First thoughts on the iPhone 3G

After a couple of hours with an activated iPhone 3G, I’ll share some of my experiences. First, we were lucky to get to the store at the time we did. We nearly missed out on a 16GB model. We got to the store at around 7:30am. There were about 40-50 people in front of us. We got our turn at around 9:40am. We bought 2-3 16GB models that were left. Everyone who were unlucky not to get one were given the option to sign a service contract and reserve their iPhones. They will be called in a few days once they are avaiable.

The account setup at the store took about 25 minutes. It took another couple of hours after getting the iPhone before it was fully activated. The iTunes servers were overwhelmed with how many people activating their new iPhones at the same time. Finally got it activated after a couple of tries on iTunes. Now the fun can begin.

App Store: This is the place where you can download apps for you iPhone. There are lots of great apps. Some I downloaded and installed include eBay, Facebook, AIM, and Google Search. The App Store is easy to use. You can either install the apps on your iPhone or iTunes from your computer and sync it.

GPS: I tried this during lunch time. As we were driving, the dot that represents our current location on Google maps followed along. You can search for places and either get directions or contact info.

Emails: You can sync the existing accounts from you Mail or Outlook program or manually create them on the iPhone. It was easy to create my Gmail, Yahoo!, and Exchange email accounts. Unfortunately, if you wish to sync your Exchange calendars and contacts, it will overwrite your personal calendars and contacts. I’m not sure if the work around would be to get a Mobile Me account.

3G: It seems AT&T has done a pretty job with coverage. So far today I was able to use 3G most of the time. It’s considerably faster than the EDGE network. The iPhone will switch to wifi if it can access one. The problem I had so far with this is with networks that have security via web page. At work, one of our wifi networks uses a WPA security. On top of that password, you have to open up the browser to log in. If you forget this step, the iPhone will keep using the wifi over the EDGE/3G. So at one point I was wondering why I wasn’t able to access the internet when my wifi signal was full – until I realized that I didn’t log in thru the browser.

Camera: The 2MP camera is better than I thought. As long as you take pictures in a well lit place, you’ll be fine. I still haven’t figured out how to email more than 1 picture.

AT&T Network: I thought T-Mobile was bad. In metropolitan areas I don’t have any problems. But at home, I’m lucky to get 2 bars, very disappointing. I tried to call customer service and was surprise to find them closed. I guess I got used to T-Mobile being 24/7 schedule. On top of the hours of operation, AT&T customer support is closed on Sundays. I hope they can fix my signal issue at home.

Overall, I underestimated the phone. Though I have a long wish list of features, the easy interface, third party support for apps, compatibility with my Macs, and internet experience – I can live without my wish list – for now. I would recommend this phone. Just beware of the monthly price plans and the network coverage. If I find more new stuff, I’ll be glad to share.

(added 10 hours later after I wrote this post) Battery Life: With 3G and wifi on, my phone’s battery drained about 40% on stand by. I didn’t use it for calls or anything else. It just sat in my bag. I woke this morning to find that I have to recharge it soon already.

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