So it was inevitable, after experiencing the lackluster experience that was the LG Vu, and having already had a taste of the iPhone by using Jenns, it was just about a forgone conclusion that I would, too, end up with an iPhone.

I'll admit it. I am hooked. I enjoy the UI, I am ever searching the App Store for the next fun app and I find the darn thing in my hand way too much. I will also admit that I am cheap. I went with a refurbed iPhone 3G because it was only $50 from AT&T and that I have yet to actually purchase a single app from the App Store. I suspect that will change, more about that later.

The actual Phone in iPhone

As a phone goes, what can I tell you, it is a fine phone so far. I'm not a big phone talker and I don't need all the bells and whistles, so as a phone, I'm pretty easy. I did have to learn that if you're playing music with headphones, the caller's voice will also come through the headphones. That was something that took some getting used to after having two separate gadgets for so long. I like how they make features like entering digits and adding callers so easy, with a dialog that appears automatically.

The iPod

The iPod integration is good, I wish it had the ability to rate tunes like my iPod Mini did, so I can filter down songs on the road. I found a great tip for when you have you r phone off or when you're in an app. To get to the iPod controls, simply double tap the home button to get to the play/pause/ff/rew dialog.

The Camera

photo.jpgThe camera, like all phone-integrated cameras is geared toward simple images. Don't expect to take any Pulizters with it. It has a very strange rasterization which shows up with any movement, so you have to do your best to hold the camera as still as you can. The image to the left shows what simply panning the camera right to left while pressing the shutter button yields. There is no native zoom or exposure control, so you need to frame your subjects carefully in good lighting (there are apps to help get around these limitations). For you myspace/facebookers out there, he iPhone is a terrible phone for taking any sort of self-portrait with the impossible to find shutter button depicted on the screen. I think a quick-access button on the side of the body would be a welcome addition. However, there is an app that allows you to turn the whole touch surface into a shutter button, however it is not an add-on to the existing Camera app, it is its own entire application. photo2.jpgThe ability for a developer to update the actual Camera app would be nice, too, especially for the other hundreds of apps for the camera out there. One single app, with a plug-in type system would be desirable, but instead I have to have 3 separate apps for each different add-on feature I want! Lame!

The Apps

The main reason to love the iPhone are its 50,000 available apps. That's no small number, and I've barely scratched the surface! It seems to be that if you search google for "top essential apps" or "favorite iphone apps" you'll get a list of 10 or 20 favorite apps from that person or site and 8 of them will be the same top apps, such as Facebook, Yelp! or WeatherBug repeated over and over. Believe the hype, those are some great apps, and they have an understandable mass appear, however it is the vertical interest apps that you will find most amazing.

The apps that target a specific need or interest of yours are the ones that you 1) find most affinity with, and 2) find most use in. Personally, my interests are weather, photography and aviation and I was happy to find many applications that compliment these interests. The App Store is the only place to locate these applications, which is nice from a centralization standpoint, but it makes it more difficult to wade through all of them to find the app that suites your needs. I'd like to see a better categorization system. 

I plan to review various apps I come across as I continue to use my iPhone.