Monday, July 28, 2008

iPhone 2.0 Brings More Than Just Push Email


The iPhone 3G has been on sale for over 2 weeks now and there are no sign of the lines at Apple stores getting any shorter, nor are the waits of four hours or more getting any better. With Apple's corporate office mandating a daily 8am opening to accommodate the unprecedented and more importantly unexpected demand for the 3G iPhone. Many stores have sold out over the course of the past couple weeks with replenishment coming in almost daily to restock. If you're one of those who chose to stick with you 1.0 iPhone (for now) and upgraded to 2.0, you not only saved yourself some dough and a ton of aggravation by not jumping on the bandwagon, but you actually get just about everything the masses that are braving the malls and spending the better part of a day waiting in line simply to get one of the most sought after tech devices in history.

With the 2.0 firmware update available to all iPhone 1.0 owners at no cost ($9.99 for iPod Touch owners), this update makes the 1.0 iPhone identical to functionality to the 3G iPhone. The only missing items are of course 3G, a built in GPS chip, and a black or white curved back (vs. stainless on the 1.0 iPhone). Other than that, once you upgrade your 1.0 iPhone to 2.0 firmware, your screen is identical to that of the 3G iPhone. By upgrading, you gain access to a myriad of features that makes your iPhone more than just a PDA and much more functional than with the version 1 firmware. Most important in this upgrade is access to the iTunes App store, which is stocked with over 500 installable applications (and growing daily) like games, utilities and programs that will let you be more productive on your iPhone. Many apps are free, other range from 99 cents, all the way to $49.99, with most common apps priced between $0.99-$9.99. Downloading apps is as easy as linking your iTunes account to your iPhone and clicking on the app you want to download directly on your iPhone from your desktop thru iTunes to later synch with your iPhone. It's that simple. A new icon appears on your desktop and all you have to do is click on it to launch it as you would any native iPhone app.

The other significant feature of 2.0 is Push/Exchange support. Push email, contacts, and calendar is a feature where those respective items are sent to your iPhone automatically over the air (WiFi, Edge or 3G) and automatically synchronizes with the server. Or from Apple's MobileMe service if you have subscribed to the service which provides the same functionality as a Microsoft Exchange service to iPhone owners. Watching push in action on an iPhone is a thing of beauty, to have what was once a exclusive Blackberry hallmark feature now running on an iPhone is simply a dream come true for many iPhone users. Contacts and calendar items edited on the iPhone simply are duplicated on the server almost instantly. Read an email on the iPhone, and it is marked as read when you look at it on your computer later. Email is pushed almost instantly to you iPhone--meaning that as soon as an email is received in your mailbox, MS Exchange instantly forwards it to your iPhone and alerts you. Manual timed interval fetching of email on the iPhone is so 2007.

There are several other features that the 2.0 firmware provides, but they are beyond the scope of this post. Suffice to say that if you are holding a 1.0 iPhone and have been on the fence about upgrading, its time to get down from that perch and run, don't walk to update your iPhone. You'll wonder why you waiting so long!

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