Joining the iPhone cult

iPhone 3GS vs. iPod Touch 2nd Gen.

Well, I finally gave in and joined the cult of iPhone. At the beginning of this month, I decided to splurge and get an iPhone through Fido, Rogers discount brand. Why? I suppose it had something to do with the extension of the 6GB/$30 “promotion” or the fact that I was able to find a 3GS for sale locally, but mostly it had to do with the fact that I needed a new toy. (Note that the iPhone is hardly a novelty item, with >21 million of them out there)

Keep in mind that I didn’t have a mobile phone until late 2007, and even then I decided to only go with a prepaid provider (Virgin Mobile) because I didn’t have much of a need for a phone, but really just wanted Internet access. However, this past summer my phone got more use than usual, especially with regard to Internet access. With Internet browsing being anemic on most non-smartphones, I decided it was time to upgrade.

I narrowed my choices down to two: Either the Palm Pre or the iPhone 3GS. However, I wasn’t very pleased with what plans Bell had to offer and wasn’t sure if the Pre developer ecosystem (and thus the applications available) would turn out to be as varied as the iPhone. So, I decided to join the cult.

iPhone 3GS vs. iPod Touch 2nd Gen.

Another reason that led me down this path was the fact that I already had an iPod Touch from earlier in the year, and so I was already used to the iPhone interface. (I’ve since sold the Touch) And yes, I do realize in that very article I berated the monthly cost of the iPhone only to now end up doing a complete 180 on the situation. It’s not that I’m happy with what I’m paying, but rather that I’m willing to suck it up. Such is the power of the cult, and perhaps one of the reasons for the iPod Touch’s existence – to suck users into getting an iPhone. After all, Steve Jobs did describe it as “training wheels for the iPhone”, but perhaps “gateway drug to the iPhone” would be more accurate.

Fido actually had some okay plans; okay for Canada that is. In the end, I’m paying just about $80 CAD a month. (including taxes) It’s about $50 more than I was paying for my old phone, which is quite a bit, but the iPhone has been invaluable in the intervening period after moving where I didn’t have Internet access at home. We’ll see if it doesn’t lose its appeal in the coming months.

In the meantime, however, it’s been a blast. There are literally too many apps out there to try, so I’ve only had a chance to play with the more popular ones. Some of my favourites include the AllRecipies dinner spinner, Wikipanion, Restaurantica (which I’m surprised isn’t promoted more on their website), and of course, Shazam, the accuracy of which continues to amaze me!

But the most useful features for me have been the always-available easy-to-use Internet access and the access to Google Maps overlaid with GPS. It’s been invaluable, especially after moving to a new city. Without it, I’d literally have been lost more than once.

Despite all the positive features, there are still some sore points. Firstly, battery life on the 3GS is atrocious, as reports have indicated. On a full charge, I can barely last two days with moderate data usage, some music playback and hardly any YouTube/video usage. Be prepared for the daily recharge should you get this phone.

Additionally, being an Apple product the iPhone looks very attractive but is a dirt/dust/fingerprint magnet. Even with the new oleophobic coating (fancy word for anti-fingerprint) you’ll still probably want to get a screen protector and case for this device. I’ve opted for the Speck PixelSkin, which I believe is one of the better cases out there, as it’s tough, rigid and adds a nice grip to the iPhone.

Lastly, there are no good default ringtones supplied with the iPhone! I don’t need some fancy pop-music ringtone, I just want something that sounds normal. Thankfully, a coworker directed me to the perfect iPhone ringtone, and I’ve since been happy with it.

I’ll leave you with some comparison pictures of the iPhone 3GS and the iPod Touch 2nd generation.

iPhone 3GS vs. iPod Touch 2nd Gen.iPhone 3GS vs. iPod Touch 2nd Gen.iPhone 3GS vs. iPod Touch 2nd Gen.

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