After finally getting my iPhone re-activated (thanks to the free WiFi at the Livingston, NJ public library), I spent much of yesterday examining the new features of iPhone 2.0 and happily downloading apps from the App Store.
The new iPhone OS is impressive, full of wonderfully polished touches and new features. One that I didn’t know was coming was the ability to take a screenshot (hat tip to Jason Snell): just press the Home and Power buttons simultaneously, and an image of the current screen is added to your Photo Roll, ready to email, sync or be sent to a web gallery — or added as wallpaper, if it’s not your phone and you’re in the mood for a prank.
The availability of iPhone applications makes my 1st Gen iPhone feel like a brand new device. I don’t think I was mentally prepared for the difference the additional functionality would make in how I regard the phone. There’s a subtle but profound shift in seeing the iPhone as an essentially closed ecosystem versus the boundless potential it has through third-party apps. The mind can’t help but think of new possibilities that no longer seem remote, but rather inevitable. It brought me back to the early days of the Palm PDA, when you could find an app for almost any function you could imagine. Thank goodness iTunes lets you manage which apps are synced to the phone — app management is sure to be the next “First World Problem” for iPhone owners.
Speaking of apps, the quality of applications available already ranges from incredible to appalling, and for that reason alone, I’m glad third-party apps weren’t available when the iPhone first launched. It was much better to build a baseline for expectations around quality, battery life and stability.
I’m fairly confident that the market will shake a lot of the crappy developers out of the space over the next few months, but right now, there’s a lot of chaff mixed in with the wheat, and a lot of developers who are not familiar enough with the Mac market. Lousy UIs, cheesey implementations and overpriced one-trick ponies abound, but are already getting hammered by bad reviews. Pricing, too, should stabilize, but there’s a lot of naivety on both the developer and user sides. It will be interesting to see what the market settles on as a “fair” price for most iPhone apps.
Some of my favorite apps so far:
- Cro-Mag Rally
- Twitterific (although it seems to crash my entire phone every fourth or fifth launch)
- French Phrase Book (other languages are available, too)
My battery life is certainly suffering, but it’s too early to tell if it’s the result of all the new apps, or the increased amount of time I’m using my phone because of them.
Oh, and if someone would create a WordPress admin app along the lines of TypePad, I’d really appreciate it.