The Ultimate iPhone Decision Tool

The iPhone – You Know You Want One…Or Do You?

The iPhone launched just over a week ago, and the dust is starting to settle. This article will present a look behind the hype curtain to help you make a decision about whether or not to buy an iPhone. This guide will give you the features that the iPhone has and the ones it is missing.

iPhone: What It’s Got and What It’s Not!
Below are the main menu items from the iPhone detailing what is useful and what is missing.


  • AT&T is the carrier. You can check AT&T’s coverage level is in your area. In my area it is good and better than Verizon which I was pleasantly surprised about.
  • Sound clarity is excellent.
  • The headphones that come with the phone are excellent too. They have a little toggle switch on the mic that allows you to switch between calls and music.
  • The phone has bluetooth for a use with a wireless headset which I haven’t tried.
  • Visual Voicemail allow you to see a list of all your recent voicemails. You can go to anyone by just tapping on it. It works very nicely.
  • Add Call feature is handy because it is so easy to use.
  • Cost is not bad. Basic package is $59.99 for 450 monthly rollover minutes, 5000 weekend/night minutes, unlimited web data, and 200 text messages.


  • Not available with other wireless phone carriers, and this will hold true for at least the next 2 years.
  • $36 non-refundable activation fee.
  • You can return your iPhone to the original point of purchase within 14 days for a full refund, but there is a 10% restocking fee if the box has been opened.
  • Not Cheap: $499 for 4GB version and $599 for 8GB version.


  • Automatically add Yahoo, Gmail, .mac, AOL mail. You can add other email too such as Earthlink, that falls into either IMAP, POP, or Exhange categories.
  • Push email. Email is delivered to your iPhone at your chosen frequency.
  • Email viewing: very easy to read.


  • Can only delete one email at a time. If you get a lot of junk email this is a pain.
  • No corporate email.


  • WiFi and EDGE network. WiFi is fast. You can view almost any web page.
  • Safari browser. You can view full web pages which you can zoom in on by “pinching” the screen with two fingers and move around with one finger. Works very well.
  • Bookmarks sync with those on your computer (for windows, only I.E., not Firefox)


  • EDGE is not fast, however in my opinion it’s not as bad as has been reported. I used web via wireless connection before, and it seems about the same speed as Verizon.
  • Some websites can’t be viewed on Safari, either they don’t format well or can’t view them at all. This doesn’t happen that often.


  • All the iPod functionality including music videos.
  • New Album browsing functionality. While listening to a playlist you can turn the iPhone horizontally and see the album. Tap on the album and you can see all the other songs from that album that you have whether they are in the current playlist or not. From there you can jump to any song on that album.


  • There is no headphone that allows you to control your music from the headset say when you’re exercising.
  • If you have a lot of music you will need to pick and choose playlists as the memory fills up fast!


  • Text messages.
  • Display is easy to read and use


  • Can’t include photos. Have to send via email. This stinks if you like to share photos with friends this way.


  • Syncs Calendar and Contacts with Outlook in Windows and iCal for Macs.
  • Easy to read display especially compared with Windows mobile.


Camera & Photos

  • 2 megapixel camera that works nicely.
  • Enlarging feature by “un-pinching” the image on the touch screen.
  • Move picture around with finger touch.
  • Scroll through album pictures with finger touch.
  • Can sync photos from your computer to the iPhone.
  • Can upload photos from iPhone to computer.


  • No Video capture! Bummer. Not sure if this functionality can be added with software upgrade or you’ll have to wait for next generation of iPhone.
  • Sending pictures via email can be a problem. If you have two email accounts set up and the first one is turned off, it won’t automatically use the second email account.
  • Emailing pictures: problem choosing from your contacts. It only shows the contact’s name. It doesn’t let you see the email addresses if the contact only has one email address.
  • Can only delete one photo at a time.

You Tube

  • Built in You Tube application. Works great.


  • Can’t upload videos, but the camera doesn’t take videos so this is not really a problem.


  • Unlimited(?) stock and mutual fund watch list.
  • Graph. Choose between 1d, 1w, 1m, 3m, 6m, 1y, 2y views.


  • No complaints, except that there are many things I’d rather have than this. (memo notes that sync, voice dial, voice memo, video camera


  • Can view by Map, Satellite, or for directions, by the list of driving steps.
  • Directions will take you step by step along your route with pictures and text. Very useful.
  • Visual Traffic reporting via color coding on the map. Nice feature.


  • No GPS functionality.


  • Can have multiple cities. Displays today and next 5 days of weather: high, low and picture of sun, clouds, etc. Can view in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
  • Quick link to Yahoo! for more information on that location including weather, events, city guide, and more.


  • No real complaints.


  • As many World Clocks as you want. Once set up, you can see them all in a list.
  • Alarm that you can choose the alarm sound from your ringtone list. Snooze feature available.
  • Stopwatch with multiple lap times.
  • Countdown Timer. Easy to set the time with scroll wheel for setting hours, minutes, seconds.


  • No complaints.


  • Basic


  • Can’t add other higher functionality calculators. Workaround:
  • Calculator bugs. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.


  • Cute notes. Yellow legal pad look. Comic Sans type font.
  • To share you must email it. No syncing. 


  • No Syncing with anything! Workaround: Use Plaxo to sync your notes (and tasks, contacts, and/or calendars) from Outlook, Yahoo and more to Plaxo’s online service. This is free and you’ll be able to see your memo notes. You won’t be able to sync them into iPhone notes.
  • No Clipboard, No Copy & Paste.


  • Virtual keyboard that shows up when input fields are tapped on. I think it’s fine, but this is a personal preference thing that you should try out at an Apple store or AT&T store if you think it will be a problem for you.


  • No actual keys on the keyboard.
  • No Stylus, but you don’t really need one.
  • No graffiti capabilities. Not really a problem, but it could be a nice option for those who don’t like the virtual keyboard.


  • 4GB or 8GB of memory.
  • Wallpaper: 19 built in choices, but you can use any of your own photos.
  • Airplane safe mode turns off unapproved features for use when in the air.


  • There is no general search feature for finding information on your whole iPhone database.
  • No memory expansion. 8GB is a lot for a phone, but not for a phone with music, photos, videos, email and more.
  • No Games. Workaround: several web based games that cater to iPhone: macmost, iPhoneAppsManager, iWhack, iGiki.
  • No Voice Dialing.
  • No Voice Memos.
  • No Switching of SIM cards.
  • No Clipboard, No Copy & Paste.
  • No GPS.
  • Battery Replacement will cost $86 plus 3 day turnaround. Will this be improved? I think so.
  • iTunes can eat some or all of your music when you upgrade to iTunes 7. Solution: if you still have your songs on your iPod, you can use iPod Access for recovering songs from your iPod back into iTunes. I used it and it works. Free trial. Purchase is $19.99.
  • No application add-ons. Workaround: keep an eye on iPhoneAppsManager for links to online iphone applications. You can bookmark this on your iPhone.
  • No sketching tool.
  • No internal back-up in the case that you are traveling without your computer.


Hopefully many of the features, accessories and capabilities it is missing will be added soon in the next firmware upgrade. There are some workarounds for games and applications via web based solutions, but what if coverage is low or out? It would be nice to have these right on your phone. Can video, voice memos, and voice dialing be added with a software upgrade? If you know, please share in  the comments below!

References and Other Information to Check Out

Engadget Article on iSwitchers and iReturners. There are multiple comments on this post regarding readers’ opinions on the iPhone.
iPhone Hacks. Blog on latest on iPhone.

Cool Web Sites for Your iPhone

Plaxo for syncing your notes and tasks to view online. (Can also sync calendar and contacts from multiple sources.)
Google Calendar – if you use this calendar instead of Outlook reminders will come to you via SMS text message.
Google Notebook – Can view, but can’t update.
Google Docs – Can view, but can’t update.
Zoho Suite mini – Can view, but can’t update.
Ta-Da Lists – free online To-Do list application.

Please Share!

What features do you like about the iPhone? Which features do you wish it had? What is your decision on the iPhone and how do you feel about it? Any regrets? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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