NY Times’ Pogue answers some great iPhone questions

David Pogue, who’s had an Apple iPhone for a couple of weeks now in preparation for his New York Times review (see related articles below), has answered an excellent of oft-asked iPhone questions in his NY Times blog.

The questions, with a few answers, include:

• Does the touch screen work if you’re wearing gloves? Will a stylus or pen tip work?
• Can I dial without looking? Can I dial one-handed?
• Can I use a SIM card from another phone? The iPhone comes with an installed SIM card, the tiny circuit board that stores your account information and phone number. Apple says that you should be able to replace it with any recent AT&T card, once you activate it at iTunes. No other company’s SIM card works in the iPhone.
• Will the iPhone work overseas?
• How about voice memos, voice dialing or call recording?
• Do I need an AT&T account?
• What iPod features does the iPhone have?
• What iPod features does it lack?
• Does the iPhone work with iPod accessories?
• Can you use your iTunes songs as ring tones? Can you download new ones?

• Does the iPhone work with Bluetooth computers, printers, stereo headsets or keyboards?
• Does the iPhone alert you when it detects a wireless Internet hot spot?
• Can the iPhone serve as a wireless modem for my laptop?
• Can the iPhone receive songs, files, calendar appointments, contacts or software updates wirelessly?

• Can you make phone calls while you’re on the Internet?
• Why didn’t Apple use AT&T’s faster 3G Internet network? Apple says that today’s relatively unpolished 3G (third generation) radio chips would drain the battery too fast — and at this point, wouldn’t provide enough of a speed boost to justify that trade-off. Apple will release a 3G iPhone model when the time seems right.
• How snappy is the real iPhone, compared with Apple’s ads?
• What kind of e-mail can it get?
• Is there instant messaging, like AIM or MSN Messenger?

• Does the iPhone synchronize bookmarks with your computer?
• What does the Web browser have?
• What does the Web browser lack?
• What about V.P.N. (virtual private networking)?
• Does the iPhone synchronize with my computer’s calendar and address book?
• Do To Do items show up on the iPhone? Do memos in the iPhone’s Notes program show up on the computer?
• Does the keyboard rotate when you rotate the iPhone? Only in the Web browser. That’s a shame, because the rotated keyboard, stretching the full length of the screen, is much bigger and easier to use than the narrow version.
• Can you type with two thumbs?
• Without cursor keys, how do I edit something I’ve written?
• Can the iPhone replace a BlackBerry?

• Is there an ambient light sensor?
• Does the camera have a flash? Zoom? Self-portrait mirror?
• Are there any secret features?

Pogue writes, “A note about the ‘Does it have…?’ questions. Apple has indicated that it intends to add features through free software updates, so the real, secret answer to some of the ‘no’ answers is actually, ‘Coming soon.'”

Full article with all of the answers here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Isabelle” for the heads up.]


  1. The iPhone is 2.5G for a couple of reasons. 1) Apple knew about the Broadcom/Qualcomm lawsuit and didn’t want to risk not being able to import the iPhone as others are now banned from importing their 3G cellphones. 2) AT&T can offer cheaper data plans for their EDGE network. It’s slower and chances are, people will not be able to browse the same amount of content. If users were on 3G they may clog up cell bandwidth much faster and their data usage would be much much heavier.

    iChat isn’t yet on the phone because one of the ways AT&T will make their money is on the monthly $20 plan for unlimited text messages. With iChat that goes away. The moment Apple has a camera on the face of the iPhone instead of the back AND the iPhone has 3G, I’d guess iChat is coming soon to an iPhone near you as it would allow true video chat. It’ll come, it’s just a matter of when.

    It’s been hard for me to be upset with virtually all things on the iPhone. However, I did find one that, as a business user, I was quite disappointed to hear. iPhone 1.0 will not have TV-out functionality. I use my video iPod to take into meetings, hook up to projectors and display my presentations. Very disappointing that I won’t be able to do that with the iPhone.

  2. – What iPod features does it lack? Games, lyrics, video output to a TV and disk mode (when the iPod acts as a hard drive for transporting computer files).

    – Can the iPhone receive songs, files, calendar appointments, contacts or software updates wirelessly? No, only from your computer through the U.S.B. charging cradle.

    – Is there instant messaging, like AIM or MSN Messenger? No.

    – What does it lack? Java, Flash, stored passwords, RSS, streaming audio or video

    boo hoo!

  3. Okay, okay. Let me get this straight.

    If I’m using the phone, I can’t use the Internet unless I’m using WiFi. Gee, sounds like the 1990s all over again.

    I’m not sure this is a show-stopper. On the one hand, I’m on the phone. Assuming I’m holding it up to my ear, I’m probably not going to be doing much browsing. On the other hand, what happens when I need to check something on the Internet while I’m talking? For example, helping someone get to where you are (with Google Maps). So I could see scenarios where I would want to do this.

    No flash on the camera? Okay…forget taking pictures at the nightclub with your iPhone.

    Apple’s rationale for the lack of 3G makes sense, but I’m not sure I agree with the trade-off. I’d rather have 3G and 5 hours of talk-time time. Of course, now we have the other obvious question: Is Apple’s “7 hours of Internet” using EDGE? Because, hey, let’s face it–at 40Kbps, it’ll take 7 hours to download MacDailyNews. 😀 If you use WiFi, do you get less hours?

    …and, of course, if you could have an extra battery, it wouldn’t be as big a deal…

    Nope. More and more, common sense is winning out over that desire for a new toy.

  4. Don’t be an idiot.

    It said “no flash” and you thought it meant no camera flash, so you can’t take pics in the nightclub??!! LOL

    People like you shouldn’t buy the iPhone anyway. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Oh, and name one phone that lets you surf and talk at the same time over cellular only. Thought so.

    Oh, and answer this: Do you carry two batteries with your current cell phone? And also: Do you own a 3G phone and do you surf the web with it? I bet you don’t. I own a 3G cell and surfing the web literally kills the battery, leaving you with 3 hours tops.

    Do some research before you spout off. And by the way, that famous 7-8 hours of battery life is using EDGE and Wi-Fi at the SAME TIME. Simply amazing for a cell phone. Besides, only a handful of phones even have Wi-Fi.


  5. re : If I’m using the phone, I can’t use the Internet unless I’m using WiFi. Gee, sounds like the 1990s all over again.


    If you havent got or can access a wifi network the YOU ARE LIVING IN THE 1990s!

    Wifi is almost everywhere these days – AND ITS FASTER THAN 3G!

  6. Wifi is everywhere and faster than 3G says Petey, maybe in USA with it’s below par mobile phone system says I.

    Over in in UK 3.5G phones and data-cards are a nice 3.6Mbps, for a fixed monthly price bandwidth is unlimited … and you can use it anywhere, not just where you have a hotspot. Also, works out _much_ cheaper than using public wifi spots which tend to be expensive, and the free ones slow.

    On the European mainland some MNOs have 7.2Mbps on their 3.5G systems. Now compare that to EDGE or GPRS and see why iPhone needs to be 3G (or even better 3.5G) before it’s launched outside USA and the third world.

  7. “Wifi is everywhere and faster than 3G says Petey, maybe in USA with it’s below par mobile phone system says I.”

    Well, you didn’t read the article, did you?

    The other reason it doesn’t use 3G is that it would kill the battery life. The iPhone already seems to have double the battery life of its competitors. God knows how they do that, but people are reportedly getting _better_ than what Apple claim. (Usually manufacturers over-claim.) It will get better over time. Right now better not to waste that, specially as Wifi is ubiquitous in the US and 3G is not. In time, when battery life improves and AT & T’s network improves, Apple will move to 3G.

    What the fuck have the UK and Europe to do with this? (You forgot Japan, by the way.) I’m in the UK, and I’m not interested in anything you have to say. Spurious arguments about what the iPhone might have done if were aimed at markets other than the ones it were aimed are mind-numbingly stupid. How would things be if they were not as they are? If the iPhone were on sale here and I wanted a phone right now then I’d sooner have one now, as it is, anyway, than something that would be faster over the provider’s network but pathetically third-rate in terms of general operation and user experience.

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