OK. That headline was unfair. It’s not that the iPhone 3G battery life is wonderful. It’s not. It’s diabolically bad. I’m lucky if survives a full day without a charge and that’s assuming I keep the GPS out-of-sight. But I am nonetheless happy about it. (A bit like my NLP teacher who would frequently ask ‘the meta-question’, e.g. “I feel unhappy” – “How do you feel about feeling unhappy?” “Oh, I’m pretty contented”… but I digress).
I like having one single constraint with my device of choice. The battery lasts a little longer than my MacBook Pro (but only a little), but it fits in my pocket, allows me to make and receive calls and I have a web experience pretty similar to an average ADSL connection (much like the speed of the web at my work). I don’t need to think about horrible charges for downloading data because all data is included in the subscription. I don’t need to wait for days to download my data. The screen is bright and detailed enough for me to read my Safari Books subscription in the train or while waiting for someone in the pub.
Compare this to my BlackBerry Pearl. Battery is better but only marginally. I can make and receive calls (but the Bluetooth actually pairs with fewer devices). Email works well, but although the network speed is the same as the iPhone, the browser is horrific. For most pages I want to read, it spends a few minutes trying to process the stylesheet. The screen is too small to read most attachments, and about the only webpage that is interesting and easy to read is at techmeme.com. Basically, it does email and it phones and that’s about it. Web browsing, battery and the screen in general means that I have three things to deal with, two of which are completely immutable.
With the iPhone, it’s just that one. So, I make sure I have a few chargers around the house, at work and in the car (USB chargers only of course) and what is left over is an almost perfect device. Instead of a phone that does email, I think of it more like a laptop that fits in my pocket and does phone calls.