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Review

iPhone OS 2.0 review

Could last Friday have been any more massive for Apple? Following on the heels of slew of preparatory updates including OS X 10.5.4 and iTunes 7.7, the transition from .Mac to Mobile Me, and -- oh, yeah -- the highly anticipated launch of the iPhone 3G hardware (see Dieter's review), Apple also dropped a little something called the 2.0 firmware. Available pre-baked in the new iPhone 3G, Apple didn't spare the love for owners of the original iPhone 2G who receive it as well as a FREE downloadable upgrade, as do owners of the iPod Touch (minus the phone, camera, SMS, and GPS functionality, and the FREE part -- $10 please).

The 2.0 firmware was first demonstrated back at the Apple iPhone SDK Roadmap event in March 2008 and immediately went through a very long, very public beta process where almost anyone could sign up and download it. In spite of the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), during the 8 different betas released to developers, many new features that weren't originally demonstrated still leaked out all of the interwebs. But did all of them?

Read on to find out!

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iPhone 3G review

We'll be bringing your our iPhone 3G review in two parts.  Part one (the part you're reading now) is where we'll give you a full, in-depth review of the new iPhone 3G Hardware.  Here you'll find details on GPS, 3G speeds, the feel of the actual physical device, etc. If you're on the fence as to whether or not you should upgrade to the iPhone 3G, we're here to help and here's where we are, uh, helping.

Part two will focus on iPhone 2.0 software, where a lot of the real magic this week is happening and it's available on both versions of the iPhone.  That review is coming soon, for now, let's take a look at the iPhone 3G hardware with (much) more depth than we gave you in our iPhone 3G unboxing video and picture gallery

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Walkthrough: Exchange ActiveSync On Your iPhone 2.0

If MobileMe is Apple's "Exchange for the rest of us", then ActiveSync is Microsoft's "Exchange for the most of them". After Windows and Office, it's arguably the 3rd pillar of Microsoft's business domination. Blackberry's can (and almost de facto do) connect to them, Windows Mobiles certainly connect to them. Even the aging Palm OS Treo's have ActiveSync support. And with the 2.0 software, the iPhone does as well.

Caveat: Microsoft loves them some monopoly power and proprietary solutions (in this case, for example, using their own MAPI rather than the IMAP IDLE standard for "push" email). They may be becoming increasingly open in the face of Web-based competition, but their crown jewels are still closely guarded. So, while Outlook connects directly to Exchange for -- according to them -- the "richest experience", and Windows Mobile probably follows a close second, iPhone like other ActiveSync licensees connects via something called Outlook Web Access, the same way a web browser might.

How does this experience stack up in richness? Read on to find out!

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App Review: Remote for iTunes + Apple TV

Epic YES! Since the moment the original iPhone came out with its WiFi goodness, I've been begging asking for a way to use the iPhone to control the similarly connected iTunes, Front Row, and Apple TV. And now Apple has answered! (Er... except for Front Row, see below). And not only for the iPhone. While I'll use that term exclusively below, everything here also applies to the iPod Touch.

Remote is FREE, and available either via iTunes (picture above) or right from your iPhone 3G via the App Store. It's not hard to find, currently dominating the Top Free Apps charts. If you're not sure how to use App Store yet, check out Brian's excellent overview to get you started.

I chose to download directly from the iPhone so I could test out the 3G experience. It was fast. (However, when I later synced back with iTunes -- my first time post App download -- I was asked to re-authenticate my MacBook with the iTunes Store before it would sync the App for backup).

How did it work? Read on!

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Quick Review: iPhone 3G Dock

The iPhone 3G does not come with a dock, instead you need to buy it separately for $29.99. The bummer of it is that the dock that came with the 1st gen iPhone is incompatible with the 3G dock. The other bummer for some folks could possibly be that the 3G dock also doesn't work with the original iPhone either.

In any case -- it's a dock. It has the same outputs (USB and Audio) and the same basic shape as the original dock, although it is a bit nicer in spots. Namely: it doesn't wrap as far around the sides of the iPhone, so it has an overall cleaner look. The phone does sit a bit too vertically for my tastes, but that's a fairly subjective thing.

Still, for an extra 29 bucks there's more we'd like to see here. An included USB cable and AC adapter for two. An IR port so it might be able to support an Apple Remote for three.

So all in all: boo-urns on Apple for no longer including it and boo-urns for charging $29 for it, $19 would be much more appropriate. Gallery after the break!

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iPhone 3G White Hands-On -- Gallery and Video

Here we are - A gallery of the iPhone 3G in White and some comparisons to the original iPhone 2G. Short version: The iPhone 3G is a bit thicker, a smidge taller, and (most surprisingly) noticeably wider, it feels just as good in the hand because of the curved back. That wider part also means there's a slight border on the left and right of the screen -- but all in all the iPhone 3G is essentially the same slab as the original iPhone.

The plastic backing feels very solid -- it's very hard plastic and though it's not likely to be as scratch-resistant as the original metal, it's a damn sight tougher than most smartphone plastic we've seen. It is a fingerprint magnet back to front, even in white (though the white hides it better).

The headphone jack is flush (yay) and looks to be well-constructed. Unlike many a smarthphone we've used before, there's no jiggle whatsoever when you plug a headset in. Ok, we'll say it, the headset jack on Treos would often get busted because the soldier points would fail -- that doesn't look to be a concern here. Also great: Speaker quality and call quality are FAR SUPERIOR to the original iPhone.

We're going to have much much more throughout the day, including a full hardware review, a full review of the iPhone 2.0 OS, some app reviews, and a new chance for you to win stuff from TiPb. Keep on coming back all day, but for now check out our gallery and unboxing video after the break.

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Headset Review: The Jawbone 2 Bluetooth Headset

Just off of the reviewing the original Jawbone bluetooth headset comes its sequel: The Jawbone...2. This headset takes what made the original so great and takes it to the next level in terms of size. Does this headset live up to its older brother? Or will its smaller size make it less competitive? What makes this bluetooth headset so great its the noise canceling technology; it is truly remarkable. Let's start off with the basics though, shall we?

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Review: Smartphone Experts 2-in-1 Earphones w/ Handsfree for iPhone

The Smartphone Experts 2-in-1 Earphones w/ Handsfree for iPhone, available here for only $7.95 at your friendly neighborhood Phone different Store, prove that you don't have to pay big bucks for top drawer functionality.  These earphones just may be the ticket if you're on a budget.  Keep reading for my review!

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Review: Maximo iP-HS1 iMetal Headset

 

Not a fan of the stock headphones bundled with your iPhone?  Me neither.  Sadly, the quality of the headphones packaged with the iPhone and most other devices emitting sound are a fair representation of the profit-by-any-means-possible culture.  I think Apple figured they had such a hot product with the iPhone that they could bundle it with two cups connected by a string and it would still sell (and I suspect they're right!).

Fortunately, other enterprising companies have stepped up to the plate and given unto us some worthy replacements for the stock headphones: enter Maximo, the makers of the iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset for the iPhone, available at our Phone different store for $69.99.  Continue after the break for a full review!

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Review: WebSearch, Native App-a-Week

Safari on the iPhone is the best mobile internet experience in today’s market bar none. It is as much intuitive as it is pretty which makes for a superb user interface and browsing experience. But one complaint I had with Safari was the lack of quick search tools. If you ever used Sogudi or Saft on the desktop Safari, you know that it makes Safari an even more powerful web browser.

WebSearch on the iPhone comes from a similar mold. Because in Safari the default search engine is Google (you can also switch to Yahoo! in the settings) it kind of limits the specific searches you might need. Especially considering the slow pace of EDGE, quick searches in the wild can often be cumbersome. Well with WebSearch you are allowed quick easy access to the searches you want. How does it perform?

Read on for the rest of the review! (and remember you'll need a jailbroken iPhone!)

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