Things to love about the iPhone

I took delivery of my iPhone at the start of September, the beginning of a trying month that saw me out of the office for long periods and only in touch with the world via my phone. It was a baptism of fire for me and the device. You will have seen the adverts, played with them in phone shops, looked over fellow commuters’ shoulders, borrowed your friend’s … great. Or is it? This article touches on some of the best things about the device that have wowed me completely. Or even just a bit. And to maintain the celestial karmic balance, I have a companion article on some things that drive me absolutely up the wall. There’s enough material for both pieces, I assure you! So here we go, in reverse order, the ten things you should love about the iPhone!


Voicemail organization

One of the cutest features of the device is the way it organizes your voicemail for you. No more phoning the voicemail number, listening to all the messages in your mailbox in the order they arrived to get to the ones you want to hear. They are in a list with real names instead of phone numbers when the number is in your contact list. You can go straight to the message you want and avoid the junk calls. You aren’t limited to the time limit on saved messages that your phone provider imposes – they will stay on your device as long as you need them. It’s even got deleted file recovery, with deleted messages staying in your trash can until you commit the delete.

SMS text organization

If you like how the iPhone manages your voicemails, you’ll love the SMS organization even more. Third-party names, as before organizing SMS messages. Still, even better when you drill down by the third party, the messages themselves are displayed, in order, as a series of quotes like an instant messaging dialogue so that you can see the whole conversation. It’s so good, so obvious; why hasn’t it been done before?

Onscreen keyboard

One of the things that strikes you about the iPhone is the absence of any keyboard or stylus. It’s almost devoid of buttons altogether, which is one of the criticisms I would level against the iPhone. The lack of a keyboard was one of the reasons I delayed switching to the iPhone in the first place. I work out of the office probably 60% of the time, and my PDA is often my only link with my business while I am out of the office. Sending email via a T9 keypad is not ideal, and most soft keyboards I have seen to date have been frustratingly slow.

I have had a couple of PDAs with slide-out keyboards, and these can be satisfactory, but they also make the device heavier, thicker, and less attractive than a telephone handset. The iPhone soft keypad is surprisingly good. Before I ordered the iPhone, I watched some demos on YouTube, yet I had nagging doubts about how realistic they were. I need not have been concerned, however: It is as good as the demos suggest. The auto-correction works by comparing what you type with the keys around the key you strike, so if you hit an “h” instead of a “g,” it will pick this up and correct your mistake.