15 things you should do with your new iPhone 3G

The Feedster

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Jun 26, 2007
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1. Call somebody, tell them you've got a new iPhone

Hit the green phone icon to launch the iPhone's phone mode and tap the Keypad icon to dial a number. Say (perhaps somewhat smugly): "Hey, guess what, I'm calling you on my new iPhone..."

Unless your existing mobile phone contacts are duplicated in Outlook, Yahoo! Address Book or a Mac's Entourage/OS X Address Book, you'll have to painstakingly enter each contact number by hand. But at least that will allow you to ...

2. Get to grips with the virtual keyboard

You'll use the pop-up onscreen keyboard for writing emails, sending text messages, typing in contact information, notes and web URLs. It might feel fiddly to begin with, so type slowly to avoid making too many mistakes.

The iPhone will automatically add words to its dictionary as you use it and soon the predictive text function will anticipate the words that you're typing. Better still, the iPhone's dictionary will also auto-correct words if you've typed them incorrectly.

The iPhone software analyses the keys that you've pressed and, if the word makes no sense, it makes a best-guess at an alternative. So if you meant to type 'Tech' but your fat fingers hit 'Yexh' instead, the iPhone considers that the 'Y' is next to the 'T' on a QWERTY keyboard and the 'X' is next to the 'C'. It suggests 'Tech' as the correct word. At least it does on my iPhone.


3. 'Blue dot' yourself on Google Maps

Unlike the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G features integrated GPS technology. To test it out, run outside, hit the Maps icon and press the small blue 'locate me' button in the bottom-left corner.

The iPhone's GPS will triangulate your position and show your current location as a pulsating blue dot. Now run up the street and watch that little dot move! Cool huh?

4. Take a 2 Megapixel photo

Thanks to the GPS technology inside the new iPhone 3G, whenever you take a photo using the 2MP camera you can 'geo-tag' the image with your current location. Your excitement at this feature will only be tempered by the realisation that the iPhone's camera is, sadly, a bit rubbish.

5. Connect to Wi-Fi

While the new iPhone is capable of 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi is faster. To set up your iPhone to automatically connect to your wireless network, press the Settings icon and select the Wi-Fi option.

Any networks you register will be joined automatically whenever you're in range. O2 subscribers in the UK also have free access to over 9,000 Wi-Fi hotspots operated by The Cloud and BT OpenZone. Nice.

6. Set up your email

The iPhone can support multiple POP/IMAP accounts and features one-click setup routines for Yahoo! Mail, Google Mail, MobileMe and AOL. Sure, other phones offer mobile email but few do it so beautifully and easily as the iPhone.

You'll find the Mail option in the Settings menu. If you're still feeling smug, set your default email signature to 'Sent from my iPhone 3G'.


7. Buy a song on iTunes

You no longer need to use a PC or Mac to buy music from the iTunes store. Tap the purple iTunes button to launch the Wi-Fi Music Store.

Once you're a registered iTuner, whatever you buy on your iPhone will be automatically transferred to your computer when you sync. I just bought 'Sweet About Me' by Gabriella Cilmi.


8. Download Super Monkey Ball from the App Store

New to version 2.0 of the iPhone firmware is the App Store. This ice-blue icon gives you one-tap access to what is essentially an 'iTunes for software', a buffet table of new games, utilities, add-ons and tools designed specifically for the iPhone.

Download and play Super Monkey Ball, for example, and you'll use the iPhone's accelerometer to tilt the onscreen gameworld and move your orb-imprisoned monkey.


9. Go portrait. Go landscape.

The iPhone's accelerometer auto-detects the way that you're holding your iPhone. The best demonstration of this is when you're browsing the web. Fire up the Safari browser and load up the TechRadar home page - www.techradar.com. (Other websites are available...)

Now turn your iPhone 90-degrees to rotate the view from portrait to landscape mode. Note: if you rotate the iPhone 3G's Calculator app sideways it activates the new scientific version.


10. Change your iPhone's wallpaper

You can customise the iPhone's opening screen with any photo or image stored in the iPhone. Once you have an image of your wife / husband/ girlfriend / boyfriend / life partner / dog / cat / car / favourite football player / Playboy bunny / or a random piece of art, open it in the Photos application and click the bottom-left icon. This will give you three options - Use As Wallpaper, Email Photo or Assign to Contact.

11. Change your ringtone

Everybody seems to use the default 'Old Phone' ringtone. Why? Probably because it's the best of a bad bunch. Apple sells ringtones on the iTunes store. But a free option is to use the Audiko website - upload a song, snip out a catchy fragment and then download the .m4r file to your iPhone.

12. Add the best web apps

Up until the launch of the iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store, Apple wouldn't let developers install applications on the iPhone. So we had to make do with watered down, Internet-only web apps. But even with the arrival of the App Store, there are still some web apps worth having. You can browse through the selection on Apple's web apps page.

Check out the BBC iPlayer Buddy and the Facebook app.

And there's a useful selection of apps on TheMacBox website, including a UK train timetable and national cinema info.

13. Wiggle your icons

If you've been downloading native apps from the App Store and adding web apps, your iPhone's home screen could be getting a little crowded. Did you know that you can rearrange the icons and move them to different virtual pages?

Just press and hold any icon to activate 'wiggle' mode. Then simply drag and drop your wiggling icons to wherever you want to put them.

14. Multi-task (and impress your friends)

The rest of your iPhone's functionality isn't inaccessible when you're on a call. If you're using the hands-free headphones or have a call on speaker, press the Home button to minimise the call screen.

You can then access your Notes, E-mail, Google Maps and other applications while you talk. Just tap on the green bar at the top of the home screen to return to the call.


15. Convert some video

The iPhone is an incredible video player. So why not convert some video so you can watch it on the move? For PCs running Windows, try the Videora iPhone Converter. It's a free application that can transcode all manner of video files including DivX, Xvid, VOB and MPEG. Mac owners should take a look at iSquint or its more advanced version, VisualHub.

Finally, you'll find lots of useful tips and tricks for the iPhone by watching the Guided Tour on Apple's website. Especially useful if you can't be bothered to read the manual. Like me.