This won’t be a surprise to anyone, but the first Chancellor’s Choice award, in the category of Smart Phones, goes to the Apple iPhone 3G.
I formerly used a Blackberry (and liked it), but was blown away by the iPhone. And since at least one of the future Chancellor’s Choice winners is an iPhone application, I can’t hardly give that without also honoring the platform that made it possible.
Here are the Top 10 Things I Love about My iPhone (and since Chancellor’s Choice awards go only to products that cost money, some of the free applications for iPhone are mentioned here):
- Easy sync with Outlook email and calendar. It’s just flawless. When a new meeting is added to my work calendar, it shows up on my iPhone calendar. And when I add an appointment on my iPhone, it syncs back to Outlook.
- Mail folder structure matches my Outlook folders. I can read and delete emails in batches when I’m on the go, and when I get back to my laptop, the ones I deleted from my iPhone aren’t in Outlook either.
- Built-in iPod is elegant. If I get a call while listening to music, the sound fades automatically while I answer and talk on the phone, then resumes (again with gradual volume increase) exactly where I was.
- Maps program and location services provide a usable GPS system. Garmin on a budget, without turn-by-turn audible directions. But I’ve used it to find my way in unfamiliar surroundings.
- The Facebook application. Great way to upload photos to Facebook from the built-in camera.
- Did I mention the camera? It’s not super-high resolution, but it’s decent. And it syncs nicely with iPhoto and connects with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or other applications.
- Did I mention the WordPress application? That’s really slick, too. Great to be able to do photo blog posts on the go.
- The Calculator app is excellent. When you hold the iPhone vertically it’s a standard four-function calculator. When you rotate to landscape mode, it becomes a scientific calculator with trigonometry functions. No need to remember SOHCAHTOA.
- You can do SMS texting while on a phone call when using the earbuds that come with your iPhone. Try that with a regular phone.
- Even though I often don’t use the 3G connection to save battery life, when I do turn it on the speed boost for applications that access the Web is impressive.
Unlike every other Chancellor’s Choice winner, the iPhone isn’t cheap. But I still believe it’s an excellent value, particularly since it provides a platform for lots of other innovations. The minimum price is $199 to $299, plus a two-year service contract with AT&T. I recommend the 16 GB version, because it only adds about $4 a month to the overall cost, but I’ve never wished I had less memory. But if the 8GB is all you can afford, go for it.