- Digital Compass:
As we mentioned just before, there are some new applications that come stock with the new iPhone. One of these is the new digital compass. Now, to be perfectly honest, this new feature is something of a letdown. When I first turned it on I was told there was too much interference and I needed to move the phone in a figure-eight motion to get a response. After about five minutes of doing this (and looking pretty foolish) I gave up. I tried again about 30 minutes later and it worked perfectly, even though I was in the same location.
One extra feature of the built-in compass (not the app, but the functionality) is that the compass knows which way you are pointing and can rotate the maps application to reflect your real heading. This was something that was certainly missing from previous iPhone OSes and is a handy little feature.
After a few minutes of playing with the actual compass application I got over it. It really serves no purpose at all as a standalone application. I can see its use in future applications (as long as the code is in the SDK), but as a standalone application I wish I could remove it.
- Voice Control and Voice Memos:
Voice Control is a welcome addition to the iPhone. It gives you the ability to speak the name of anyone in your contacts to dial them, play a single song or start a playlist and to even ask what song is playing. However, its implementation is a little clunky. To use this you have to press the home button for about 2-3 seconds then it will stop what you are doing and open the Voice Control application.
From there you need to say what you want. For example, if you want to call Bob, you would say Call (or dial) Bob. If Bob has more than one number the voice control application knows to ask you which one you want to call. If you are playing a song, just say Play followed by the name of the song or playlist.
Where things fall apart is when you ask it to tell you what is playing; it stops playback and then tells you before resuming. Realistically it is easier to use the contacts page to find Bob and choose his number and it is also faster as well. So while the voice control feature is nice, it has a ways to go before it is really going to have an impact.
Voice memos are another story. Although I have never used voice memos (I still write things down on note cards) I could see myself making a quick note about something or when I am in the field taking photographs making notes about settings or conditions in the iPhone.