Get to know your iPhone

iphone missing manual

Book review
iPhone: The Missing Manual
David Pogue
Third Edition. O’Reilly Media. 2009. 397 pp.

I have a drawer full of old dead gadgets. Remember that little camera Kodak made to fit onto early models of the Palm Pilot? Remember the Handspring PDA?  Portable music CD players? The iPod Mini? One of these days I’ll sell them for parts and Make Extra Ca$$h At Home.

Hate to think of it, but one day my shiny new iPhone will take its place in that drawer.

In the meantime, I’m getting to know my way around my new Toy-Tool, thanks in part to David Pogue and company. Pogue knows his way around tech. He writes for the New York Times, has contributed to PBS NOVA, CNBC, and CBS Sunday Morning, and created  O’Reilly’s Missing Manuals series. I’ve enjoyed his other books, including the manuals for Facebook, the iPod, and the Wikipedia Reader’s Guide. He writes clearly and with a welcome sense of humor.

The updated edition of this manual covers the iPhone 3GS, released in July 2009, and version 3.0 of the iPhone software. The book’s five sections discuss

The iPhone as phone;
Pix, flix, & apps (music, videos, camera, photos, maps);
The iPhone online (3G, WiFi, the Safari browser, email);
Connections (synching with iTunes, contacts, calendar, mail, etc.); and
Appendices (setup, accessories, maintenance).

If you use an iPod touch, your migration to the iPhone will be easy. You’ll already know the touch screen interface, its keypad, and the dance steps for your fingers (tap, drag, slide, flick, pinch and spread). You’ll breeze through the “guided tour” chapter. If you listen to music and podcasts via an iPod and iTunes, you can breeze through those chapters too.

But even after using an iPod Touch for a few months, and playing with my new phone for a few weeks, I’m still learning many cool things, thanks to the manual, including
Conference calling
Sending batches of photos at once
Recording and editing voice memos
Apple’s  Mobile Me service
GPS and Maps
Creating , syncing, and editing contacts, and
Subscribing to RSS feeds.

The Missing Manuals are beautifully designed and illustrated. Read this book for fun, or for instruction, or both. It won’t end up in your dead gadgets drawer.  For one reason, it points to additional resources posted online  including “the missing CD,” which includes every URL, practice file, and piece of downloadable  software mentioned in this book. (“There’s no CD with this book; you just saved $5.00.”)

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