I have a confession . . . I took my first step moving to the dark side three months ago. You see, my beloved Treo 700w had finally died for the last time – it had lived a long, hard life of just over 2 years and had been dropped countless times. I was looking for a Windows Mobile 6 device that had a touch-screen and a vertical orientation like the Treo (I for one dislike the slide-out keyboards because it requires two hands to type). I was surprised at the lack of options available for those three criteria. As a matter of fact – Verizon did not have a single device that met all three criteria – they still had the Treo 700w with a touch screen, but running WM5. They had the new Moto Q with WM6 and the vertical orientation, but no touch-screen. Or the Samsung isomething that had a touch screen and WM6, but had the horizontal slide-out keyboard.
So on a whim, I did an abrupt face and bought myself an iPhone. This was back in March, and I admit that what finally pushed me over the edge was the announcement of the iPhone 2.0 software update that would include support for push email via Microsoft ExchangeSync. Admittedly, there are days that I still miss my Treo (I still prefer a physical keyboard over the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard – but I eventually discovered the trick to fast composition on the iPhone is to just get close and trust its auto-correct to fix your typos – and 98% of the time it gets it right). The biggest pain over the past 3 and half months has been the lack of over-the-air calendar and contact sync. After having that for over two years with my Treo, having to dock my iPhone every few days or remember to look at my Outlook calendar before I ran out the door was getting old.
But anyway, today was d-day – when the iPhone 2.0 upgrade was officially available to the masses. I didn’t get a chance to really try the upgrade until late this afternoon. I started earlier this morning, but I could not get iTunes to backup my phone prior to the upgrade (unknown error -43). Of course, it gave me the option to continue without a backup – I would just lose little things like my text messages, favorites, mail accounts, etc. – basically anything that wasn’t sync’d with my PC. So I stuck it out and eventually tracked the issue down to iTunes not playing nicely with folder redirection in a domain environment. My music lives in a redirected folder and syncs ok, so I’m assuming the issue is with a redirected Application Data folder. But anyway . . . ) So late this afternoon I finally got the phone backed up and initiated the upgrade. The entire process took about 30 minutes to download, install, restore & activate. Luckily, I did not run in to the mess this morning where Apple’s activation servers were overwhelmed and couldn’t be contacted, leaving a lot of people with a nicely upgraded phone that could not activate and thus had no service . . . but again, there’s a reason it’s called the bleeding edge . . .
But the big news for me is the Exchange integration. I removed my previous IMAP account, and set up my Exchange account. Biggest surprise for me: the iPhone will sync with Exchange over the air if you’re using a self-signed SSL certificate on your SBS / Exchange server. It complains a bit that it can’t authenticate the certificate when you’re setting up the account, but you can acknowledge the warning and it will start synchronizing. Naturally, if you select to synchronize your contacts and calendar, any contact & calendar data on the phone itself will be overwritten by data on your Exchange server. For me this was no big deal as I was manually synchronizing this data anyway.
I still have to play around a bit, especially with installing some of the new apps, but so far the Exchange integration is working just as I would have expected. The contacts feature even handles multiple contact folders in your Exchange mailbox very nicely – even additional top-level contacts folders, and even allows you to search the GAL
Anyway, I’m off to go play on the dark side a little more . . .