As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).
Go to the end of the post for an update about the iPhone (as of 1/16/08) or click here to view the Keynote Address given by Steve Jobs at the Macworld Expo 2008.
I’m surprised to hear some moms criticizing the iPhone, saying that it doesn’t have enough features.
Are you kidding me??
It is a phone, after all, and some people want it to do everything that every other device can do. Talk about demanding.
It might not have video capability, but please! You can take fairly decent photos with it. You can also, by the way, use the photos you take as the photo identification in your contacts – cool! Okay, many phones do that now, but with the iPhone’s large screen, I can actually see these photos, unlike my old tiny little cell phone.
Another comment I heard is that someone wanted to be able to read books in it (i.e., to have it function as an e-reader, too!). Come on now. I think that’s absolutely unreasonable. The audiobooks are sufficient for me.
Let’s talk more about what it can do!
It has a beautiful-to-look-at calendar that is just as good as (if not better than) my Palm. I can include detailed notes, birthdays, anniversaries, and even a to-do list at the top of my hour-by-hour day page. I can flip through it with a gentle flick of my finger and it’s visually more appealing than my gray screen Palm. It syncs with iCal on a Mac, so the whole family can use the always up-to-date calendar.
I can also watch You Tube videos (by the way, speaking of YouTube, if you’re considering an iPhone, you really need to check out David Pogue’s/NYT video).
David Pogue’s “I Want an iPhone” Movie
Well more accurately, my kids can watch You Tube videos while we’re waiting in line or on a long car trip or whatever. Or they could watch one of my many downloaded movies, tv programs (from Sponge Bob to The Office), music videos and more.
Speaking of car trips, I can also check weather for the week in a variety of cities of choice. Once again, I can do that neat finger-flick action to look at the attractive, colorful pages.
Curious about stock activity? Check. It’s got that capability.
Texting? Sure. In the most stylish way I’ve seen.
Music via iTunes (just like any iPod)? Absolutely. Steve Jobs has said it’s the best iPod ever made (to date). I especially love cover flow (the ability to flip through the album covers with a gentle flick of a finger).
Short example of cover flow in action
Internet searches? YES! (admittedly, it has no Flash player so that means you can’t play Webkinz, but still…). Check today’s headlines or find out the online price of a book while you’re standing in a bookstore which wants to charge you full price. Apple may upgrade sometime in the future to allow Flash to function, so I’ll keep my hopes up. Oh, and the cost of surfing? Included in your monthly AT&T bill (which really is not very big (in terms of pages), though some folks have stated otherwise…).
I also love the e-mail feature. You can check messages from several accounts (e.g., AOL, Gmail, Yahoo). And the iPhone notifies you (with an ear-pleasing, gentle buzz) when you receive another message.
Okay, now on to the phone features. Right, it is a phone after all! Your list of contacts can include the standard home phone, work phone, mobile phone, various e-mail addresses, birthday, spouses’ names, kids’ names, and more. But here’s the feature I love. If you touch the address listing for one of your contacts it takes you immediately to a map of the location! Then, if you need to drive there, it can provide directions (there and back!) and show you the current traffic on major arteries.
Does your old phone do that?
Oh, and if you’re on vacation and you want to find the nearest Starbucks? Type in “Starbucks” and the map will provide locations, indicated on the map with tiny little red-ball-tipped pins, along with the phone number and address right in your contacts. Just touch the phone number and it will call the location you selected. Think about how that could work to call ahead to get take out on your way home.
If you like maps as much as I do, you may want to take a moment to view this brief demo by Apple:
Assignable ringtones are more fun than other phones, too, including a barking dog and an old fashioned phone ringer.
UPDATE – Now you can hand pick measures from selected iTunes songs and design your own ringtone! I did that with John Mayer and I love it!
The Apple folks are excited about the visual voicemail feature where you’re given a list of all your voicemails and can scroll through to select only the voicemails you want to listen to at that moment. Very, very handy — especially if your child’s school called with an urgent message, or if you have six messages from someone you don’t need to talk to (or who leaves long messages) and one from someone you need to speak with urgently. You don’t have to listen to six other voicemails to get to that one urgent message. Just touch it and it plays.
Everything loads, syncs and charges through iTunes in your computer, so you just put the iPhone into the dock (included) and all the information is transferred (back and forth). That feature also means that if you (heaven forbid) ever lost your device, you could get a new phone and upload everything into it and continue right where you left off. So you have no worries about losing all your information forever (a concern which I’ve heard some people express).
Overall, IMHO the iPhone is well worth the investment. It lives up to the hype and makes my life easier and a whole lot more fun!!
UPDATE (1/16/08): On Tuesday, January 15, 2008, at the Macworld Expo 2008, Apple announced a new update to the iPhone. Now you can move your icons around on the home screen, create a few different home pages and create icons. For example, if you have a favorite blog (ahem) you can just call it up on Safari, then touch the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and choose “Add to Home Screen.” It produces a new icon for that particular website and instantly displays it on your home page screen. Fantastic! Now I can quickly go to my favorite blogs with one touch of a finger. Other options include mailing a link to the page and adding the page as a bookmark.
You’ll find over 600 Web apps (including some games like Mahjong) that you can add to any of your (up to) nine home pages.
Apple also improved upon the map features. View the video by clicking here.
All of these updates are free for iPhone owners. They just sync their iPhones and click on “check for update.”
I still feel passionately positive about my iPhone and think it’s the best phone out there for moms!