All Geek to Me

January 24, 2008

iPhone Review Part 4 (iPhone as a PDA)

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 7:07 pm

I don’t often admit that I am wrong. There are three possible reasons for this; either I am rarely wrong, I am too stubborn to admit my errors, or I have a very selective memory. I would like to think that it is the first reason, but suspect that it is one of the others. This post will be an exception. I admit to being wrong. I have on several occasions stated that single purpose devices were the way forward; the conflicting needs of a phone, PDA, and mp3 player meant that it was not possible to create one device that performed all three functions. The iPhone has changed my mind. It is a single device that does all three functions.

In this fourth part of my on going review of the iPhone, I shall look at it the weakest of its four functions (The fourth function is as an Internet Access Device, which I will cover in a future post). I have had a PDA since the first Palm models. I view the chief purpose of a PDA is to have my contacts, calenders, tasks, and miscellaneous information to hand and synced with my PC. The syncing is important as I manage my calendar and contacts from Outlook and do want to maintain the data separately. I also like to have my contacts safely backed up.

The iPhone syncs with Outlook via iTunes. Fortunately, my company allows installing software. The iPhone does a good job with syncing the calendar. It understands recurring appointments, alarms, and offers several views over appointment data. The contact process is ok, but I wish it would sync the category of contacts, but at least it is not disturb the existing categories in Outlook.

The downside is that the notes that you write on the iPhone are not synced, so there is no backup and no way to write notes in Outlook and have them on the iPhone. This is not a major drawback for me as I do not often use this functionality.

The more serious drawback is the lack of a Task Manager. I use tasks in Outlook and on my Palm extensively to manage projects and keep track of individual elements. It would be helpful to have this data when I am away from my desk.

Since the iPhone does not currently allow installing third party software, there is no password manager. The most useful non-standard software for my Palm is Splash-Id. There is a clever workaround available, but it requires a mac and my game playing habits prevent me from drinking the final gulp of Steve Jobs’ Kool-Aid and switching.

As a PDA, the iPhone gets a passing grade of C.



  1. Get a Mac and a copy of VMware Fusion. Or use Boot Manager in Leopard and dual-boot to Windoze.

    Comment by @mmonyte — January 25, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

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