26 November 2007

Am I an Apple fanatic now?

It sure looks like it. I'm now obsessing over the iPhone, after buying an iPod and an iMac.

The fact is that I will soon need a new phone anyway, since my current cell phone plan dates back to the days when my credit was too crummy, and I had to piggyback onto my parents' multi-line family plan, which I still belong to. But I would rather have full control over my line, so I may be looking for an individual plan soon. And I'll most likely get an iPhone with the new plan.

The reason for Apple's iPhone is that the more I see people carry it, and the more I play with it at the local Apple Store, the more I appreciate its usability. It's a typical Apple product - slightly overpriced ($399) and not the most advanced on the market, but easier to use in everyday life than the competition.

Currently, I carry a free Motorola phone that can give me stock quotes and Internet access, but I balk at the idea of paying through the nose to pull up a mobile-only website on the phone's tiny screen. The iPhone comes with unlimited data transfer plans and the capability to access normal websites, so Web access may be a feature I will eventually end up actually using, especially in conjunction with its Google Maps applet (it'll come in very handy when I am, say, doing a walking tour of San Francisco).

I've also seen people use the iPhone's 2MP camera at a recent KT Tunstall concert I went to, and the iPhone took much better pictures than my Motorola ever could.

Of course, the iPhone is also an 8GB iPod, so it will carry my music collection as well (I only have 3.7 GB of music right now - and have little plans for video beyond a few choice music videos). My current iPod has too many scratches (and short battery life), so an upgrade could do wonders.

Last, but not the least, its basic phone functions seem to be above par as well. I could use my Mac's Address Book to synchronize my contacts, pull them up on the phone, and dial or email with a touch of the screen.

I am well aware of the limitation on the iPhone: its slow Internet access speed. It's fine if I am near a WiFi hotspot - I can just go WiFi and surf the Net at high speed (some hotspots will make me pay, however). This will especially come in handy when I am traveling; I could use the numerous hotspots in Europe and the Far East without lugging a laptop around. If I am not at a WiFi hotspot, however, I need to use the cellular network for access, which is not much faster than a dial-up modem. Still, I could use that to find WiFi hotspots on the fly, or check Google Maps. Using cellular network for Internet access while roaming is also a very expensive proposition; fortunately, I can disable data roaming.

In any case, I will keep reading the feedback and reviews before committing. And in any case, I don't expect to get the iPhone until after the new year. My current line is contracted through May; I may wait until then, as my credit score should improve significantly by then. I'll also hope for a possible price drop after the holidays.