Or just a costly catch?
PEOPLE HAVE CALLED the iPhone the “Jesus phone” – with an appropriate amount of sarcasm. That came about because Apple fanatics in the United States and elsewhere were treating the launch of the iPhone as if it were the second coming of the Messiah. After a year and a few months South Africans can finally buy the much-hyped device. But does it merit the hype and is it worth a visit to your local store?
The basic premise of the iPhone is that it’s the easiest phone to use. At its current level it does fulfil all its promises. Making a call and sending SMSs are easier than on any other phone I’ve ever used. Its touch screen is easy to use and even typing on the onscreen keyboard is quick and accurate – once you get used to it.
If I had to choose one feature that makes it stand out in day-to-day use it would be the way it handles SMSs. Instead of simply ordering them chronologically the iPhone lists them by the person they were sent from (or to). Once you tap the name of the person every SMS they’ve sent you – or you have sent them – is listed in little bubbles down the screen. That eliminates the often time-consuming task of fiddling around in the sent items folder or trying to find that SMS that Joe sent to you three weeks ago. Everything is there in an easy to browse format.
The iPhone’s email client and web browser are the best I’ve seen on any mobile device, bar none. Setting up a Gmail account is really as simple as typing in your user name and password and waiting for the mails to flow in.
Those are just some examples of how the developers at Apple have taken a good hard look at what works and what doesn’t work on a phone and fixed a lot of the stuff that doesn’t work.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that in building the easiest phone to use, they also left out a whole lot of stuff. So you can’t send MMSs. If you want to send a photo to someone you have to email it. The camera is only 2 megapixels and has no flash, so its functionality is limited. It also can’t shoot video. You can’t sync it to your computer via Bluetooth. On the iPhone Bluetooth is intended to connect a wireless headset. Battery life isn’t the greatest and if you’re planning on using it to send and receive emails and surf the web, you should be prepared to recharge it every night. Those negatives are simply things that can be worked around and from my (admittedly biased) opinion aren’t reasons to not buy an iPhone. Its simplicity and ease of use outweigh any criticisms of the device. However, there is a downside: price. I’m not going to dwell on the actual amount you’re expected to pay – between R1 799 and R3 299 (R6 389 or R7 569 if you’re paying cash) depending on the model of phone and the contract chosen. Save to say the real problem with price is the amount of data that Vodacom is bundling with the contracts. With what’s offered in those countries.
The problem is that for those who actually want to use all its features that allocation is simply not enough. I’ve had an iPhone to assess for just over a week and will admit to surfing the web quite a bit, not using WiFi as much as I should and watching a few YouTube videos and routing my personal mail account through the device. That means I’ve already used 170MB of the 250MB allocated.
In my opinion I’ve been using the device for what it was intended. You don’t see ads on TV saying: “Get your email, surf the web, watch YouTube… just not too much”. So there’s a costly catch. On the one hand the iPhone is the ultimate mobile data device designed to provide on-the-go access to all your information. However, by limiting the use to 250MB (after which you pay R1,50/ MB) Vodacom is setting up its clients for a big bill each month-end.
Therefore I find it hard to wholeheartedly recommend those packages (even though the phone itself is brilliant). Recommendation: Vodacom needs to double its
You don’t see ads on TV saying: “Get your email, surf the
web, watch YouTube… just not too much”.