Book Review - Taking Your iPhone to the Max by Erica Sadun
So you've taken the plunge and bought an iPhone. You've read what passes for an instruction manual, and you're amazed that everything just seems to work. But you *know* there's more that you're missing. Taking Your iPhone to the Max by Erica Sadun does a very good job in walking you through all the major parts of the iPhone interface, explaining how they work, and giving you plenty of "hidden tips" along the way. I changed a few ways I do things on my iPhone after reading...
Selecting, Buying, and Activating Your iPhone; Interacting with Your New iPhone; Placing Calls with iPhone; iPhone Messaging; iPhone E-mail; Browsing with Safari; Preparing Your Media in iTunes; It's Also an iPod; iPhone Photos; Google Maps and Other Apps; Hacking the iPhone; Index
Since the "instruction manual" included with the iPhone is about eight panels of a fold-out piece of paper, you're not going to get much in the way of instruction when you buy the thing. You can download the PDF guide from Apple's site, but how often did you ever read the manual of your prior cell phone? Thought so... Sadun presents the information in a much more relaxed and understandable format. Rather than a simple "do this, this, and this", she explains why things work the way they do, as well as some things that aren't common knowledge. For instance, there are a number of service shortcuts you can use to get information about your AT&T account. *225# will give you the balance of your bill, *646# will give you the remaining number of minutes on your account, etc. I'm sure you can dig up that information somewhere, but it's all nicely formatted and presented here in a logical, cohesive manner. Personally, I hadn't known of (or remembered) about punctuation dragging, where you touch the .?123 key and then drag your finger over to the punctuation character you want. Since it's a single character action, the keyboard immediately returns to the alpha setting. I find myself doing that all the time now.
While the book is well-suited for the non-techie phone users, there's also coverage of the jailbreak process and how that works. She references that technique in a number of places, and explains where you can find certain directories and files if you've got command-line access to your iPhone. As this came out before the official Apple API release, you won't get any coverage of it here. But when you get down to it, the people who will use the jailbreak method probably won't want to play by the restrictive rules of the official API anyway. :)
This wasn't the first iPhone book I've read, but it was no less valuable than the first one. I find myself picking up new tips and tricks that I didn't remember or that didn't stick the first time. And given the size and style of the book, it hits a nice blend between pure tech and hand-holding newbie. Nicely done...