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Book Review: iPhone: The Missing Manual By David Pogue

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As far as cellular phones go, the iPhone has set the standards by which all other phones are compared. Over 25 million phones sold in the first two years and over 60,000 downloadable programs on the iPhone App Store are available and still growing. The question now becomes exactly what is the iPhone and why is it so popular?

Obviously the iPhone is a cell phone. But it is also an iPod, a video player, a camera, a Web browser, an email system, a personal manager, and more. Remember I said there are all of those apps at the App Store, which means that it can be a game arcade, a GPS, a musical keyboard, a restaurant finder, a remote control, and much, much, more.

While the iPhone comes with some documentation, iPhone: The Missing Manual is what should have come with your iPhone. The goal of this book is to give you a guided tour of every feature passing along a lot of tips, tricks, and surprises. The book is 416 pages, 17 chapters and two appendixes, and divided into five parts. I will break down by part.

Part 1, "The iPhone as a Phone" begins by looking at everything that is related to the iPhone as a phone. This includes turning on the iPhone, the SIM card, the icons, fingering techniques, and charging your phone. It also includes typing, searching, and editing, as well as the contacts list, voice dialing, voice mail, texting, chat programs, and even calling overseas.

Part 2, "Pix, Flix, & Apps" next looks at the iPhone's ability to play music and video and take pictures. Here you will examine building lists of songs and playing music, playing video, as well as working with the wireless iTunes Store. Next you will learn about the camera, how to set up photo wallpaper, taking head shots for contacts and taking both still and video images.

From there it is on to the various maps and apps that are available in the iPhone. You will examine the calendar, YouTube, stocks, weather, and voice memos. Finally, you will next look at ringtones, talking buttons, and Speak Auto-Text.

Part 3, "The iPhone Online" examines one of the other powerful features of the iPhone, its ability to get you on to the internet via either Wi-Fi or though AT&T's cellular network. You don't have to have an account with AT&T to use an iPhone, just a wireless access hot spot. In this section you will learn exactly how to connect without cellular access and other neat network tricks.

Then you will see how to work the web with your iPhone, how to set up your email account, how to read and write email messages as well as how to and manage your email in general. Finally you will explore the world of the iPhone App Store. This is the place where authorized iPhone applications can be purchased and loaded to your iPhone. Here you will see how to set up and find applications for your device.

Part 4, "Connections" is about the world outside of the iPhone. That is, how you integrate your iPhone, to your real world of tunes, photos, videos, and more. In this part you begin by working with iTunes to load your iPhone with music, movies, photos other things you may want to take along with you.

Then you will learn how to sync your iPhone to make sure that you have copies of those things that are important to you including ringtones, podcasts, and photos. Then you will learn about the MobleMe service that you can purchase so that anything that is done on your iPhone or computer is instantly sent back to the other. The iPhone is nipping at the heels of stalwarts like the Blackberry for inclusion in the boardroom so also discussed is the use of the iPhone as a corporate phone. Finally there is a chapter on the settings. There are a lot of them.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/fran-parker/ Fran

    Sounds like a very good book to help people get the most of their iPhone. Do you remember when it was written? Was it before or after the 3GS and the latest software revision?

    I don’t have an iPhone because we can’t get AT&T signal well enough where we live. Sadly they don’t have a Verizon version of the iPhone.

    Very nice review. It even made me want to read it and I can’t even get an iPhone here.