You can say the iPhone is everything it was supposed to be, or you can say it wasn't worth the hype. But one thing's for sure: It was the most eagerly awaited new gadget in consumer-electronics history. In the six months from when Apple announced the iPhone to the day it went on sale, the phone was written up in 12,000 print articles and 69 million Web pages. At the flagship Fifth Avenue Apple store in New York, people began lining up for the iPhone five days before the thing went on sale. (Well, one guy did.)
Remember how mystified everyone was when Apple called its music player the iPod—instead of, say, iMusic or iSongs or something? The reason was that Apple had much bigger plans for the iPod—photos, videos, documents, and so on. Maybe the company should have saved that name for the iPhone. This thing goes so far beyond "Phone," the name almost does it a disservice.
The iPhone, of course, is not just a phone. It's an iPod too, with 4 or 8 gigabytes of storage (enough for about 850 or 1,850 songs) and the biggest, highest resolution screen in iPod history. And it's the best Internet terminal you've ever seen on a phone. It doesn't display text-only email headers and bare-bones, stripped-down Web pages; it shows fully formatted email (with attachments, thank you) and displays real Web sites with fonts and design intact.
It's also a calendar, address book, calculator, alarm clock, stopwatch, stock tracker, real-time traffic reporter, RSS reader, and weather forecaster. It even stands in for a flashlight and, with the screen turned off, a pocket mirror.
And that's before you get into the Pleasure Factor: the way the thing fits in your hand; the gorgeous, animated software that's both sophisticated and drop-dead simple to operate.
Not too shabby for a 1.0 product, eh?
By way of a printed guide to the iPhone, Apple provides only a fold-out leaflet. It's got a clever name—Finger Tips—but to learn your way around, you're expected to use an electronic PDF document. This PDF covers the basics well, but it's largely free of details, hacks, workarounds, tutorials, humor, and any acknowledgment of the iPhone's flaws. You can't mark your place, underline, or read it in the bathroom.
The purpose of this book, then, is to serve as the manual that should have accompanied the iPhone.
Writing computer books can be an annoying job. You commit something to print, and then bam—the software gets updated or revised, and suddenly your book is out of date.
That will happen to this book especially. The iPhone is a platform. It's a computer, so Apple can update and improve it by sending it new software bits. Apple will issue new programs to fill those empty spaces at the bottom of the Home screen, fix bugs, and patch holes in the feature list. To picture where the iPhone will be five years from now, just look at how much better, sleeker, and more powerful today's iPod is than the original 2001 black-and-white brick.
Those updates, and the online community of hackers, programmers, accessory makers, and fans, are just getting started. Therefore, you should think of this book the way you think of the first iPhone: as a darned good start. This book will be updated by free, periodic email newsletters as developments unfold. To get them, register this book at www.oreilly.com. (Here's a shortcut to the registration page: http://tinyurl.com/yo82k3.)
iPhone: The Missing Manual is divided into six parts, each containing several chapters:
Part 1, The iPhone as Phone, covers everything related to phone calls: dialing, answering, voicemail, conference calling, text messaging, and the Contacts (address book) program.
Part 2, The iPhone as iPod, is dedicated to the iPhone's ability to play back photos, music, podcasts, movies, and TV shows. This section also covers the iPhone's built-in camera.
Part 3, The iPhone Online, is a detailed exploration of the iPhone's third talent: its ability to get you onto the Internet, either over a Wi-Fi hot spot connection or via AT&T's cellular network. It's all here: email, Web browsing, YouTube, Google Maps, RSS, weather, stocks, and so on.
Part 4, Beyond iPhone, describes the world beyond the iPhone itself—like the copy of iTunes on your Mac or PC that's responsible for filling up the iPhone with music, videos, and photos, and syncing the calendar, address book, and mail settings. These chapters also offer a look at the exploding world of add-on, Web-based software for the iPhone, and accessories like chargers, car adapters, and carrying cases. It wraps up with a tour of the iPhone's control panel—the Settings program.
Part 5, Appendixes, contains two reference chapters. Appendix A walks you through the setup and signup process, in which you activate your phone, choose a calling plan, and find out your phone number. Appendix B is a master compendium of troubleshooting, maintenance, and battery information.
Throughout this book, and throughout the Missing Manual series, you'll find sentences like this one: Tap Home→Settings→Wi-Fi. That's shorthand for a much longer instruction that directs you to open three nested screens in sequence, like this: "Press the iPhone's Home button. On the Home screen, tap Settings; on the Settings screen, tap Wi-Fi."
Similarly, this kind of arrow shorthand helps to simplify the business of choosing commands in menus, like File→Print.
To get the most out of this book, visit www.missingmanuals.com. Click the "Missing CD-ROM" link, and then click this book's title to reveal a neat, organized, chapter-by-chapter list of the shareware and freeware mentioned in this book.
But the Web site also offers corrections and updates to the book (to see them, click the book's title, and then click Errata). In fact, please submit such corrections and updates yourself! In an effort to keep the book as up-to-date and accurate as possible, each time we print more copies of this book, we'll make any confirmed corrections you've suggested. We'll also note such changes on the Web site, so you can mark important corrections into your own copy of the book, if you like. And we'll keep the book current as Apple releases more iPhone updates.