When we last checked in, AT&T had only started one of the worst customer service experiences of my life. A little after midnight on the release date of the iPhone, I had only spent about an hour on the phone with two different customer service representatives trying to activate my phone. Long story short, it took 4 more calls over 3 days to finally get activated. At several points, I was ready to return the phone and leave AT&T for good. But I was told it would be worth the wait, and now that I have been using the phone for a few days, I can honestly say it was. The iPhone will truly revolutionize what everyone should expect in a cell phone.
Much has been written about all of the features and its beautiful design, and a laundry list here won’t break any new ground. So, I’ll share the features that may not get much attention, but which make the device truly amazing:
- The simplicity is divine. Initially, I was puzzled by the 10 picture instruction manual, but its interface is so intuitive, you will master it completely within hours of using it.
- The built-in, 6-axis accelerometer — which allows you to rotate the screen for watching movies or browsing the web — detects when you move the phone from your ear and lights up the phone so you don’t need to touch any buttons to bring up your options. I can’t count the number of calls that were hung-up prematurely due to hitting the wrong button on my old Treo after the screen went to sleep.
- The virtual keyboard requires a leap of faith since the keys are so small, but once you realize that it automatically corrects most of your mistakes, you will be pleasantly surprised how fast you can type on it.
- The integrations with Yahoo! for weather & stocks, and with Google for search & maps, is incredible. You may never need to call 411 again.
- Voicemails are downloaded to the phone, so there is no waiting while your phone dials into your voicemail, enters your PIN, and then plays your messages. I missed the first 20 seconds of my first voicemail message because I was not expecting that. Fortunately, the slider bar allows you to very easily skip to any part of the message.
- It can truly multi-task. Need to find a contact while on a call? Not a problem. Download email while on a call? Done.
- You may or may not care about being able to listen to music on your phone — I didn’t care much — but when you add the ability to watch videos and subscribe to podcasts, it changes the way you consume information. This morning, I listened to 6 different podcasts — from NPR to the Harvard Business Review to the Onion News Network — while running errands around the City.
My previous phone was a Treo 650, so it’s not as though I was using a primitive phone. But in just 3 days of using the iPhone, it sure does feel like I was living in the Stone Age.