Sunday, February 03, 2008

Book Review: The iPhone Book: How to Do the Things You Want to Do with Your iPhone

iphone book

You know that one episode of Family Guy where Peter makes some seemingly random reference to something that connects him to Generation X'ers and then the sketch goes on for too long. You don't quite get the reference, it's bearing to the story, or why Fox didn't let sleeping dogs lie. Oh yeah, that's pretty much every episode.

However, this reference to pop culture does actually have some bearing on my review of "The iPhone Book". This was a series of disjointed short "tips" about the iPhone that included way too many pop culture references that made you scratch your head and want to put on Futurama instead. The book was cowritten by Scott Kelby and Terry White and their styles mixed like oil and doorknobs. In the intro the authors warn the book is "quirky.", and if you want "quirky" buy this book. If you want a great book on how to use your iPhone, put this book back on the shelf.

Writing a cohesive and comprehensive review of a book that is neither is actually quite difficult! Every topic is was exactly half a page. On the top is a picture of the iPhone or other item and the bottom has a paragraph or two of verbage. Flipping the "silent mode" switch is given about the same attention as troubleshooting the connection to a wireless network? Huh? The saving grace of their book is the admission that they stole some tips from David Pogue in spite of the fact that he writes for a competitor to Peachpit. Why accept a substitute when the Pogue's book is a few clicks or steps away. You could drive a semi through the gaps in coverage. Complex topics are left to the reader to figure out for themselves and Windows users are completely left in the dust: there are no screen shots or tips for Windows users. Discrimination!

The book had both a poor table of contents, but at least a decent index. While I was able to find the topics a majority of people care about, the coverage was so weak in some areas that I would classify it as one step above useless. Does an entire page need to be devoted to clicking the Safari button to open the browser and only a page to setting up your email?

Unless this is the only book on the shelf regarding iPhones and your helping a freind on a gameshow, skip this book and go to the source they acknowledge as the true master: David Pogue

Pros: They are probably pros at technology, just not writing books together
Cons: The reader is conned out of the $25 they spent for the book. Book is difficult to follow and sorely lacking on explanations

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