Mac Corner: Apple’s latest iPhone

By Bruce Foote of the Palm Beach Phoenix Apple Users Group

bruce footeBy the time you read this, the verdict will be old news. The new iPhone 3GS is as great a success as were the two previous incarnations of the iPhone. The same holds true for Software Update 3.0. Predictions were that sales of the 3GS would approach five hundred thousand units over the first 3 days. Amazingly, one million phones were sold.

Those of you who already have an iPhone might ask, “Why should I upgrade”?

The short answer is the new phone has a faster processor, which dramatically boosts the speed of opening programs and web pages. It has a 25 percent increase in battery capacity. The storage capacity has been increased to 32 gigabytes. In theory, this large drive could store a whopping 17 hours of video taken with the new 3-megapixel still/video camera.

A video can be uploaded to YouTube after editing with the included utility. The camera has an autofocus feature, which allows you to choose the area of the picture you want it to focus on. One of the biggest complaints of the previous phone was the lack of voice control dialing. Not only does the 3GS have this, it expands upon it with the ability to tell the iPod application which song or artist to play. The inclusion of a compass may not sound exciting, but the fact is that it allows the Google Maps program to orient the map to the direction the phone is pointed - a much needed improvement.

Concurrent with the new phone, a revised operating system — iPhone 3.0 - was released, and in less than a week over seven million copies were downloaded. iPhone 3.0 includes numerous new features ranging from the much-demanded ‘cut and paste’ to multiple security fixes. The update includes Bluetooth Stereo.

There is now a resident voice recorder along with the ability to edit the recording and email it from the phone. Also included are the ability to attach pictures and videos to instant messages making them (MMS). This ability plus tethering (using the iPhone as a wireless modem for a computer) although included in the software are inactive until AT&T activates them on the network later this year.

The App Store now has over 50,000 Apps available for the iPhone and recently downloaded the billionth application. Since the iPhone has an almost unlimited capacity to store Apps, the new universal search feature makes it easy to find an App if you choose not to slide through the eleven side-by-side screens which can hold icons for up to 176 applications. With a few keystrokes in the search engine, you have your App, contact, song from the iPod or any other information you have stored in memory.

Speaking of Apps, there has been a lot of hype in the media concerning the Amazon Kindle book reader. While this is a fantastic way to read books, the free Kindle application for iPhone accomplishes the main function of the $359 Kindle. Once I acclimated to reading on the smaller footprint, I found that it more enjoyable than reading the hard copy version of a book. It is easier to hold and I always have it with me. It is also a much less expensive method of owning a book.

The DirecTV application is quicker to use to program the DVR and to search the schedule than the television onscreen version of the DirecTV program guide. Couple that with the ability to program your home DVR from anywhere in the world makes it one of my most used applications.

It is almost possible to find an application for any task you can think of at the ITunes store. Personally I have over 100 applications on my phone now and the list is growing. You could say I have not excuse for being bored.

The most noticeable omission’s from the requested improvements to 3.0 was the ability to multitask and the ability to open Adobe Flash attachments. Since the Palm Pre has multi tasking and uses the same processor, there is hope that Apple will include this in the next software update.

It appears that the most common complaint about the iPhone is that it can only be used on the AT&T GSM network. Since most of the reviews I have read come from people who live in the New York area and the Northern California area where AT&T is weak, I discount that complaint. My experience with AT&T in South Florida has been very good. The major advantage to having the phone on a GSM network versus CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) is that with GSM you can be making a phone call and still have access to the Internet. With CDMA, you can only do one or the other.

Mac Corner appears every Wednesday in Palm Beach Previous columns can be found here.

About Bruce Foote: Bruce is a former dentist from Michigan, now retired in Florida. Bruce is member of the board of directors of the PB Phoenix as well as being the chair of the iPhone Special Interest Group. Bruce is a switcher from PC and enjoys the Apple community since 2006. You can contact him at

palm beach phoenix logoWriters of this column are members of the Palm Beach Phoenix Apple User Group, a nonprofit organization for Apple Computing Device Users, recognized by Apple Inc., with the purpose of providing educational training and coaching to its members (students, professionals and seniors alike) in a cordial social environment. The club meets the second Saturday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Fire Station #2, 4301 Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach (just two block south of Southern Boulevard). Click here to visit their website. Click here to reach them by email.



palm beach
JUlY 1, 2009 click to go home
click to go back to the top
Delray's Online Business and Community Newspaper