Doing Business on an iPhone

Late last year, I traded in my Treo for an iPhone. No, this decision wasn’t based solely on the fact that I could now use the iSudoku app any time I wanted… the iPhone truly adds business value…once you get used to some of the “quirks” and differences between it and its more “business experienced” brothers the Treo and the Blackberry.

I’ve found that I’m using my iPhone for a variety of things including scheduling appointments, making conference calls, social networking, checking the stock market, reviewing project statuses, following blogs and twitter, browsing the internet for the closest Starbucks to my location (this is pretty huge), and even updating our website.  I also send and receive a lot of emails and make a lot of calls.   Of course, most of these things I could never do with the old school Treo or Blackberry that I’d been using.   So…I don’t have anything really to compare them with, and the functionality and productivity they provide are pretty great.  However, the phone and email capabilities I can compare.

I’ve found that the iPhone provides a great browsing experience –  I can access and effectively view the sites I frequently use with few limitations.  Not only that, but the iPhone allows me to quickly and effortlessly review attachments sent in a variety of file types.  The quality of viewing Excel, Word, or PDF documents that are email attachments is spectacular and incredibly time saving.  I’ve also been impressed with the iPhone’s speed of synchronization with my desktop email.  As soon as I send or receive an email on my desk, it seems to be on the iPhone.  And when I delete an email on the iPhone, it seems to delete from my desktop almost instantaneously.

On the downside, the way the iPhone allows you to file emails in folders is problematic.   I have literally hundreds of folders in my Outlook, and I use them for filing client related emails, internally related emails, and virtually anything I get that I might need again in the future.  On my desktop, and on the Treo that I used to have, I could type the first letter of folders and quickly move an email into that folder within 2-3 quick keystrokes.  On the iPhone, not only are there no keystrokes for filing emails (you have to physically drag the email to a folder), but ALL of the folders appear when you go to do a move…sub-folder after sub-folder after sub-folder so I can spend literally 30 seconds scrolling through all my folders to find the one I want for filing.  In addition, if I press down a little too heavily while scrolling, the email gets filed somewhere unknown and I may never find that email again L   They’ve got to do something about this.

While the iPhone synchronizes with Outlook email, contacts, and calendar, it doesn’t seem to integrate with Outlook notes.  This is a hassle for me, because I like to use the notes feature liberally to jot down quick ideas and keep lists whether I’m on the road or in the office.  If they were integrated, then my lists would be synchronized.  As it is right now, I end up with two lists.

The battery life is also flawed if you keep all of the features activated on the phone.  If you’re using the 3G network, bluetooth, and a couple other features, the battery may last only a few hours.  I’ve gotten to the point where I keep chargers for it everywhere…car, home, office, clients, and a few portable chargers with me just in case.

Overall, I’m happy I made the switch.  The ability to read attachments is great.  The typing takes some getting used to, but it’s forced me to be more focused when I’m writing…which ultimately is a good thing.  I’m looking forward to future upgrades to the iPhone operating system that may address some of the things I don’t like, and I’m also looking forward to downloading the latest calorie counter…now that’s something that’s business critical!