Thoughts on iPhone 2.0 firmware

To add to the iPhone blog mayhem, I thought I'd write down some thoughts about my first week using iPhone's firmware v2.0. I'm using 2.0 on the original iPhone; I have driven by Apple and AT&T stores numerous times in futile attempts to procure a 3G model, but I'm simply unwilling to wait in line to get a phone. I did, however, get a chance to play with Kenny's phone while I was in Oregon, and it is indeed much faster in side-by-side tests when compared to my EDGE model (although Kenny complained about battery life on 3G and also said that subjectively, it didn't feel very fast). I've really enjoying the selection of applications in the app store. Although I had previously been using a jailbroken iPhone v1.x, the new (official) selection of apps is much better, except that I can no longer use any apps that are capable of running in the background. I miss Fring.

The new Maps application is great, and updates the iPhone's position on the map a couple times a minute. My iPhone doesn't have GPS, but in urban environments I've found wifi/cell-tower triangulation to be accurate to within half a block or tighter.

I'm syncing both contacts and calendar over MobileMe. Apple is getting in trouble now for having called the service "push," since it's really just forcing an updates periodically from Macs that are running MobileMe sync. The web app and iPhone are supposed to update immediately, but over-the-air MobileMe isn't working very well for me. As a test, I went to the web app and made two calendar changes. I created a new appointment at 1pm, and moved a prior appointment from 1pm to 2pm. On my Mac, iCal picked up the changes accurately (but not immediately). My iPhone bungled the updates pretty badly; it did not pickup the 1pm to 2pm appointment time change, and created three copies of the new 1pm appointment.

mobileme calendar on the left; iphone "pushed" sync on the right

I'm now afraid that my contacts and appointment are getting corrupted as MobileMe tries to synchronize data across all of my services.

I'm also noticing periodic iPhone freezing and slowness. Apps crash my phone at least a few times a day, usually resulting in a 5-10 second pause before the SpringBoard is restarted. Launching the SMS Text application takes a full 4-5 seconds, even with all of my SMS history cleared out. I'm not sure what the hell it is doing during that time, but it is really annoying.

I was in San Diego and Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, and AT&T coverage was so bad that I pretty much gave up on using my phone. I actually switched to using LAND LINES (the horror!) for the duration of my visit, which was a strange experience. The SF Bay Area seems to have better AT&T coverage, but I still get the pervasive "Call Failed" screen far too often -- at least once a day, it seems. In Southern California, I probably dropped more than 50% of calls. I miss Verizon's rock-solid coverage.

It may sound like I'm complaining, but I realize that all platforms have drawbacks. I'm still enjoying the old iPhone very much, and don't feel much pressure to upgrade (although, I probably will).