Monday, January 07, 2008

Book Review: iPhone: The Missing Manual

iPhone: The Missing manual

iPhone:  The Missing Manual

The "Missing Manual", in case you didn't already know, is the gold standard of technical publications. Heck, it's the platinum standard at this point. Any book that has the "Missing Manual" in the title is sure to be a must have. I've never been disappointed and "iPhone: The Missing Manual" carries the torch for the series yet again. Some books are only edited by David Pogue, but this one was written exclusively by hi, most likely because the iPhone was a hard find for anyone.

While Pogue expertly covered all the features of the iPhone, he also helped readers work around some of the limitations such as the lack of a word processor or a instant messaging program. I learned quite a few tips even for my mere mortal Treo 650. He helps you save money on text messaging, much to the chagrin of AT&T's accountants. I had very high hopes for the book, and Pogue exceeded every one.

Ideally, the iPhone should be straightforward and obvious for most people, but occasionally you aren't quite sure about a feature or how to combine features together to do what you want. For example, how does one avoid SPAM on the iPhone...yuck. This is more than the typical Missing Manual in my opinion. This includes those handy tips and tricks most companies write a separate book on. The list of websites that will simulate desktop apps is worth the price of admission alone.

As always, the Mac and PC platforms are covered equally and with respect. He explains how to sync contacts on a PC and a Mac. Most important, Pogue covers all the troubleshooting steps you need to know when your iPhone stops doing what it wants. Because the iPhone is so new, there aren't many guides to fixing problems and I've had to google way too much in order to fix problems. Now I've got all I need in one guide.

No features of the iPhone is left undiscussed! Even experts with the iPhone (can you say you are an expert when it's been out less than a year?), will find something in this Missing Manual. I think that anyone who has a smart phone will get ideas from this guide. If you can't have an iPhone, get the next best thing.

Of course, if the manual were hard to understand or disorganized it wouldn't do anyone much assistance. Fortunately, Pogue's easy to understand writing style explains things in such a way novices can understand without talking down to them or boring expert users. The index and table of contents are very easy to use to hone in the particular features you are interested in. Extensive use of full color photos helps make sure you can follow along with the book.

Pros: Amazing guide to the iPhone. I suspect Steve Jobs secretly keeps a copy on his desk.
Cons: Besides the fact it doesn't come with an iPhone, absolutely no cons.

Five out of Five Dogcows

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Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right