Some lingering iPhone questions I haven’t heard answered anywhere…

So I’m thinking about getting an iPhone, but a few potential dealstoppers keep coming up and I haven’t seen much info on it even though it’s coming out in less than two weeks. Maybe some of you readers can help.

  1. Is there an airplane mode where phone functionality is shut off? The one place I find myself watching tv/movies on my iPod is on planes. Given the simple interface, so far I haven’t seen or heard that there are preferences menus that’d let you easily shut off your wireless phone functionality and just use the device as an audio/video player inside aircraft where phones are prohibited. Most smartphone/PDAs have this option.
  2. My existing iPod dock on my computer and the car charger/adapter I already have will work fine, right? When it was first announced, I believe Jobs said the iPod connector on the bottom was standard, but I’ve heard about companies making iPhone adapters for cars and I’m sort of unclear if I just simply use my existing Belkin iPod charger in the car (which also has audio out that I wire into my car stereo). I hope it all works.
  3. The interfaces all look fantastic, but is the music player going to be something I can use by feel? Currently I use an iPod in my car and I place it on a mount right next to my steering wheel. I barely have to take a finger off the wheel to change songs and I barely have to glance at the iPod to do it, letting me keep my eyes on the road. Given the iPhone interface, will I be able to change songs by simply clicking on the right side of the screen? Or am I going to be required to use CoverFlow at 65mph?
  4. Has AT&T announced their data plans for it? I can’t believe it’s less than two weeks away and no one seems to know if it’ll be $40 a month or $50 or $60 or more for unlimited data and a few hundred monthly minutes. They really do seem to be rushing this to market if they’re not openly sharing the plan pricing in advance.
  5. I’ve heard that every AT&T Wireless store in the US should get about 20 phones to sell on the first day, but I’m still concerned about availability. How is the 4Gb/8Gb split going to be in their inventory? 50-50%? Is the 6pm launch really going to happen? Should I line up in the afternoon? Can I get all my credit check/plan forms filled out before 6pm so I can just have the phone and leave the store at 6:01PM?
  6. Is there going to be a “turn off CSS” option in Safari for the iPhone? Sideways scrolling blows and I’m not going to use safari much if I have to point and drag all over the screen to read anything. I actually like my Blackberry Pearl’s browser because it ignores CSS and displays text versions of sites that are easy to read and navigate quickly. (also, I hope there’s a Gmail app coming soon for the iPhone, I’m not even going to use the default email client)

Words to live by

I would suggest that all of you find your “accordion” — that thing that makes you try out life’s little detours — and use it to practice your own random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. The rewards are astonishing.

Joey DeVilla

Summer Reading

Obit is a great book I’ve been meaning to mention here. When I was at the news writer workshop last month, I learned that there’s a great tradition in obituary writing where journalists don’t simply summarize two lines about a death, viewings, and family left behind. Some actually go out and interview people and piece together a story of someone’s life.

Jim Sheeler has an interesting column in the Rocky Mountain News — he picks out regular people that have never appeared in the paper before and does an exhaustive story of their life. The book is simply a colleciton of his best. At times it can get kind of schmaltzy, but overall it’s more uplifting than it is depressing to read about the lives of 50 deceased people. You find out that even the most ordinary people can lead extraordinary lives.

I got to meet Jim at the workshop and I soon realized I’d read his stuff before. He did a highly acclaimed series on the military program that informs families that they lost their children in battle.