure how I like the belt clip part of it, that’s to be determined. The screen protector is perfect; can’t even tell it’s there. No impact whatsoever on appearance or touchscreen performance.

Oh, a major iTunes issue. You can’t manually drag songs/videos/whatever into the iPhone, like you can with any other iPod. You have to sync everything, or specific playlists. I don’t like this at all. I’ve always managed my iPods manually, and really miss that ability. Hopefully it’ll come back.

Initial iPhone thoughts, suggested improvements

The iPhone is very easy to use. The WiFi works great. The EDGE is what I expected, nothing to complain about. I don’t live in a 3G area anyway. Keyboard is really nice – getting used to it fast. I’m already typing at least as well as I did on my Treo 650, and I suspect it’ll get better.

Some thoughts on minor feature improvements – I’ll use this blog as a scratchpad. I’m going to limit my thoughts to items that can easily be updated via software.

Safari – need an option “Automatically download images” like Safari for the Mac has. Make this service-specific, so I can turn this on for WiFi, off for EDGE. This would make EDGE much faster for web browsing. When images have not been downloaded, have a button when in Safari to do so. Again, just like Safari Mac.

Mail – I’d like a way to flag messages (just like mail.app and other mail clients). There is a “mark as unread” button which is nice, but a flag would be an added bonus. This is for email that comes in while on the road, but you don’t want to deal with until later.

Mail – Automatic email check needs an “every five minute” option. Yes this will drain the battery faster, but for me that’s worth it. Every 15 minutes isn’t quite enough.

Mail – Automatic email checking within specified time block. My Treo 650 had this. I set it to only auto-check email from 7am to 9pm. This was nice, as it wouldn’t beep late at night, or waste the battery if I’d forgotten to plug it in.

Mail – is IMAP/SMTP connecting over SSL or not? In mail.app you can see that in preferences. There’s no explicit option for this. I really, really only want to use SSL – especially in public WiFi areas. So this is a question, and if SSL isn’t there, please add it quickly. Update: SSL is there, just in Advanced and not during the setup prompts. Also, if you want to use a specific port, use address:port syntax. No separate port field, which is fine.

Phone – need a way to quickly search by name using the QWERTY keypad. This is an odd omission. I have 956 address book entries, so scrolling to find the name is too slow.

Well that’s what I’ve got so far. I’m going to look for a theme I like, that also works well with the iPhone. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone’s already written a decent WordPress theme…

One more Mitch Cohen that I’m not

I’m writing from San Francisco, where I (as of tomorrow morning) will be attending Apple’s annual WWDC – the World Wide Developers Conference.

They encourage everyone to pick up their badges (and free goodies) the day prior to the show. So earlier this evening I walked from my hotel to the Moscone Convention Center and handed over my driver’s license. I was promptly provided a badge for “Mitch Cohen, Sony Pictures.” Keep in mind I don’t work for Sony Pictures. My badge should have read “Mitch Cohen, Proactive Interactive.”

I am not the Mitch Cohen who works for Sony Pictures. [For other Mitch Cohens who are not me, read this earlier entry.]

The poor clerk was confused when I explained I was indeed Mitch Cohen, but just not that Mitch Cohen. After a bit of explaining, she said “Ummmmm… See those people down there in red shirts that look important? They actually work for Apple. They can help you.”

The kind red-shirted folks were able to help, and confirmed my worst suspicions. There was indeed another Mitch Cohen attending WWDC, and he works for Sony Pictures. He checked in sometime prior to me. He apparently handed over his driver’s license, and was promptly handed my badge. He either didn’t notice, or thought it would be keen to masquerade as myself for the week. The trouble was, the Mitch Cohen of Proactive Interactive (that’s me) was already checked in. They couldn’t simply check me in again.

After some significant discussion amongst the kind red-shirted folks behind the table and a quick phone call for clarification from Steve Jobs (only kidding on that part) the Red Shirt In Charge decided the best course of action was to now check in the Sony Mitch (not me), and using a secret code word authorized the reprinting of the Proactive Mitch’s card (that’s me). Problem solved.

On a sad note, the kind red-shirted Apple folks will be killed off at the end of WWDC.

After some minor Googling I was unable to locate a web page for Sony Mitch. So if you know Sony Mitch, or are Sony Mitch, please drop me a note. Despite your apparent desire to be me for a week I’m sure you’re a fine fellow. Perhaps we’ll see one another at WWDC.

Just one more problem. With the exception of Steve Jobs’ Keynote Address, the entire conference is covered by Apple’s famous confidentiality agreement. So even in writing this story I may be threatening myself with legal action, bodily harm, or even the loss of Leopard Beta privileges (yikes!). But it’s worth it.