iPhone 3GS

Is there a self-help group for people who fear becoming “Apple Fanboys”?

I bought my iPhone 3GS secondhand almost a year ago. According to Wikipedia, the 16gb version was discontinued in mid 2010, so that makes it 3-4 years old now – maybe time for a replacement. I didn’t buy it with the intention of using it as my own smartphone: just for learning how to use it so that I could help my computer clients with their own iPhones. However, it took less than a weekend for me to be completely convinced that the iPhone was the phone for me. It’s been faultless for a year and can still support the latest operating system (updated to version 6.1.2 just this morning). I’d like to convince myself that it’s worth spending up to £699 to buy an iPhone 5, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason at all to do that. OK, I don’t have Siri, but I wouldn’t use that anyway and I’ve only seen one of my computer clients use it. The iPhone just works so well and so intuitively for so many different apps that I am content to accept its shortcomings. I don’t actually mind that there are very few configurable options. I’ve seen what a “configurable environment” in phoneland looks like by having an Android tablet and it is, in a word, messy. I do realise that the last few sentences encapsulate the difference between the Apple view of the world and the worldview shared by Microsoft and the Android systems – and that it seems as if I’m slipping over to the dark side. Oh dear.

iPhone - selecting text

A long press brings up the handles and the commands. Drag the handles and then issue the command

One thing I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with, as a “PC man”, is getting to grips with the cut/copy/paste function on the iPad and iPhone. It has recently dawned on me what the problem has been. On a PC, you first select the piece that you want to work with (by dragging the mouse over it), and then you tell the system what you want to do with it (eg cut or copy) . It works the other way on an iPhone or iPad. There, you start by issuing the command with a long press (to bring the select/select all option up) and THEN you select the content by dragging the handles to the start and endpoints, and THEN you issue the command.

I’ve found the copy/paste on the iPhone and iPad so much easier since that small fact sank in, that I’ve now found it’s worth using it to help in another situation – typing long text messages in that awful cramped space with that awful iPhone keyboard. What I do now is create the text message on my ipad or on a PC and send it to myself as an email. I open that email on the iPhone, select and copy the text, and then paste it into the tiny little text box in the text app. I no longer have to try and do very much on the little iPhone keyboard. This is much quicker and easier to do than to read about, but it’s only worth the effort for text messages longer than a sentence or so.

Also on the subject of the iphone keyboard (and, probably, other smartphone keyboards as well), I wonder if it took you as long as it took me to realise that typing is much easier if you tip the phone over into landscape mode. Duuh! My excuse for taking so long to realise this is that my previous three smartphones had been HTCs with “proper” inbuilt keyboards so I never gave the orientation a second thought. I miss having a proper keyboard on the iPhone, but I’m prepared to pay that price.

Woman touching iPhone to noseOne cold morning earlier this week I was on a number 35 bus heading for Clapham Junction. There was a rather elegantly-dressed young lady sitting close by with an iphone in her hand. She was wearing black leather gloves. Now, as we all know, the iPhone has a “capacitive screen” (see this earlier blog on capacitive screens). You can’t get the iPhone to recognise the touch of a gloved finger. Instead of taking her glove off, this young lady was operating her iPhone by tapping it with her nose! She looked quite good at it (if somewhat silly). If being skilled with one’s fingers makes one dexterous, does this make her “nastrous”?

© 2011-2014 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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