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Thread: Can the iPhone 4 do it all?

  1. #1
    dstuckmann
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    Can the iPhone 4 do it all?

    I recently completed a 5400 mile trip to Banff Canada and decided to use my iPhone 4 as my primary piece of electronics. It was my phone, music (using S-Plugs), GPS, computer, camera and video camera.

    It was attached to my ÔÇÖ08 RT using the RAM reservoir mount and cradle. I used the Griffin iTrip Autopilot to keep the phone charged up and also to have basic control of iTunes via the push buttons on the charger. I placed the charging socket right behind the mount.

    http://www.ram-mount.com/CatalogResu...5/Default.aspx

    http://www.ram-mount.com/CatalogResu...5/Default.aspx

    http://www.griffintechnology.com/pro...itripautopilot

    http://plugup.com/cart/index.php?mai...ed204592b68640

    I purchased the Navigon GPS software on sale for $50 so that I would have a GPS even without a phone signal. VERY impressed with that software and its capabilities. Check out the feature set on their website. There was only one route issue that came up after I detoured for gas but I could see the difference in the distance to go and time. It corrected itself when I turned and returned to the path it spelled out before. As with ANY GPS, preview the route before you go.

    http://www.navigon.com/portal/us/pro...iphone_us.html

    Now one of the downfalls of the iPhone is controlling it with gloves on. It was usually workable with my RoadGear summer gloves but forget it with winter ones. FYI, I have heard that people get around this by sewing gold thread thru the finger tips so your ÔÇ£chargeÔÇØ will get from your skin to the glove tip.

    While that is a nuisance, the truth is that I had little need to control the phone in that manner. I preprogrammed my routes and waypoints in the GPS and kept all of my destinations as favorites, so that was no issue. I had basic control of iTunes with the Griffin and controlled the volume with the ÔÇ£hardÔÇØ buttons on the side of the phone.

    Overall this setup performed quite admirably. The music muted and resumed automatically when directions came up and I also got screen notifications of calls and texts. (These would need to be cleared of via a screen tap)

    The iphone 4 shoots great photos outdoors, even in extreme overcast conditions. When I had people over to look at my photos, they could not believe that they were taken with the phone. They are that good. However, the performance indoors leaves a bit to be desired and the lack of a real zoom prevents it from fully taking over a standard camera.

    The iphone 4 can also shoot 720P video. I was hoping for a little better results with that but its not all the phoneÔÇÖs fault. IÔÇÖm not the steadiest guy in the world so handheld shots were a bit jumpy and the lack of a zoom was a handicap as well. When I was braced, the video was not to bad but IÔÇÖm in real need of some sort of image stabilization.

    I was also hoping that I could get video while I was riding, but the buzz and bumps thru the bars made that almost impossible, unless I pulled the clutch and let it idle. Again this is not all the phoneÔÇÖs fault as I got similar results when I tried my Canon HV20 HD camcorder.

    Now the other issue with the iPhone is that it is not waterproof, but this was not a real problem. The Calsci screen kept the phone very dry while I was moving and if it started to get wet, I just unclipped it from the cradle and threw it in my waterproof jacket pocket. I was still able to get my music and GPS instructions even though I could not see the screen. Slipping a baggie over it may have worked too but I did not try that.

    The iPhone has outstanding internet and if you need a ÔÇ£realÔÇØ computer, I could control my home computer via TeamViewer, a free software to remote control a computer, and yes, thereÔÇÖs an app for that. (free)

    http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx

    What would I do different? Not much. Maybe move the mount to the steering head to remove some of the vibration that is present in the bars. It did not seem to be a problem but long term buzz MAY be detrimental the phone. Bring a compact camera.

    Is it perfect? No, but my advice is that if you have an iPhone 4, give it a try before you spend $500-$1500 on a GPS, XM and the like. Often, space is at a premium on a bike and with the iPhone you have everything you need in one small device. Also, when you are done riding, it is soooo nice to be able to stop and just unclip one small package and walk away from your bike.

  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    From the reports of dropped calls and touchy antenna, or should I say no-touch antennas, it sounds like it will do everything but make reliable calls........................So the question is why do they call it a phone??

    And as of this point the GPS function is VERY basic when compared to a high end unit, they will get you point to point, but my routes look like they were drawn by a drunk honey bee, and I can't program those easily into the simplistic GPS systems on most smart "pocket information devices"

  3. #3
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    great post... thanks.

    this would be interesting to me if iPhone were weather proof.... i don't stop for much and really rely on GPS.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  4. #4
    Rather Be Ridin' alabeemer's Avatar
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    Great write up. I have the "old" 3GS and have been considering he upgrade to the iPhone4. Your report indincates that we are certainly headed in the right direction! Having one device to perform all these functions and do it well would be a great thing indeed. And it would sure make life easier when I trade bikes in not having to re-wire the world to get all the gadgets transfered! Thanks for the report and info!
    Vance Harrelson
    MOA Ambassador/ Director
    R1200GSA - G450X - G650GS Sertao
    "Always Remember, Whatever You Believe, You Might Be Wrong" - Paul Thorn

  5. #5
    dstuckmann
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    From the reports of dropped calls and touchy antenna, or should I say no-touch antennas, it sounds like it will do everything but make reliable calls........................So the question is why do they call it a phone??

    And as of this point the GPS function is VERY basic when compared to a high end unit, they will get you point to point, but my routes look like they were drawn by a drunk honey bee, and I can't program those easily into the simplistic GPS systems on most smart "pocket information devices"
    I usually slip the case on mine when not on the bike so there are none of the antenna issues when using a case.

    Don't assume that the GPS is "basic" in function. Spend some time on the web site before you judge. Better yet try one if you can. In my trip I setup routes with numerous waypoints which can be added from the POI, map clicks, google search, and even the phone's address book. You can easily change up the route; reordering, adding or deleting points.

    Using the White and Yellow Pages apps are another quick way to get somewhere. One click adds it to your contacts and then navigate from there. You don't have to type much if someone has a listed number. Do a reverse phone lookup and add the address to contacts with one click there too.

    If just selecting a destination, the program displays 3 possible routes for you to chose from, each with distance and time. You also have the choice of routing by shortest, fastest, scenic or optimum which can be changed on the fly. In fact it was the only one I've seen that uses the shortcut to my house.

    Weatherproof would be nice but I think that on a faired bike. A ziplock would be fine and like I said, I have full GPS instructions / music come thru the phone when it was in my pocket

  6. #6
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    Too bad you can't upgrade/replace the memory or the battery on an iPhone. Too bad you're wedded to crappy (at least here in the Seattle area) AT&T service.

    Droid does!

    Everything you can do with your iPhone, I can do on my Android phone.
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  7. #7
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    Bad Phone

    PFFOG is absolutely right; as an aural telecommunication device the Iphone sucks. Dropped calls, poor sound quality, poor volume control; it is not a, "Good," phone. The other features are quite well thought out and executed. It does everything very well with the exception of making or taking phone calls.

    It is so bad, that a number of people I know have an Iphone to keep their business life in order, and another phone to make calls. Since I have become so exasperated with the poor quality of the phone, I am thinking about going down this route too.

  8. #8
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    From the reports of dropped calls and touchy antenna, or should I say no-touch antennas, it sounds like it will do everything but make reliable calls........................So the question is why do they call it a phone??
    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus214 View Post
    PFFOG is absolutely right; as an aural telecommunication device the Iphone sucks. Dropped calls, poor sound quality, poor volume control; it is not a, "Good," phone. The other features are quite well thought out and executed. It does everything very well with the exception of making or taking phone calls.

    It is so bad, that a number of people I know have an Iphone to keep their business life in order, and another phone to make calls. Since I have become so exasperated with the poor quality of the phone, I am thinking about going down this route too.
    Funny -- I have had exactly the opposite experience: call quality and reception on my iPhone4 is better than on my 3G or 3GS, and the antenna touching issue has never been a problem for me.

    Not saying others didn't have legitimate problems (some of which were addressed by the iOS 4.1 update), but the phone is not the piece of crap that the bandwagon riders make it out to be.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

  9. #9
    dstuckmann
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    Quote Originally Posted by OfficerImpersonator View Post
    Too bad you can't upgrade/replace the memory or the battery on an iPhone. Too bad you're wedded to crappy (at least here in the Seattle area) AT&T service.

    Droid does!

    Everything you can do with your iPhone, I can do on my Android phone.
    You guys are missing the point of the post. I see lots of posting regarding electronics. People asking... What works? What doesn't? What does it cost? How can I mount and power this, this and this? etc. I love gadgets but don't like the idea of spending money if I don't have too. I wanted to see if a smartphone (in my case, an iPhone 4) could do everything I needed in a 13 day, 5400 mile trip and I reported as such.

    The arguments of which phone is best, or what service is best, will always be debatable. Did I have areas of no reception? Yes, but talking to other folks along way confirmed that it was not only ATT or iPhones with the issue. Personally I love the phone, even for calls, but the areas of poor coverage have not a real big issue for me and I have gone in areas where I had reception when people with other carriers did not. FYI - I have had iPhones/ATT for over 2 years.

    I never said that the phone, or its service, were better or worse than anything else. Usually the big item of concern (and cost) of optional MC electronics is the GPS so I did not focus on how the phone works for calls.

    To each their own. If ATT / iPhone does not work well in your area, DON'T BUY ONE.

    I'm sure your extensive report on how the Droid worked for you in similar circumstances would be welcome to the Forum. The information will help people decide on what will work best for them.

  10. #10
    Registered User robsara's Avatar
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    Thanks for this post. Interesting thought. From my backpacking days, everything was about "multiple use" you certainly have taken this to the next level.

    I appreciate the time you took to write this up.
    Rob R
    1994 K75 My first bike.

  11. #11
    Registered User mchad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OfficerImpersonator View Post
    Too bad you can't upgrade/replace the memory or the battery on an iPhone. Too bad you're wedded to crappy (at least here in the Seattle area) AT&T service.

    Droid does!

    Everything you can do with your iPhone, I can do on my Android phone.
    Even here...

    I swore when I read this I wouldn't respond, but I can't not.

    I'm thrilled that you love your droid. Carry on loving it, and let others love their devices. Do you really need to say "mine is better"? We're not in 6th grade anymore.

    I read this post to get info on a gps app. Not a flame war.

    Stop hating.

    Now, on topic. I have a friend who swears by the tom tom app, which does look quite good, however I think the navigon is superior as it has its own maps, and doesnt rely on ota maps. So, in preparation for a weekend ride, I'm downloading it now...

  12. #12
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    I have a Droid and like it a lot. I haven't had a single problem with mine, but they have their problems too. See www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20019676-85.html. My wife is on her third Droid in less than a year due to reboot loop issues. I've always liked the IPhone and will probably get one someday, but for now I'm happy with the Droid. I'm very pleased with my IPad and IPod.

    Thanks for the good information!

    What's your take on the new IPhone?

    Easy

  13. #13
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OfficerImpersonator View Post
    ...Too bad you're wedded to crappy (at least here in the Seattle area) AT&T service...

    What, no Verizon?
    Dan

  14. #14
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    iPhone 4S (the new one)

    From the advertising, the antenna situation on the iPhone has been fixed in the new 4S model. Time will tell. I do like the idea of one unit to handle all those tasks.

    Also, FWIW, AT&T is just fine in the Boston area and all over New England...at least on my BlackBerry Bold 9000.
    John Gamel
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  15. #15
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExGMan View Post
    Also, FWIW, AT&T is just fine in the Boston area and all over New England...at least on my BlackBerry Bold 9000.
    +1, the best choice at this time. at&t has been building towers like crazy here the last 3 or 4 years. I also carry a Sprint phone because the roaming deal for Canada is better.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

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