iPhone Review: Media

These days many cell phones are integrating camera, music, and video into their experience, so is the iPhone anything special? The iPhone has by far the smoothest integration of media and phone features, compared to competitors.

This means that an SMS message can pop up onto the screen while you're watching a video, and an incoming call will pause your music and bring it back up again when you hang up. However not all media is fully integrated. For example, music will pause when you start to watch a YouTube video, but it will not resume when the video is finished.

It also has a much longer battery life, meaning you can actually make the iPhone your primary music and video player as well as your only cell phone.

 

iPod

For anyone familiar with Apple's iPod, there are no surprises with regards to the iPod feature on the iPhone. The interface is generally the same with one handy feature upgrade: Apple took full advantage of the iPhone's larger screen.

When browsing in the vertical list mode, more artists and titles are available on the screen, and navigation is accomplished by simple finger sweeping across the screen rather than by using the click wheel. To make things easier, the user can also browse their music and videos in the horizontal orientation, where individual albums are depicted in the Cover Flow mode, making it easy to pick out an album, and a track once the album has been chosen.

One thing the iPhone could use in the iPod feature, as well as in the Contacts feature, is a keyboards search feature to make finding something specific that much faster. However one nifty feature of the iPod is that when the iPhone is in sleep mode, the cover art and song information of the track you're listening to is readily available on the screen, as is the current time.

 

Camera and Photos

The iPhone's camera is no better than any other camera on a cell phone, and it has very few functions. When the camera application is opened, you get the choice of taking a picture or going to the Camera Roll, which is a special photo album in Photos. There is no scene selection, no digital zoom, no autofocus, no flash, and no destination album.

What about photo quality? Well for a 2 megapixel camera phone with no autofocus and no flash, pictures come out surprisingly clear.

Pictures taken with the camera are automatically imported to Photos, and when docked to a computer, the iPhone identifies itself as a digital camera so that any new photos will automatically upload to your Mac or PC. Here you can also sync pictures on your computer with those on your iPhone.

Pictures in the Photos application on the iPhone are organized by album, and selecting an album brings up a flickable thumbnail view of all the photos in the album. You can tap a photo to bring it up to full screen or start a slideshow from this screen.

When you call up an individual photo, it dominates the whole screen before a small bar appears at the bottom where you have the options to export the photo, view the previous or next one, or delete the photo you're looking at. You can zoom in or out of the photo by pinching and unpinching the screen. Swiping left or right also moves you between photos. Both the album and individual photo views can be rotated in all four directions, to fit both portrait and landscape orientations.

 

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