It's not Storming Yet...

Services for Real Estate Pros with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.


Sorry folks but my new Verizon Blackberry Storm did not arrive today.  Ok, so how would I get one so early?  I'd ask the same question.  I can't really say other than I know some folks at Verizon Wireless.  Now I have to plan for next week.  I also have a new Aluminum MacBook Pro coming so I might write about that depending on which makes it to me first.  So what am I going to write about this week?  How about mobile device thats still fairly new.  Apple's new iPhone 3G running Software 2.1.

iPhone Front 

I received my iPhone 3G on July 15th so I've been running it for a little over 3 months. I have to say the device has held up wonderfully and if you didn't know it, you would think it just came out of the box.  The fit and finish is absolutely remarkable for a mobile device.  Setup was a breeze.  It was up and running with my original iPhone number within 15 minutes but I did need to call AT&T. There was no wait what so ever and the support person took care of the number transfer with a cheerful tone in his voice. 

This is my personal device so I use it very heavily evenings and weekends. I get some 200 emails a day so any device I use gets a good workout.  In a nutshell, I really like it and it still remains in my opinion one of the best devices out there but there are few issues users should be aware of before they switch devices. While the iPhone 3G's is fast (2X overall performance) it does sacrifice battery life. My first generation iPhone could easily last all day. The new 3G on the other hand uses more power, a lot more power. Battery life could be an issue for people on the go without access to a charger. It's very important that you get a car charger ($20 additional) and keep it plugged in while you're on the road. Also, keep it plugged into your computer or an AC charger while at your desk. Many agents ask me if there's a difference between plugging a mobile device into a wall charger or directly into a USB port on the computer. They ask if one's better than the other. Surprisingly there is. Plugging it into you computer is actually much better because the power is regulated via the USB port for the exact voltage required of the device. It's not that AC is bad; it's just that USB power is better. Personally, I charge my iPhone 3G in my MacPro at home and in an AC charger in the office and have had great success. I also charge in the car.  Also, Apple had some series issues with their AC Adapters which prompted them to recall them.  Please click her for additional information.  

The new iPhone 3G also has a new GPS and location services built-in. No Voice Navigation or Turn by Turn yet, but that is rumored in a future release.  This is a wonderful feature but it also uses a lot of power. Users can turn this off and I recommend you do if you're not using it. It's a simple slider option in the settings area. Bottom line is the iPhone 3G consumes about twice the battery power as a first generation iPhone. This is inline with all iPhone 3G high power PDA's available in the market today. The Blackberry is the only device out there that can easily last a full day. In my real world usage, I'm able to get a full day of use when I charge in my car on the way to work. I also keep the Wi-Fi feature off most of the time. This also saves a lot of battery power. I'm spending a lot of time on this because with any mobile device having power is critical. Keeping the GPS off, turning off Wi-Fi when not in use and decreasing the brightness of the screen improve its life by several hours between charging. There are also some 3rd party add-on battery packs that increase runtime by in some cases 14 hours but I've not tried any yet. Frankly, I don't need them and they are expensive. The ones I've read about are nearly $100.  My simple rule is I charge in my car on the way in and on the way home.

Other than battery life there are a few features Apple still needs to add.


  • Spell Checker
  • Navigation Keys
  • Copy and Paste
  • Auto Text (Critical for mobile users, in my opinion)
  • Replaceable Battery


Of all the issues, the one that drives me crazy is the lack of Auto Text. I've personally complained to Apple, via their user feedback webpage, on this one and have asked that this be added in the next release.
Now that we got the issues out of the way, lets talk about what's great. Lets start with the process of getting the iPhone and getting it activated. Much has been made about this but it's actually much easier than before. Simply visit the Apple Store or an AT&T Store and purchase your new iPhone. The good news is that these days there are no lines. The packaging the iPhone comes in is gorgeous as is all of Apple's products. At the end of the day it's a box, but what a box it is. It's delivered as if it where a fine watch or a piece of jewelry. Again, Apple delivers on the promise and has set a new standard for the experience. Inside the box is the iPhone 3G, a USB data cable, instructions, microfiber screen cleaning cloth, those neat Apple window stickers and a new very small AC Charger that you may mistake for a piece of packing. Make sure its a new one with the green dot.  Remember, the first generation USB chargers had a flaw that caused Apple to replace all of them.  It's very small and resembles a single dice. You plug your iPhone data cable into it, and then plug into a wall outlet and you now can charge your iPhone. Missing from the original contents is the desk dock. You now have to purchase that separately. Bad news is the old one won't work because the new iPhone has a slightly thinner base. Another complaint is that Apple charges $30 each for a simple piece of plastic. Ouch, but I did buy two because they make it very easy to connect the iPhone for charging. I really can't complain since the iPhone is $400 less than when it came out and $200 less than the price after Apple lowered it. Also, the iPhone does not come with a case. There are literally hundreds of different models made by 3rd party companies but please note that the iPhone 3G model is slightly larger so if you have a first generation model with a case you'll probably need to purchase a new one. Make sure the case say "designed for the 3G iPhone". Operating the iPhone could not be easier. The screen is still the best out there and the touch screen is very responsive with no Palm like calibration necessary. Users with long fingernails could have a problem since you need to touch the screen with your fingertip to select or tap the virtual keys. I highly recommend you visit an Apple Store or AT&T Store to try before you buy if this pertains to you.

The screen has an automatic light sensor or you can manually set it brightness. Another huge improvement over the original iPhone is the internal speaker. Its been much improved. The speakerphone is loud and clear. It sounds excellent and the Bluetooth integrated with my car and my earpiece in an instant. Prior to software Version 2.1 I had an echo while using Bluetooth but that went away as soon as I went to software Version 2.1.  Nothing complicated, as the phone walked me through it. The earpiece, which is made by Plantronics needed for me only to turn it off and then on again.  As soon as I did, the iPhone 3G recognized the new device. The iPhone 3G also has a newly designed earphone jack. Now any headphones will fit the 3G. I personally use a pair of Bose On Ear headphones and the sounds are exceptional. On the downside the iPhone 3G does not support Bluetooth wireless headphones. 

Overall performance is excellent. The new iPhone 3G wireless services are about 2X faster than the original Edge. For clarity the original iPhones used the AT&T Edge network while the new iPhone uses the AT&T 3G network.  It makes browsing the Internet a joy. Attachments also come down much faster. Since the iPhone 3G can view just about every type of attachment, the speed is very much appreciated. Even .wav files can be listened to which is a huge benefit for those that get voice mails in .wav format. The GPS services are also a nice addition but you may want to switch this off when they're not in use. Battery life will be improved with location services being turned off. WiFi is excellent and works with any free service or your home access point.  I have an Apple Airport Extreme and have had nothing but excellent service.  I use MAC address security filtering along with WPA2 encryption.  The iPhone 3G works perfectly not to mention is fast.

Microsoft Exchange support is now built directly into the iPhone 3G.  Email, contacts and calendar are now pushed directly to the iPhone 3G in real time. Note that this feature is a software upgrade that is supported by the original iPhone as well. This is what's referred to as Version 2.0 and is free to all iPhone users. There are a couple of things missing like copy & paste, spell check and auto text, but they are on the books to be developed in upcoming feature releases.  I've mentioned this several times but for me this is a real headache. Can I live without it, sure, but coming from the Blackberry world, they'd be sure nice to have now.  One thing I've encountered is that there is a slight delay when you hear the tone indicating that a new email has arrived, and when you can actually see it on the screen.  It's better to wait a second or two and let the email download fully. If you're too fast, the email won't display and on occasion you have to go back to the Home Screen and then re-enter Mail for the email to fully download. Other than that everything has worked perfectly.  With Version 2.1, I must say this is much better.

Probably the best new feature of the iPhone is the App Store. Again, available for both old and new iPhones.  The store is well stocked with thousands of useful applications. Many of these are free. I downloaded about 40 so far, of which many were free. My favorites are Pandora, Apple Remote, NyTimes, Mobile News, SportsTap, BoxOffice, Bloomberg, Loopt, CheckPlease, CityGuide and Shazam. You have to see Pandora and Shazam to actually believe what they can do on a mobile device. These are just a few of the fantastic applications, which are now available. There are also a whole host of applications, which can be purchased for usually $10. Many are games and the iPhone 3G is a great platform for games. With the built in motion sensors called accelerometers so the device can be used as a game controller. Check out the free game called Labyrinth LE. The iPhone becomes a fantastic gaming device when you need a little down time. The games I've actually purchased are Blackjack 21, Super Monkey Ball, Spore and Cro-Mag Rally.  All of these are fun and well developed with incredible graphics.  In a moment you can lose track of time.  I also purchased Guitar Toolkit.  For $10 you get a very accurate tuner that is with you anywhere.  It can also do many other things.  Sure beats carrying around a tuner wherever you go.

So here are the highlights. Improved phone with much better speakerphone capability. Vastly improved Microsoft Exchange and Outlook support, not perfect but very good. The absolute best mobile browser available and the 3G network is a huge improvement over Edge.  Remember, current Blackberry units are not 3G so the iPhone 3G is much faster in nearly ever case over a Blackberry. The screen is absolutely the best and extremely durable.  It survived a number drops from me already including on directly on the floor of my parking garage.  Good GPS and excellent Google Mobile Maps.  An excellent price at only $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB.  Good camera and easy to use interface makes it iPhone 3G intuitive as well as fun.  Still only available from AT&T but I must say I've had no problems at all with them and frankly I can get a representative on the phone with them far easier than other carriers. My iPhone switch from Edge to 3G was done during the mad rush and they picked right up and were able to help me to the point where I was done within 15 minutes. While Verizon Wireless is a great company most of the feedback I've received from our agents is they love the device and are generally happy with AT&T.  We have several hundred iPhone's in use at Long & Foster.  Agents just love them.

And there's one more thing.  The iPhone 3G is a wonderful iPod music and video player.  I use mine all the time. I use mine for music, movies, audiobooks and podcasts.  It's a wonderful nearly free benefit.  Just plug in a pair of headphones and enjoy.  Apple does include a pair of "in the ear" headphones but I really don't like them.  They actually hurt after a while.  The ones that come with the iPhone 3G have a decent built-in microphone but I prefer to use a Bluetooth headset with a gel ear insert.  Much more comfortable.  I purchased a pair of Bose over the ear headphones about a year ago and matched with the iPhone 3G the sounds are excellent. Unfortunately, I left them at a hotel I recently stayed in while visiting with Google in New York City.  If anyone finds them, would you please let me know?   I really like them. 

Full Disclose time.  So why do I use a Blackberry 8830 Curve for business?   For me it's all about email.  There are days when I don't make a single phone call but will send and receive some 200 emails.  If this is the key criteria, for me the answer is the Blackberry.  If email was only moderately important, the iPhone 3G would be my primary device.   In short the device is not perfect, but using it is perfection. Thanks for reading, post a comment if you like.  C YA...



Comments (1)

Joshua Colvin
Keller Williams Realty-Ann Arbor - Ypsilanti, MI
Realtor - Ann Arbor Area Real Estate

Great review of the iphone! I am curious to see how you feel the storm compares since these are the 2 phones I am considering in the near future. Thanks for the in-depth post!

Oct 31, 2008 05:49 PM