Originally Posted by raybo
I'd be interested in experiences others have had when using the iPhone or other smart phones, especially in areas in the US with low network services or places outside the US.
I took my iPhone 3G along as my only "computer" when I rode down the Pacific Coast last September. During the day, I usually had both WiFi and cell service turned off. I was originally planning to have the phone turned off entirely, but I found myself using it often enough that it was useful to have it powered on but in "airplane" mode.
Apps I found useful:
used it to keep family and friends informed about where I was, what I was doing, and post the occasional picture. It has a location feature, but I always kept forgetting to use it! Twitterrific was one of the few apps that worked well in low-connectivity areas (e.g. Big Sur). As long as I didn't try to upload photos, it was fine.
again, useful for keeping in touch with people as well as occasionally checking in with people at the office
I have a Garmin Edge 705, so that's what I used for the majority of my navigation. Once I got to my destination for the day, I used the Maps application to find my way around. The Garmin is good for recording where you've been and for following a pre-plotted route, but it kinda sucks for on-the-fly stuff and points of interest.
& The Weather Channel
: For some reason, I was always obsessed with the weather while on tour. The built-in weather app doesn't give much detail, so I alternated between AccuWeather and TWC trying to figure out what the next day's weather was going to be like.
I also carry a decent point-and-shoot digital camera, so I often ended up juggling the P&S and the iPhone taking two pictures of the same thing: one to send off to folks immediately (via Twitter or e-mail) as well as a higher-resolution one to use after the trip. In bright sunlight, I found that it was pretty difficult to compose and focus with the iPhone; the screen just wasn't bright enough to see clearly.
One of the things that worked better than I expected was watching movies. I rented a couple through iTunes and transferred them to the phone before leaving. Hold the screen close and movies are surprisingly watchable. The only caveat, at least for rented movies, is that you have to be able to connect to an Apple server before you can start watching the movie.