iPhone 3G Second Look

There are a couple of things I've noticed about the iPhone 3G that I didn't mention in my original post that I would like to cover. First off, the iPhone comes with what look at first glance like standard earbuds. I simply ignored them since they looked like the little white earbuds that I received with every other iPod I own.

These earbuds are different though. They include a little microphone 5 inches below the right earbud, harking back to the wired headsets that were popular before Bluetooth headsets became all the rage. You can use the them to listen to your music and it produces very serviceable sound. The best part though is when you use it for a phone call; the sound is loud, crystal clear and comes into both ears, something I rarely experience with a phone since I tend to use single ear headsets or just press the handset up to my ear.

The other cool feature is that the little microphone is also a switch that can be used while playing music. A single click pauses the current song and a double click advances to the next song on the playlist. If a call comes in while you are listening to music you can also click the microphone to answer the call.

About the only downside to the headphones are how to carry them. You can wrap them around the body of the iPhone but that renders the display unreadable. There are cases out there—like the Jam Jacket from DLO that I bought for my iPod Touch—that provide a nice little clip to wrap the headphone cord around. The downside to that is the iPhone can't be slipped easily into a pocket with it attached; far too bulky. "Is that an iPhone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

The alternative is to just pick up a Bluetooth headset of course, though I have yet to have found one that offers decent sound beyond the ability to listen to phone calls. If you have a good solution to this problem please let me know. As Ross Perot would said, I'm all ears. Assuming I'm not listening to my music that is.

Portable Pictures
One of the nicer features of the iPhone is the ability to sync it up to my iPhoto collection. From within iTunes I simply point it at iPhoto and tell it to grab my 20 most recent events (there are several options for controlling what comes over). iTunes optimizes the photos before shipping them off to the iPhone so they don't take up the same amount of space they do on your hard drive. Once there you can scroll through them or generate a slide show.

The camera that comes in the iPhone is 2MP and takes very, very basic photos. This is not a replacement for even a basic digital camera since there are no controls to handle things like white balance and there is no flash. If your subject is properly lit you can take a decent photo; outdoors in daylight the quality is fine but if there is any backlighting at all everything washes out. That means forget trying to take a picture of someone with a window at their back. A flash would help but again, this isn't a "leave the digital camera at home" kind of device.

It's more like a "I don't have my camera with me but this will do in a pinch" kind of device.

A Black Rubber Cover
I really don't like the idea of having a device as expensive as the iPhone subject to the abuse I would likely visit on it without at least a little protection. I picked up an Incipio dermaSHOT silicon case, which provides some insulation against scratches and inadvertant drops but adds little to the bulk of the iPhone. The case also comes with a clear surface protector that helps keep the main glass free of scratches. The dermaSHOT does attract a little bit of lint when placed inside of a pocket, making the iPhone look a little on the furry side, though it is easily brushed off.

I have one of those scratch protective coatings on my iPod Touch (Came with the DLO Jam Jacket) and it helps considerably. Not only does it protect against scratches it cuts down on the finger print factor too. I haven't seen any change in the sensitivity of the touch screen since applying it either.

If you are going to install one of those protective covers to the face of your iPhone make sure you wipe it down really, really well first and apply it in as dust-free environment as you can. Otherwise you'll get small bubbles under it.


Jeff said...

The ear buds with the microphone and the switch came with the original iPhone as well and they are handy.

I wish they fit my ears better, but the will do for now.

Reed said...

I hate to admit it, but I just unplug the head phones and leave them loose when I am not using them. I would welcome a better way, I'm tired of untying knots.

Anonymous said...

i keep my iPhone in my pocket with the earbuds plugged in, and have the earbuds hanging around my neck.

Anonymous said...

When walking, I keep my iPhone in my front left pocket. I connect the earbuds, and run the wires up underneath my shirt. I let the 'bud's hang over and out the top of my collar. This way, the cords can't catch on anything, and if I need to remove the Phone from my pocket, I can unplug the wire without it going anywhere.

Mike said...


You may want to consider dropping by a Radio Shack and for around 5 bucks, you can get the foam replacement covers for the earbuds. I have found that this helps in muffling out the background noise when you use the earbuds with the iphone to listen to music and to talk.

I use them and it makes a big difference. For flying I use a pair of noise canceling headphones to listen to music. In my case, I had to get the plug adapter since the 1st gen iphone has a recessed headset jack.

Mike V

David Alison said...

@Mike V: Thanks for the tip, I'll look around for some. I also have some Bose over the ear noise canceling headphones for aircraft travel; I just tried them and they worked.

Gunk said...

Take a look at the TuneTie from Belkin. I carry a set of the earbuds in the watch pocket of my jeans with this.

As for the protector, I've had a first-gen iPhone for over a year now and have carried it in a pocket by itself with no protection. The chrome band around the top is scratched a bit (and apparently gets more scratched by dust that gets inside a sleeve), but otherwise looks really good.

The screen won't scratch. I watched a Genius (at your Tyson's store no less) rake keys back and forth across a screen with no effect. At some point the screen will break, but it doesn't appear to scratch (after a wipe-down my screen looks like brand-new).

Eddy said...

Did you look at the invisibleSHIELD from Zagg? I'm trying to figure out the best way to carry and protect the iPhone as well. I did pick up a Griffin elan Clip at the Apple store but haven't used it yet...

David Alison said...

@Gunk: Great tip on the Belkin TuneTie; thanks.

I think it is possible to scratch up the surface of an iPhone though, assuming they use the same front material as the iPod Touch. My daughter's iPod Touch has some pretty decent scratches in it now though she is pretty rough on the device.

@Eddy: There are several different shield makers out there. I used the one from Incipio that came with my case. A buddy of mine has one (not sure the maker) that has a matte finish and doesn't show any finger prints at all. Please do post a comment if you find one you really like.

James Katt said...

I love my Contour Design Flick iPhone 3G case.
It is a very thin, minimalistic design, which does not add much to the thickness of the iPhone 3G.

It is fantastic.

Eytan said...

The new headphones with the 3G are actually different from the ones for the original iPhone — they are the 1st set of headphones Apple has made with a new type of rubber. They prevent them from getting tangled, and in addition, they are free of many of the pollutants that Greenpeace was unhappy about. I assume they will soon be making all their headphones out of this new material, but in the meantime I am excited to have a headphone cord that does not get in knots, and when it gets slightly tangled is much easier to smooth out.
BTW, welcome to iPhone land, and be careful - if you have a lot of apps on the phone, insrtallation over the app store on the phone may take a while. If you try to reboot or force quit or do much during this time, you WILL cause a restart whcih will require a restore of the phone.

Michael said...

I have watched my former housemate (a Mac Genius) attack the front of his 1st Gen iPhone with a pair of scissors.

I'd be pretty intrigued to know what your daughter did to scratch her's, because after what I witnessed I wouldn't bother with any protection.

David Alison said...

@Eytan: Thanks for the tip man, I appreciate it. I've been trying to keep an eye on the applications I really tryout, using them first on the Touch before putting them on the iPhone.

@Michael: She did something far worse than dragging scissors or keys across the surface; she placed it in the bag of stuff that 13 year old girls call a purse. There are three surface level scratches on her iPod Touch, each rounded and looking like something heavy was parked on it and ground in, possibly sand from the beach.

frederik said...

try this for the keeping track of the earbuds: