One GeekDad’s Review of iPhone 2.0

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Yes, I know, the hype and coverage has been huge, but I figured there would be at least a little novelty in taking a GeekDad look at the upgrades that have come to the iPhone this week.

First, no, I didn’t go get an iPhone 3g.  I’m fine with Edge and Wi-Fi, and don’t need the GPS – the location finding is good enough for me, as-is.  I’m happy with my first-gen iPhone, and since the true big deal is all in the firmware update, I’ll save my money for the App Store.

The apps are great.  Admittedly, much of what you can now get was available via jailbreak earlier, but sometimes it’s nice NOT to have to void your warrantee.  Here are some apps, and my feelings about them:

Twitterific:  looks good, and is a great alternate to the Twitter web app, but it seemed like it was really eating up resources.  It would always start up showing the middle of my stream, so I had to scroll up to the top every time.  I may stick to Hahlo for now.

Pandora: I already had a Pandora (online streaming music, customized to your tastes via keywords filtered through the Music Genome Project) account online, which I enjoy for dabbling in new music.  The iPhone app works amazingly well, mimicing the desktop version, and working without a hitch, even on an Edge connection!  This means I can stream music with my iPhone while I’m driving!  Very cool.

Jott: I love the phone-based version of Jott, and the iPhone app has a cool premise – instead of calling in and recording a voicemail, you record a 15-second message on the iPhone, which gets uploaded via your internet connection in the background to be transcribed.  Problem was, everyone must have tried it at once, because 2 out of 3 of my test messages failed (and not because I wasn’t speaking clearly, or from a noisy room).  Needs work. Updated: see below.

Remote: Perhaps the coolest little bauble in the free apps, Remote turns your iPhone into an Apple remote, so you can use it to control iTunes on your computer, or your AppleTV, when you’re on your local wi-fi network.  The AppleTV got a 2.1 software upgrade yesterday to add this feature, and just playing with it, it’s a ton of fun.  It’s like the big, grown-up version of that simple little white clicker; or one of those fancy, and really expensive, Harmony remotes.  I had fun messing with my son’s mind when I started changing tunes on him from the next room.

Now all of those are FREE apps.  There are quite a few paid apps, as well, including some good games.  So far I’ve tried Enigmo – a physics simulator where you try to bounce/drain/drip liquid over and through obstacles and into jars for points – and the Texas Hold-‘Em game (which has really great graphics and gameplay).  Both of them are real winners, as far as I’m concerned.  Sadly, no Spore app yet.

Otherwise, the two new included features I love are the screen capture (very handy, as you can see above), and – get this – a scientific calculator.  How geeky is that?!?  Too bad they never would have let me use an iPhone on my Professional Engineers’ exam!

So to conclude, iPhone 2.0 really takes the platform toImg_0002Img_0002 the next level.  If you don’t have an iPhone yet, go ahead and get one of the new ones, or see if you can get a first generation phone at a discount – it’s just about as good, anyway.  I’m a very happy GeekDad this week!

Oh! I almost forgot the coolest, geekiest free app of them all!  It’s PhoneSaber, and using the motion sensing, it turns your iPhone into a Light Saber (at least in terms of sound effects).  I can’t wait to load it on my wife’s phone, so we can have duels while waiting in line for the movies!

 

UPDATE: The folks at Jott saw my post, and got in touch with me with the following:

We have run into a small bug where every once in a while a small group of people may leave a voice note that does not sync properly with the iPhone App. The message still gets transcribed and is available on your Jott account online, it just won’t show up on the app. This is our #1 priority and a fix for it will be released soon.

So, don’t give up on them!

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