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An Iphone for an eye…

Yes, there are indeed far too many smart phones running amok these days, and I really do hate to be jumping up onto the Apple bandwagon (it’s a cart, really), but I have to say that Apple’s iPhone 4 is by far the best product out at the moment.

I’ve tried a few of the Android models but the quality varies so much from model to model that you don’t really know what you’re getting.   Top that off with the fact that most of the coolest features that make android unique are missing from a lot of the phones or are disabled until you pay an additional fee.   I hate getting only half the product and then being told that if I want the rest, I have to pay a monthly premium.   And Where did the user-friendly Android go? I checked out the Android layout from Google before it even came out on a phone, but I have yet to find a phone that hasn’t “customized” most of the simple features making them many times more difficult to navigate.   My wife finally gave me hers to program and after searching through its labyrinthine menu structure, I finally just told her to return it.   The thing was absolutely ridiculous to configure, and I do that for a living!

Now, I do support a wide variety of smart phones and have since 2004 or so, so I’ve muddled through everything from the older Palms, the “Crackberries” HTC’s (shudder) Android phones, as well as Microsoft’s windows mobile phones and there is just nothing as stable and useful as the Apple iPhone 4 in the market today. The simple app structure and exceedingly friendly interface lets even the novice users (my wife being one of them) begin to enjoy the many perks that come with the phone in a matter of minutes. I use my iPhone for work, but my kids have loaded some 20 free games onto the phone that I keep stowed away within the “Kids Games” folders, keeping them out of the way when I’m using it.

Of course I play games on it: You just can’t help it. With the app store just a click away, and too many “free” games out there clamoring for attention, the phone has turned that mindless hour or so waiting in the doctor’s office into a couple frantic Angry Birds levels.   I also picked up a few learning games and flashcard apps for the kids too. It’s amazing what kinds of studying & learning (two very bad word for a 7-year old) you can get them to do when it’s all tucked into a neat little gadget that beeps, whistles and makes the little animal dance when you get a right answer.

And as for work? My job often has me running from place to place, consulting with this department or that, shuffling between meetings and projects and Software deployments, and even working from home on occasion. The calendar pop-ups warn me about upcoming events directly from my Exchange email server, text messages hit me when system alerts kick off, telling me what system has gone down just in time for me to do something about it.  I can even pull up any of my contacts and call or email them at will, or remote into any of my servers at moment’s notice.   Of course, the tiny screen on the phone makes this a real challenge, but when I’m out of touch in every other way and miles from the nearest computer, that tiny window gives me the chance to troubleshoot a server and take effective action from anywhere I happen to be, even if it is floating down the Boise river on a warm Saturday afternoon.

Everything I need to keep me plugged in 24/7 is right at my fingertips.   I even have an app that allows me to change a user’s network account password without requiring a computer.

Okay, so my butt is now firmly planted on the Apple cart for now.   It has to be; there really isn’t anything else on the market as easy and simple to use while being useful enough for everyone who needs to use it.   At work we have over 200 iPhones (3 and 4) and there just isn’t anything out there that gives as wide an array of useful features with the least amount of user angst.   I think a lot of it has to do with the iron grip Apple keeps on application development.   You may get some poorly written apps at the iTunes store, but you can bet that none of them are going to insert viruses into your phone or sell your secrets, other phone brands haven’t been as fortunate.   The application stores for the other brands (except for the Blackberry, which has it’s own challenges) have their apps sold all over the internet with little or no controls in place regarding quality or legitimacy.   I like my Phone Operating system very tightly controlled, thank you very much.   It gives me peace of mind not having to have that concern to deal with.

My one disappointment though, is the ever-frustrating ball and chain that is iTunes.   Why Apple insisted on lashing their iPhone to a program that was so kludgy and tiresome, I’ll never know.   I hear in the techie outlets that this too may change in the next version of their iOS software.   Let’s hope so. Their phone is fantastic, but iTunes is not very friendly with the rest of your computer, especially if you are running anything other than a Mac.   My last gripe is one that is a never-ending calling card of the Apple brand; you just can’t get a free flowing exchange of information from the iPhone with anything else that is not specifically licensed and specially designed for Apple devices.   There’s no letting go of their iron grip on the dataflow from this phone, but that’s the Apple we’ve grown up with, isn’t it?   I suppose we should take the good with the bad and call it a day.   Especially since no other knight in shining armor has shown up yet to take it head-on…

Just my view from the cheap seats!

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