Tuesday Tech Tips: iPhone 4 Edition

Posted by: on Aug 30, 2010 | 4 Comments

Today’s Tuesday Tech Tips is a guest post from Travis Phillips. Seems that Travis knew I would not have time for a Tech Tips post since I am vacation and surprised me by sending along this guest post.  I hope you all find this post as entertaining as I did.

Okay, so I’m in the downtown Portland Apple store dodging the hipster throng so I can meet with a “Genius” to determine why my oh-so-cool-looking iPhone 4 no longer receives voice mail (which is not so cool).  I arrived early for my appointment, which turned out to be totally pointless … except that I now have time to jot down this little ditty.  That and watch the 3-year-old next to me having an ADD meltdown over an iPod Touch.  Or a seizure.  Could be either, but his mom’s absent and unconcerned gaze leads me to believe it’s the former.  But I digress.

So here’s the deal: I’m an Apple convert.  Yup, a convert.  I used to do the PC thing (and still do at work), and I tried a Blackberry for a while but before the porky Droid babies were even born, I made the iPhone switch.  Now, I’m not the brand of Apple convert that thinks Steve Jobs can do no wrong.  Clearly, that little iPhone 4 antenna snafu is evidence to the contrary.  And the fact that I’m in the Apple store waiting for support–but at least Apple has a store for support.  Try that at the Verizon store.  Or Sprint store.  Or AT&T store.  Did I mention that the voice mail issue is an AT&T issue?  And that the iPhone is only available on AT&T? Sigh.  Anyhow, I have a few other gripes–or, um, suggestions–as well.  Read on …

Perhaps you’ve noticed: all the cool kids are talking about the iPhone.  Well, Mike alternates between his iPhone and iPad.  And maybe Old Spice Guy, but that’s beside the point.  I’m talking about the iPhone.  Ooh, it is pretty (at least until the nerdy bumper goes on).  Sorry Droid.  And Blackberry: does the word “aesthetics” mean anything to you?  No?  Oh.  Obviously.

And the iPhone works.  Well, maybe not so much as a phone.  But who talks on a phone anymore anyhow?  I mean, it IS illegal in 8 states and DC.  Aside from that little hiccup, I’d argue that the iPhone has relatively few flaws compared to its competitors.  And it works right out of the box.  My last Blackberry came with instructions that I was supposed to charge it for, like, 18 hours or something before the first use.  Who’s really going to do that?

But the iPhone does have a few curious omissions.  Not the “oh, that will be on the NEXT one” kind of omissions.  More like the “why can’t I respond to a calendar invite–from a Mac” kind of omissions.  Or why can’t I add invitees to a calendar event or forward the event from my phone.  I mean, the iPhone will forward complete contact information via TEXT for goodness sakes, why not calendar entries?  It’s not an iCal limitation–I can do it on the Mac desktop.  Same thing for customizing fields for a contact–like adding anniversaries or birthdays.  You can make a calendar entry for it (just don’t try to send it to anyone), but view it with the contact?  Sorry.

And really, would it have been so hard to be able to customize function for the (few) buttons on the iPhone?  I’d love to be able to snap a photo by pressing the volume buttons or double-clicking the home button.  Or maybe using the volume buttons for zoom and double-clicking the home button to shoot.  Just somewhere besides the touch screen.  Hello?  Doesn’t anyone take blackmail–um, I mean candid–shots anymore?

The same customizing gripe goes for iPod functionality.  Picture this: you’re on the treadmill or mashed on the N-Judah or whatever and you’re really into the groove pumping through the headphones.  And then (insert needle-screeching-across-vinyl sound effects here) … how the #*!* did this song end up in here?!?  So you fumble for the click-slide-tap routine, but tap in the wrong spot because you were running or smooshed or whatever and in the process jacked up the volume and and turned your iPhone sideways into cover flow then went back to the home screen and … oh, nevermind.  Too late.  Right Said Fred is now indelibly stuck in your head and on permanent repeat.  Honestly, I’d much rather use the +/- keys for skip/repeat than for volume.  Once I’ve got the volume set, I’m done.  But the songs?  They keep a-changin’.

By the way, did you know that if you open Right Said Fred’s video in multiple browsers at the same time, it’s like they’re singing it in a round.  Talk about indelibly tattooed.  Ugh.

And with that note, I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled Tuesday Tech Tips with Mike.  Peace.

Dear Travis: Thanks so much for the guest post.  I don’t want to burst your gripe bubble about iPod controls but you ought to know that the Apple headset that comes with your iPhone 4 has the following built in controls:

Pause a song or video Press the center button once. Press again to resume playback.
Skip to the next song Press the center button twice quickly.
Return to previous song Press the center button three times quickly.
Fast-forward Press the center button twice quickly and hold.
Rewind Press the center button three-times quickly and hold.

You can find all the rest of the headset controls in the iOS4 manual. Thanks again for your guest post.


  1. Travis
    August 30, 2010

    Oh, sheesh. Technicalities …

    I mean, who knew the iPhone had a manual? (But thanks for the link.) Still, this doesn’t help me in the car when I’m listening through the aux jack. Next time I’ll have to come up with a snarky example of that too.

  2. Lars Henriksen
    August 31, 2010

    You can add invitees to events on the iPhone – I guess it just depends on the type of connection (Exchange works for me, but check if it’s using multiple calendars by choosing which calendar the event is added to).

    Thes rest of your points: Agree! And by the way, there was a photo app that could use the volume buttons but Apple removed it…

  3. Stefan
    May 6, 2011

    The fwd-ing of calendar entries from the device itself is still not resolved. I use Gmail and it does not allow for me to invite attendees. I am a BB convert myself, and where the iPhone is superior in every function and system, the Achilles heel is the interface and inter linking with outside cal.

    Aside from not being able to send invites, one can also not schedule free vs. busy time allocations.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated as I would love to shelve my berry and use one device for all.