If your daily downloads of podcasts fits on your iPhone, you don't need this tip. For a 1.0 release, the iPhone has a lot of features and may very well be "the best iPod ever," but it's still missing some functionality that existing iPods have.
One major oversight is the lack of video playlists. On an iPod with video, you can create a playlist to hold recent podcasts, and it will contain both audio and video podcasts you have downloaded. They will all sync to the iPod just fine, and if you go in to Music » Playlists to access those playlists, the iPod will play the audio of all files inside. Allowing "video" files to show up in the audio-only playlist may be a bug, but this "feature" allows you to listen to audio of videos you have without needing to power up the screen (for when you might want to just listen to a vidcast or TV show audio). The bonus is that you can also go in to Videos » Playlist, and then the list will play audio files, but switch on the video when it his a video file.
That might be a useful tip on its own, but on the iPhone, this does not work. On the iPhone, you get a Playlists section, but it contains only audio files. Thus, if you have a playlist called Recent Podcasts that contains both audio and video files on iTunes, it syncs fine and works on an iPod with video, but it will only sync the audio files on an iPhone. (This may be a bug fix or feature removal, depending on how you see it.)
Even if the playlist contained tons of vidcasts, they won't sync to the iPhone automatically. You have to specifically enable those podcasts using the rules of the Podcast tab of iTunes when connected to the iPhone, which is rather limited. (ie, "all unplayed," "recent of specific podcasts," and so on). So if you have the Leo Laporte podcast (which can generate six or more podcasts in a day), using "3 most recent" will miss some of those, and give you extras of monthly/weekly podcasts (which your iPhone may not have room for).
There's no way to sync notes taken on the iPhone Notes app to the Mac. Bummer! So here's a tip to keep a list of memos that will sync over the network to your Mac and your iPhone.
Simply create an email message on your iPhone, or in your IMAP email account on your Mac. Type in a subject, and write your memo in the body of the email message. Don't send it., though. Instead, save the message, and your Drafts folder becomes a makeshift notepad that updates the content whether you make changes on your iPhone or on your Mac.
[robg adds: As an alternative, Macworld's Jonathan Seff offers up using a dummy address book entry to store syncable notes. The comments to his entry offer some additional solutions. The real solution, of course, is for the iPhone notes to sync to your Mac via a special folder (or some mechanism). Hopefully in iPhone 1.1....]
The dock appears to hold the iPhone at just about the right angle for the antenna to be polarized the same way the signal off the tower is. I tried the worst room in my house, which usually shows one to two bars of strength. With the iPhone in the dock (whether connected to a wire or computer or not), it went to five bars. Next I took the iPhone out of the dock and propped it up with a shampoo bottle at the same angle. Same result - five bars. Then I put the iPhone back in the dock, but laid it down in the same location. Two bars.
Then I put it back in the dock (five bars), but I touched the metal case with my fingers (two bars). So the hot setup is to use the dock and speakerphone (or buds) in marginal areas. A case helps with the attenuation problem, too, as does gripping the phone near the top while talking with it next to your ear.
[robg adds: I haven't tested this particular solution, but have noticed that the phone's orientation seems to make quite a difference, both with the AT&T network and with my home's wireless network.]
If you have your own install of WordPress, it's easy to make an iPhone-optimized theme for your blog -- without changing anything for non-iPhone users. This info might be useful for anyone building web sites with other tools as well. Here are the quickie instructions:
Make a unique stylesheet, styles-iphone.css, ditching the stuff you don't need, and setting div widths to 320.
Use the whole "pad" of your finger (or thumb) when typing, not just the tip. In other words, position your finger as if you were trying to leave a "criminal" fingerprint on the key you are selecting. Tap, don't press, however.
Also, for "problem" keys (mine seem to be O and P), keep your finger on those keys for a tiny extra fraction of a second. If the zoom reveals you hit the wrong one, don't lift and try again -- just roll your finger left or right to grab the correct key.
These two tips made a huge difference in my accuracy and speed.
I just got an 8GB iPhone and was loving the iCal syncing (among other things). However, I then noticed that the darn thing was syncing with a seemingly random calendar and not the one I originally chose. I proceeded to change the preferred calendar in iTunes when I noticed to my dismay that it reverted back to the one iTunes chose for me! To make a long story short, there seems to be a bug (go figure) in iPhone syncing.
I noticed that the calendar iTunes chose happens to be at the bottom of my list (in iCal), so I just reordered my iCal calendars so that the one I wanted my iPhone to sync to is on the bottom. Problem solved (until Apple gets around to actually fixing this bug).
[robg adds: I haven't had this problem with my iPhone; the chosen calendar seems to 'stick' just fine. In an email exchange with the author, the problem may be caused by the fact that most of his calendar names begin with an "@," which is related to his use of iGTD.]
There is actually an incredibly easy way to save, organize, and view most kinds of files on your iPhone. This includes PDFs, as well as files from Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Pages, Keynote, Safari, and pretty much any other kind of file you can think of. The application that you need to use on your iPhone is neither Mail nor Safari. It is, instead, the Photo application on your iPhone. You will be able to scroll, zoom, and organize the files however you like. They will be stored automatically in a folder in iPhoto with virtually no effort.
The OS X function that allows all of this is the Print function found in most applications. Print has a special item on the PDF button called Save PDF to iPhoto. This will convert whatever you are printing into a PDF file and send it directly to iPhoto. You will organize your documents in iPhoto for syncing using this method. Here are the instructions to do this:
Open the file you want to view on your iPhone in its native app in OS X.
Select Print. In the dialog that appears select the PDF button on the bottom left hand side.
Now scroll down the pop-up list and select Save PDF to iPhoto.
iPhoto will launch, and you will be prompted for an album name to store the new files. Type in the name of the document, or if you prefer just "iPhone Documents" if you'd like to make this album the repository of all your converted documents.
Sync your iPhone. You'll have to go to the Photo page in iTunes to make sure the folder is selected and that the images sync.
On your iPhone, click Photos and you'll see the PDF has been broken down by pages and is viewable, scrollable, and zoomable like any other photo.
If you are printing in either Word or Excel or other supported programs, you can increase the text size of the document and print the file to iPhoto in landscape mode to increase the quality of the image that is created. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that Preview has this feature. It helps if the document you want to view doesn't have small text. I suspect there must be a way to control the quality of the converted documents somewhere, so if anyone knows how, please post.
This one seems obvious to me, but it's important enough to share. I am happy that my iPhone provides internet access anywhere in my city (San Diego), but of course, it's slow compared to my cable modem at home. Traveling around town and in other cities, I yearn for a faster connection.
So, let's say that I'm in a neighborhood that I'm not familiar with. I ask somebody nearby what the local zip code is (let's say, 92116), and then I go to the Maps widget on my iPhone. I type in wifi 92116 and then hit Search. Up will pop up a whole array of (usually) free wireless networks -- coffee shops, libraries, book stores. Alternatively, I can just search for a Starbucks in the area, and then walk across the street to the coffee shop that Starbucks is trying to drive out of business. The competitor will always have free wireless, while Starbucks never does. :-).
If I'm really stranded, far away from any obvious wireless access, I can just look around for a large condo complex and park in Visitor's Parking. There are usually at least a dozen wireless networks within range, and several won't be locked.
[robg adds: The Maps widget is definitely one of the iPhone's "why didn't anyone else think of this?" features; it's the one I've probably used most since getting the iPhone a week ago. No more fumbling to find some place's name or phone number while driving; pull over, tap a few letters into Maps, and you get not just a map but full contact information for most any place.]
This doesn't appear to be covered in the manual, so I thought I'd pass it along. When you're in the iPhone's text entry mode, if you hold the Delete key down, it will delete letter-by-letter for a few seconds, then it will begin deleting entire words.
This is great when replying to e-mails and you want to trim out the unrelated content.
[robg adds: I wouldn't describe the process as "quick," but "quicker than letter by letter." Being able to select a chunk of text would be the best solution; one press of the Delete key would then make it vanish.]