What’s an iPhone?
How To Use iPhone : An iPhone is a smartphone – in other words, a mobile phone that doubles as a handheld computer, complete with web browsing, email, music playback and the ability to run applications, or “apps”. The device is produced by Apple, manufacturers of the iPod, iPad and Mac computers.
After years of speculation, and to great media fanfare, the iPhone was launched in the US and UK in 2007, with an updated version released each summer since.
How does it compare to other smartphones?
There are lots of smartphones on the market, many of which offer a similar feature list to that of the iPhone, including web browsing, email and downloadable apps. These iPhone competitors are made by of different companies, but most of them use the same underlying software – a system called Android, produced by online giant Google. Android phones vary a lot in terms of price and quality – and the degree to which the phone manufacturer customizes the software. Whether you choose an iPhone or Android phone is really down to personal preference. Interestingly, the rivalry between the two platforms and their users is beginning to mimic the rivalry between Mac and Windows PC users in the home computing space. For the full story, check out The Rough Guide to Android Phones and Tablets.
What’s an app?
App is short for application – a piece of software designed to fulfil a particular function. If you’re used to a PC, an app is basically the same as a program. On the iPhone an app might be anything from a game, a word processor or a retro-styled alarm clock through to a version of a popular website with extra features added specially for the iPhone.
There are hundreds of thousands of apps available to download from the App Store, some of which have been downloaded and installed on millions of iPhones.
How does the iPhone compare to the iPod?
The iPhone is an iPod, in addition to being a phone and an Internet device. It can do everything an iPod can do: play music, videos and podcasts, display album artwork using “Cover Flow”, and create playlists based on a single track using the “Genius” feature. The main advantage of a traditional iPod is storage space. At the time of writing, iPhones offer up to 64 gigabytes of space, while the largest iPod model has 160 gigabytes.
How does it compare to a computer for web browsing and email?
No pocket-sized Internet device can match a computer with a large screen, mouse and full-sized keyboard, but the iPhone comes about as close as you could hope. Web browsing, in particular, is very well handled, with a great interface for zooming in and out on sections of a webpage. However, when you’re out and about, you’ll find the access slow compared to a home broadband connection. (More on this later.)
Can it open and edit Word and Excel docs?
Out of the box, the iPhone can open, read and forward Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs sent by email or found online, but it doesn’t allow you to edit them. To do this, you’ll need to download a suitable app.
What’s iOS and OS X?
All computers have a so-called operating system – the underlying software that acts as a bridge between the hardware, the user and the apps. The standard operating system on PCs is Windows; on Marcs, it’s OS X.
The operating system on the iPhone – know as iOS – is based on OS X, though you woulds’t know it, because it’s slimmed down and specially designed to make the most of the phone’s small touch screen interface.
Is the onscreen keyboard easy to use?
Apple are very proud of the iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard and the accompanying error-correcting software that aims to minimize typos. In general, reviewers and owners alike have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly they’ve got used to it. Inevitably, however, its not to everyone’s taste. When using many applications you can rotate the iPhone through ninety degrees to use a bigger version of the keyboard in landscape mode.
Do I need a computer to use an ‘Phone?
No. Originally iPhones could only be activated with a Mac or PC but that isn’t true any more thanks to iCloud. However, a computer is still essential for some iPhone tasks. For example, if you want to copy a CD onto your iPhone, you’ll first need to copy it onto a computer with a CD drive. You can, however, download music and video files straight to the iPhone from the iTunes Store.
How does the phone connect to the computer?
The two can communicate via your home wireless network or using a USB cable.
iTunes is a piece of software produced by Apple for Macs and PCs. Its main function is as a tool for importing, downloading and managing audio and video – including creating playlists, importing CDs, subscribing to podcasts and buying music, film and TV shows from Apple. However, iTunes also functions as the hub for selectively moving content from your computer – such as music, video, podcasts and photos from your archive – across to your iPhone. iTunes can also be used for syncing contacts, calendars and other information with your computer – though these tasks can also be taken care of by iCloud.
iCloud is Apple’s service for synchronizing content and settings between multiple devices – including iPhones, iPads and computers. Launched in late 2011, iCloud allows you to ensure, for example, that when you add a phone number to your iPhone it will also appear in the Address Book on your Mac, or when you add new music to your iPad that it will also be available on your iPhone. iCloud is free to use, though you have to pay if you require more than five gigabytes of online storage space (not including items purchased from Apple, which are stored for free).
MobileMe was an Apple subscription service that provided a suite of online tools in return for an. annual fee – including various tools for iPhone users. However, the service was discontinued for new users in 2011, with the launch of iCloud. Existing MobileMe users will have access to some. services into 2012, before being fully transitioned to iCloud.
Does the iPhone contain a hard drive?
No. Like the iPod Touch’ and some recent Mac laptops, the iPhone stores its information on flash memory: tiny chips of the kind found in digital camera memory cards and thumb drives. These have a smaller capacity than hard drives, but on the other hand they’re less bulky, less power hungry and less likely to break if the device is dropped.
Does the screen scratch easily?
Though not invulnerable, recent iPhone models have screens that are surprisingly scratch resistant. Nonetheless, you might want to consider investing in an inexpensive screen-protecting film or some kind of wrap-around case to protect the screen when your phone is in a pocket or bag.
Does the iPhone present any security risks?
Not if you’re sensible. There’s a theoretical risk with any smartphone or computer that someone could “hack” it remotely and access any stored information. But the risk is extremely small – especially in the case of the iPhone which, by default, won’t allow Bluetooth access from laptops or other phones. The only real risk – as with any phone – is that someone could steal your iPhone and access your private data or make expensive long-distance calls on your account. If you’re worried about that possibility, the best defence is to password-protect your iPhone.
What’s the iPhone’s battery life like?
The iPhone has relatively good battery life compared to its competitors, but – as with all mobile phones and computers – the amount of time that the battery lasts depends entirely on what you’re doing with the iPhone at any one time.
Despite its respectable battery performance, the iPhone – like the iPod in previous years – has sometimes been criticized in the press and elsewhere for the fact that the battery gradually dies over time and can only be replaced by Apple for a substantial fee ($79/£55 at the time of writing). To be fair, however, all rechargeable batteries deteriorate over time and eventually die. The only difference with iPhones is that the replacements cost more than some other phones – and that you can’t fit them yourself (at least not in theory). The high cost can partly be explained by the nature of the battery. Few pocket devices offer hours of video playback or such large, bright screens. That type of performance is comparable to a laptop – and laptop batteries are even more expensive. As for sending the device back to Apple, this is irritating, for sure, but it also means that the iPhone can he properly sealed and that it’s free from the flimsy battery flaps that often get broken on other phones. Although Apple don’t recommend it, it’s possible to source bargain iPhone batteries on the Internet and fit them yourself, or pay someone else to do it. As for the longevity of the battery, expect to replace it after around two to four years, depending on how much you drain it each day. For more information about the battery.
Is it possible to type with one hand?
Yes, this is perfectly possible: your fingers hold the body of the device and your thumb can access the screen. However, typing is faster with two hands.
Will the touch screen work with gloves on?
No – unless you wear fingerless gloves or buy some special ones designed for use with an iPhone. There are many brands available, one example being dotsgloves.com. You could also consider a stylus; the pick of the bunch is the Pogo (tenonedesign.com/stylus). Or you could take your lead from Korean iPhone users, Who swear by a particular brand of snack sausage.
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