Update: I bought an iPhone, and I've successfully switched from the Treo. More posts to follow.
Like many users of the Treo, I'm considering switching to the iPhone, but I have a few reservations. Following the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology, I've become used to rapidly creating lists and tasks. I'm concerned that the iPhone, with its touch screen keyboard and inability to cut and paste text, is not well-suited for word processing, business, and productivity applications -- but I'd like to be proved wrong.
This post is an updated compendium of opinions and impressions of iPhone users. It's designed to help people, like myself, who are considering switching from the Treo to the iPhone.
(Suggestions for links and reviews would be appreciated. Please post them in the comments section. Thank you.)
In Favor of the iPhone Keyboard
Apple's iPhone Keyboard Movie
The iPhone’s most controversial feature, the omission of a physical keyboard in favor of a virtual keyboard on the screen, turned out in our tests to be a nonissue, despite our deep initial skepticism.
Both of us were skeptical about the lack of a conventional keyboard, but so far, it's awesome. Sean's tapping out a bunch of Twitters and emails, single-fingeredly, and sailing through. iPhone does a remarkable job of sniffing out what you meant to type if you goof a little -- more so than any other mobile interface I've used. It'll take some getting used to, and it's not the same as a conventional keyboard. But it does not suck at all.
Against the iPhone Keyboard
“Apple says, ‘We’re not selling to the person who lives on his BlackBerry, we’re selling to the person who listens to music and surfs the Web,’ ” he said.
As much as I think that the glass-topped software-powered keyboard on the iPhone looks cool, I keep coming back the one thing that’s important about a keyboard to me - usability.
Steve Jobs boasted that he’s pretty good at two-thumb typing, and several others at Apple claim that they are just as proficient as a Blackberry power user. So far, I’m nowhere close. It took me a couple of days to get used to hitting the right keys using a single finger.
Second, the instructional leaflet encourages you to “trust” the keyboard (or, as a product manager jokingly put it, to “use the Force”). It sounds like new-age baloney, but it works; once you stop stressing about each individual letter and just plow ahead, speed and accuracy pick up considerably. Even so, text entry is not the iPhone’s strong suit. The BlackBerry won’t be going away anytime soon.
Do memos in the iPhone’s Notes program show up on the computer? No.
Without cursor keys, how do I edit something I’ve written? If you hold your fingertip against the glass, a magnifying loupe appears around it. You can now slide you finger through what you’ve written, moving the insertion point as you go.
The weakest app on the iPhone. Cosmetically, it’s a train wreck. The entire iPhone UI is set in one typeface – Helvetica – and it’s gorgeous. But Notes, in a lame attempt to be “friendly”, displays a UI that looks like a pad of yellow legal paper, and uses the handwriting-esque Marker Felt as the font for note text. This is not adjustable. Marker Felt is silly, ugly, and worst of all, hard to read... Both problems with Notes seem to me an indication that it was designed under the assumption that iPhone would debut alongside Leopard. Mac OS X Leopard includes a system-wide “notes” feature, exposed through Apple Mail, and as you can see in the screenshots, it looks a lot like iPhone Notes – Marker Felt text on a yellow legal pad background. Presumably, some sort of synching is coming eventually, at least with Leopard.
From Apple: Using its built-in calendar, iPhone lets you check your appointments with the flick of a finger. iPhone uses iTunes to sync with the calendar application you already use on your computer — iCal or Entourage on the Mac, or Outlook on a PC — just like it does with your contacts. If you don’t already use one of these applications to manage your appointments, now is a great time to start, so you’ll be ready to sync when your iPhone arrives. If you choose not to use a calendar program, that’s OK. You’ll be able to enter appointments directly into the iPhone calendar.
Does the iPhone synchronize with my computer’s calendar and address book? Yes. It can sync with Address Book or Microsoft Entourage on the Macintosh, Outlook, Outlook Express on Windows, or Yahoo’s address book on the Web. If you add appointments or phone numbers to the iPhone, they are added to your computer the next time you sync.
Tasks / To Do List
Do To Do items show up on the iPhone? No.
There's no mention of a Tasks / To Do list function in the iPhone manual. (If anyone knows of any third-party options, please comment.)
Presumably, the tasks function on the iPhone will be more complete once Leopard is released: Forget manually entering a new item to your to-do list every time an email hits your inbox. Simply highlight text in an email, then click the To-do icon to create a to-do from a message. Include a due date, set an alarm, or assign priorities. Every to-do you create includes a link to the original email or note, and to-dos automatically appear in iCal, complete with any edits or additions you make. And since to-dos are stored with your email, you can access them from Mail on any Mac.
@task for iPhone is a task and project manager for the iPhone.
Merlin Mann at 43 folders discusses task management on the iPhone.
Apple's Leopard, Mail Notes & iPhone for GTD?
GTD Apps for the iPhone?
Getting Things Done with an iPhone - total black belt productivity
There's a discussion about using GTD on the iPhone on the Davidco.com forum.
iPhone vs. Treo
10 Ways the iPhone might kick the crap out of my Treo*
Which one will it be? Apple's iPhone or Palm's Treo 755p
Palm Treo 680 vs. Apple iPhone
The 1G iPhone is an Apple product featuring the least ability to synch with a Mac, compared to third-party alternatives, in terms of basic PDA functionality. At the moment if I had to choose one of these devices, I’d go for the Palm 680—and keep my iPod. It’s the only solution that has all my “critical” features.
(More links to come.)
Last Updated 7/4/7