I have joined the iPhone Collective.

Well, it was bound to happen.

At the office, we’re in the process of testing the iPhone for possible inclusion into our corporate environment. A few employees like the system administrator, the network administrator, and the CIO already have iPhones. Yesterday, the boss (CIO) decided to assign the last of the spare devices (a 16 GB iPhone 3G) to me. I’ve had it for about 24 hours now, and am getting a handle on it.

So, what do I think, you might ask? The answer is complicated, as you might imagine.

As far as email goes, it’s a damn nice device. The Exchange support seems to be working fine, and I’ve also got it linked to my Gmail and personal “professional” account. The latter is the real big thing, as Windows Mobile (what my previous three phones ran) didn’t support the IMAP specification correctly. What it meant for me was that those phones couldn’t see the right folders for drafts and sent items. This phone implements the IMAP specification much better, and actually works much better for it. I’ll end up setting my personal email and my MK Online email accounts on them later this weekend.

The interface on the device is damn nice, too. It’s very intuitive and easy to use, and looks slick to boot. Say what you want about Apple, but the one thing they seem to consistently get right is making user interfaces that are intuitive, easy to use, and powerful. I haven’t had any issues with finding stuff and information on the device, and have already loaded a couple of extra applications onto it. I’ll probably end up loading Apple’s Texas Hold Em on it at some point, too, but that may end up waiting until my next trip out of town. I’d considered loading Galaga and Pac-Man on it (which are my cell phone mainstays), but I’m a bit hesitant about spending $10 each on them. Buying and loading apps is dead simple too, thanks to both the iTunes Store and the built-in app store on the phone.

So, what problems DO I have, you may ask? I have two problems right now… one minor and one major. The minor problem isn’t even really Apple’s fault. I loaded the official AIM client onto the iPhone and attempted to sign in through it. It wouldn’t accept my screen name and password. I’ve done some troubleshooting and learned what I think the problem is. I seem to vaguely remember having to change my AOL password some years back but I have no idea what it could be. I can sign into AIM using unofficial clients like Pidgin and the IM client that came with the AT&T Tilt using my old password. However, official clients like the AIM program for iPhone and AIM Express won’t allow me to sign in. I’ll have to talk to Mom for help; my AIM screen name was originally a sub-account of her AOL account, which is still active. We’ll need to talk to AOL and get it reset.

The major problem is the one that REALLY irks me. As I found out the hard way, ever since the 2.0 software was released, the iPhone will not work properly with uConnect, which is the in-car Bluetooth system used by Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep vehicles. They’ll pair, but won’t communicate outside of that. That annoys the living hell out of me, as I use the Bluetooth in my car extensively. It’s a known problem, as a lot of people are commenting on it on Apple’s discussion forums. Until a fix is provided by either Apple or Dodge, however, I’ll have to start wearing my Plantronics Bluetooth earpiece in the car again. I’m sure as HELL not going to talk on the phone while holding the actual device when driving.

All in all, it’s a pretty nice device. Hopefully the uConnect issue will be fixed soon, and once that’s taken care of my main issue with the device will go away. We’ll see how it goes. :-)