You Got an iPhone For Christmas: Five Next Steps
So hey, Christmas day came, and aside from all the family sharing, Christmas music and excessive food, Santa managed to stop by and drop an iPhone under your tree! If this is your second or third iPhone, you’ll feel right at home with it, but if it’s your first iBaby ever, we thought you might want some tips on what to do with it after you’ve pulled the wrappings and charged it for action.
First of all, congratulations! One thing you’ll notice about adopting Apple products, is that people around you will either want it, or hate it. Those who hate it have most likely never owned one and simply base their thoughts off other people’s opinion in iHating blogs, which are ironically filled with other people who’ve never owned one too. Those who want it or love it end up sticking with it. Apple products are always more expensive, and you most probably would’ve gotten more from your money with competing products, but the build quality and thoughtfulness behind the whole Apple ecosystem makes you later understand why their products are such a hit. One thing that makes most of us Apple owners a like, is that we chose to have an iPhone. Owning something that’s usually more expensive, is rarely the result of compromise between one device or the other.
Step One – Get Started
So anyways, I know it only spent seconds in the box before you caught your breath, pulled it out, and you’ve most likely charged it completely over night. The first thing you’ll need is to download iTunes and activate your device after some simple steps, if you didn’t already get that done in an Apple store. Sadly the iPhone requires you to connect it to a Mac or PC for it to start working. Be very careful as to what computer you choose to do this with, since the device will pair up with it completely. If you don’t own a computer, have a family computer, or use a friend’s computer, my advice is that you create a separate user for yourself so that things stay the way you want them to every time you sync. The computer will become the device’s hub and almost everything will have to go through it before it reaches your iPhone, so you won’t be able to just connect it to your buddy’s PC to add more songs to it. If you’ve never used iTunes before, I’d recommend you browse through these videos to get you started.
Once you set it up, open an iTunes account which you’ll need to download apps, music, videos, movies, iBooks and just about everything that smells Apple and has to do with your device. If you don’t live in the United States, you may still open an iTunes account, but you’ll notice that things like purchasing music are blocked to your country. You can’t change your country later without loosing your right to use the apps you downloaded in the foreign account, so be sure to choose this right. There are ways to create a US account even if you live outside the US, so if you’d like to use your account to purchase music, leave us a comment on this post, and I’ll prepare a future article to show you how to set it up.
Step Two – Know your way around
The iPhone has one of the simple’s user experiences you’ll ever see. It’s all based on apps, apps, and just apps. To make a phone call, you need to dive into the phone app. To send a text message, the messages app and so on. All the phone’s settings, and even third party app settings are all stacked up in the Settings app, so once you’ve gone around all these once, you’ll feel right at home coming back. The device has only one button to take you home from any app, so you can’t get lost once you’ve gotten the hang of the interface.
Apple does a really good job in both giving you a very simple experience over every one of its services, and also in offering a very extensive website where you can browse through all your iPhone’s features and capabilities.
Step Three – Make it yours
Personal information management is one of the thing’s the iPhone does best. You can start by adding your contacts and calendar directly to your device, or use sync services to help you get this done wirelessly. Apple offer’s MobileMe, which is their sync services for your PIM, but it also includes the added functionality of syncing photo galleries, giving you cloud storage through iDisk, and it also includes a “Find My iPhone” service, which is free if you got an iPhone 4, but will not work on an iPhone 3GS or before unless you purchase the service. It’ll sync your data with your Mac or PC also, you get a 60 day free trial, and will cost you $99 a year, or $145 for a family account of 4 users after that. Some people feel it’s over rated at that price range, but if you consider the fact that a Hosted Exchange account with less services cost the same or even more in some cases, then you’re really not getting a bad option. My thoughts are that for now, while still nothing as good is free, it’s a good option if you really need to sync. If you’d rather go the Hosted Exchange route, we’d recommend 4Smartphone.com to get it done. Keep in mind though that this won’t give you all the added functionality of iDisk and syncing photo galleries through MobileMe, but it’s still a good solution. You can sync Google accounts to your iPhone, but sadly it will only pull your Google Calendar and not Contacts for now as you can with Android, or with Windows Live on Windows Phone 7. Our advice is that if you plan to own more than one product that requires your data, which you already do with a Computer, or probably an iPad in the future, sync services really save you head aches. If you don’t, then save the money for something else and just have iTunes sync your PC’s or Mac’s Contacts and Calendar.
Once that’s set up, go to your iPhone’s settings and choose your favorite home and lock screen wall paper, set a password if you’d like, choose your favorite ring tones, etc. Connect it to iTunes to load your favorite music, and again, just keep on making it yours.
Step Four – An iPhone is all about apps
It’s ironic that Apple at first was reluctant to allow third party apps to work on the first generation iPhones. It took them a full year to change their minds, and once they did, they turned an iconic device, into the true Game Changer for the Smartphone industry. With hundreds of thousands of apps, and a really tight system to control their usability and quality, Apple has truly raised the bar into what apps should really be on a mobile device. To be honest with you, I’ve given my Children an iPod Touch and not a PSP or a Nintendo DS. Games on the iPhone are just as good, if not better, and cost you very little money. Apps on the iPhone are the cheapest of the whole Smartphone market, and are ironically the best in design quality, functionality, and user experience.
Once you’ve created your iTunes account, your device becomes a full blown store to purchase apps, music, videos, movies, books and more. On the apps ecosystem, just think of what you want, and there’s most probably an app for that. From office essentials, to productivity, to revolutionary apps like Word Lens, you’ll most probably find one.
We’d recommend you bookmark our AppStore Pick video filters to keep up with the app’s we review for you, or also visit this extensive list of apps that can get you going in no time, and for very little money.
Step Five – Go Beyond, you know, Jailbreak it!
Yeah there’s always an edge beyond reason, the fact that we know many of you want to go beyond what Apple considers is best for a user experience, and simply try some more creativity out of the minds of really talented developers who figure out how to hack the device and bring out its full potential. So yeah, on iPhones, hacking them is called Jailbreaking, and we’ve got articles 1, 2 and 3 that’ll help you choose if this is the right move for you.
Our word of advice is that if you’re still a beginner, enjoy everything until you get bored of it, and then leap towards a Jailbreak. If you’re experienced, then what are you waiting for?
The Bottom Line
Our name says it, we’re “pocket”now.com. We all began being Windows Mobile users in the past and have all evolved into other Smartphone platforms as they’ve matured. If you’re still having a hard time deciding to take the iLeap, I’d recommend you have a look at Brandon’s article on why the iPhone 4 became his daily driver. Surely one size doesn’t fit all, but we’ve found really compelling reasons to enjoy Apple’s concept of how a smartphone should be in most cases. Surely, no device is perfect, and the iPhone has seen the largest evolution in smartphone development we’ve seen yet, so do expect it to keep on changing. To keep up with these changes, I’d recommend you filter our iPhone section of our site, or also watch our weekly edition of the iReview for all things that are good and bad inside the world of Apple’s iOS devices.
Our best wishes to you this holiday season, and hit us up with a comment if you’d like us to go through more things you can do with your iPhone. We’d love to be of service!