Technology A-Z
The Internet
Tech Hardware
Tech Software
Video Games
Protecting Your Children
Getting Help
The Online Mom Network

Learn about The Online Mom Network
Join The Online Mom Network
How Do I Become An Online Mom?

The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

The iPhone 3G

You’ve heard the hype but does it deliver?

By Bill Camarda

Apple’s good at plenty of things. Here’s one thing it’s amazingly good at: attracting buzz. From the Mac to the iPod, Apple’s products get attention. And few have ever gotten more attention than Apple’s iPhone. Just how good a smartphone is the iPhone? Should you get one? To help you decide, here’s a close inspection of Apple’s latest model: the iPhone 3G.
“3G”? What’s that about?

First of all, why “3G”? That means it runs on a “3rd Generation” wireless data network – AT&T’s, as it happens. Which means it can deliver a much faster Internet and data connection than the older iPhone could. Surfing the web, your iPhone 3G won’t be as fast as it is at home on your cable or fiber connection. But it will be fast enough.
What about the device itself? Well, when it comes to usability, elegance, and fun, the iPhone 3G pretty well lives up to the hype. Its gorgeous full-color touch screen is matched by an interface that’s simplicity itself: if you can press big, colorful buttons -- or drag your finger across the screen -- you can get at pretty much anything the iPhone 3G can do.
And it can do a lot. Apple’s goal is to replace all those other devices you’ve been carrying around, and they might just have succeeded.

A full-featured smartphone -- and much more
Obviously, the iPhone 3G starts out as a full-featured smartphone – and, as you’ve probably seen in Apple’s commercials, it switches seamlessly back and forth between operating as a phone and doing whatever else you want to do with it. One wonderful touch (pardon the pun): “visual voicemail.” With this feature, it’s child’s play to choose whose messages you want to hear, and skip to just the parts of those messages you care about.
Next, the iPhone is a full-featured iPod that works and syncs just like any other iPod, and will play anything a modern iPod can play: MP3 music you rip; podcasts you download; audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and anything else you can buy through Apple’s iTunes store. It’s most widely compared to the iPod Touch 2G, which actually costs more to buy. (The iPhone 3G is priced at a surprisingly low $199. Though, unlike your iPod, it requires a pricey service contract. We’ll get to that shortly.)

Finally, excellent Web browsing from a cellphone

After you sell your old iPod on eBay, you might be able to leave your laptop behind, too. The iPhone 3G – as we’ve already mentioned – provides a familiar, comfortable and surprisingly full-featured web browser: Apple’s Safari. If you’ve used Safari browser on either the Mac or Windows, you’ll find the iPhone’s browser even more familiar. The iPhone’s browser will easily import your Internet Explorer or Safari browser bookmarks/favorites (Firefox is a little trickier.)

Since the iPhone 3G uses a “real” browser, pages actually look like they’re supposed to look. (If you’ve used older cellphone web browsers, you know that wasn’t always the case.) Of course, you’ll have to do a lot more scrolling and zooming than you might be accustomed to, but hey, that’s the price you pay for a screen that’ll fit in your pocket!
The iPhone has solid email capabilities as well. You can set it up to receive all your email – Google Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, or mail from pretty much any other provider. If you’re using the iPhone in your business, the newest iPhone 3G can also receive email sent by the Microsoft Exchange servers many companies use nowadays. One big gap in the iPhone 3G’s email software: no anti-Spam protection. Your email provider might already be filtering out junk emails at their end; if so, no sweat. But, if not, you could find yourself receiving an awful lot of invitations to purchase pharmaceuticals from Nigeria, and so forth.

Text messaging, with a catch (or two)

Along with email, the iPhone provides built-in text messaging capabilities, but there’s a catch: no text messaging is included in the standard iPhone AT&T data usage plans. You can pay $5.00 per month for 200 text messages, or get unlimited text messaging for $20 per month. But, either way, that’s an additional unwelcome expense you need to know about upfront.
It’s also worth mentioning that while iPhone 3G’s email and text messaging applications are quite solid, and fun to work with, the iPhone 3G only provides an on-screen “virtual” keyboard. Most folks find this keyboard somewhat slower to work with than, say, a Blackberry with physical keys – though Apple does compensate with “autocomplete” and some other handy shortcuts.

Lots of new ways to spend your money

As you’d expect from a smartphone, the iPhone 3G can manage your contacts and your calendar, too. In fact, a new Apple service called MobileMe is designed to automatically and continually sync your home PCs and Macs with your iPhones -- keeping all of your contacts, calendars, emails, photos, and files up-to-date on all your devices, with no muss or fuss. MobileMe isn’t the only way to sync your personal content onto your iPhone, and if money’s an issue, you might prefer one of the free alternatives: after a two-month free trial, MobileMe costs $99 per year.
OK, we’ve been beating around the bush: what do the iPhone 3G’s service plans cost? Well, they’re not cheap. The cheapest plan – 450 voice minutes plus unlimited Web surfing and email – costs $69.99/month. With 900 voice minutes, you’ll pay $89.99/month; with 1,350 voice minutes, $109.99/month. And, again, that’s without any text messaging.
If you’ve still got any money left over, browse over to Apple’s innovative new AppStore, where you can buy inexpensive add-on applications to make your iPhone even more fun and useful. There’s an especially large collection of games here. But you won’t just find games here. For example, download Loopt, and you can keep track of where your friends are located and what they’re doing, via detailed, interactive maps. Or get Quickoffice, which lets you view email attachments, something your iPhone 3G (surprisingly) can’t do on its own.

Oh, and yes: it does work

Before we finish: a word about the iPhone 3G’s reliability. When it was first introduced, users reported all kinds of problems: everything from dropped calls to poor battery life to slow iTunes backups. Many of these issues were traced to the iPhone 3G’s software, which was rushed to market without adequate testing. Since then, Apple’s updated its software to version 2.1, which works a whole lot more reliably. So, for most folks, software problems should no longer be an issue.
Service coverage might be a different matter. In the U.S., as we’ve mentioned, the iPhone relies on the AT&T network, which is less than ubiquitous. Some users just can’t get reception; others get weak or sporadic reception and slower data rates. Check with someone who’s using AT&T’s service in your area. Make sure the service is OK in your neck of the woods before you buy your iPhone, not afterwards!

Bill Camarda has been writing about technology for families, kids, and others for 25 years, starting as an editor for Scholastic's Family Computing Magazine. His 18 computer books include Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies and The Cheapskate's Guide to Bargain Computing. He lives in Ramsey, NJ with his wife and 14-year old son.

Permalink | Print | Email

Share this article!
Partner with Online Mom Media
Online Mom Media specializes in building powerful communities of influencers! [read on]
Special Twitter Event
Join @theonlinemom this Thursday at 9pm ET as we introduce Thrively, a fun and interactive family web site! #Thrively
[read on]
Join the BUZZ!
Join @theonlinemom and friends this Friday at 12 noon PT as we look at Simplifying Mobile Tech. Great prizes! #VZWBuzz [read on]
The Online Mom Blog
Connecting Your Mobile Lifestyle
[read on]
Cómo encontrar en línea las mejores ofertas
Visite La Online Mom en Español! [read on]
Stacey Ross on The Online Mom
Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross!
[read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision? [read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain!
[read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep [read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail!
[read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations [read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help!
[read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help [read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts!
[read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy! [read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority!
[read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant! [read on]
Tweens and Facebook:
Do you think children under the age of 13 should be allowed on Facebook?

Not Sure

© 2011 the online mom, all rights reserved | site map ABOUT     MEET THE TEAM     CONTACT US     ADVERTISE     PRESS     PRIVACY     LEGAL
As you may have guessed, it is made of titanium and some stainless steel¡ªthe case is titanium and the rolex replica sale is stainless steel. The dial is brown, the watch hands are silver-toned, and there is a date window at the four o¡¯clock position. The sapphire case protects the breitling replica sale from water damage up to 30 meters. Synergy means cooperative action. This replica watches uk combines the best of the old and the new to deliver something uniquely modern. All of the classic elements are there. It has the sleek and stylish dial of the replica watches uk, the concave dot at the 12 o¡¯clock hour, and the Swiss quartz movement. But the Sapphire Synergy has something few breitling replica sale offer, a rubber wristband. Why rubber? Well, it¡¯s not a sport rolex replica sale, so using it outdoors is out of the question. But the informal band gives it a more casual look and feel, which can be quite appealing to the modern male.