iPhone: Six Months After The Fact

Written by: John Fiore

Categories: Editorial, Random Thoughts

When the iPhone first came out, you couldn’t go any website without seeing loads of stories surrounding it. People loving it, people hating it, people having love/hate relationships with it, everyone had something to say (even MacCast writers). Some of the major complaints have been addressed with recent updates and iPhone now has a remarkable hacking community. Nothing has changed with then news sites, iPhone is everywhere and there is nothing you can do about it. This post/rant is a newbies perspective on why the iPhone is the best, and worst piece of technology in recent years, hope you find it interest

I’m twenty years old and a total geek, but I’ve only had owned mobile phone for about 3 weeks. My first phone was a V3 Razr, which was okay, but after owning the (hacked) iPod Touch and always thinking “I could click this number and call it if this were an iPhone” the Razr felt very limited. Even more so when browsing the web with the Opera browser or playing any games. Then came Sunday January 19th, the day I lost my iPod somewhere in New Jersey. The next day I went out and bought an iPhone.

Despite not owning a mobile in the past, I have spent quality time with Treos, Razrs, various Motorala models, and the iPhone. So my post isn’t completely without merit and experience. Browsing the web on those phones does not at all compare to the experience Safari provides on the iPhone. I would go so far to say that for the average consumer the only advantage they have are physical buttons, which allow you to dial numbers without looking when you’re driving… which we all do despite how dangerous it is. So in my fanboyish way I’ll check that off as Apple looking out for my safety.

A large portion of complaints I’ve heard are fixed, fixable, or just trivial. SMS messaging and overall performance of the phone has been greatly improved with the recent 1.1.3 update. The Software Development Kit (SDK) will be providing us with plenty of third party software without any hacks. Edge may not be the fastest, but isn’t nearly as slow as some people would have you think. iPhone does not sync with iTunes over the air, record video, send pictures and video messages to other phones, copy and paste, work with Exchange, have an easily replaceable battery, or have a slot for adding more memory. But the question I asked myself before buying was if I, or anyone, really needs those things.

Some complaints are like the lack of Exchange support are completely legitimate and crippling to some business customers. However the majority of complaints can, and likely will be fixed in future updates. The fact that the battery is not accessible to consumers is the biggest shame on Apple. If you’re going to spend 400 USD on a phone you should be able to access the battery without Apple/ATT getting involved. You will likely never seen an iPhone with a card slot to add a petty couple gigs of storage, and Apple has never released an iPod where you can easily access the battery. Perhaps this is just a train of thought we will have to get used to.

Apple has a decent chat client on OS X with iChat, so why this wasn’t available to us on the iPhone at launch is beyond me. When looking at the overall picture the iPhone keeps you connected in every single way your Mac’s default software does except for instant messaging. Doubtless this will be addressed by Apple in the future or by a third party, but Instant Messaging was a standard part of mobile phones well before the iPhone came to the scene. I’ve used the web-based clients and they are nice, but a native iChat client would allow notifications and a lot more features. You could list loads of apps that should be on the iPhone, but given how third party applications are just around the corner there really isn’t a problem. (Though I must admit I painfully miss Labyrinth and themes.)

The biggest problem is if you’re using the iPhone on anything but a Mac it can be a totally different experience. iPhone really is designed around iLife, so even if it works without flaw you’re not getting the same experience a Mac user is. Telling it to sync with Outlook and “My Pictures” just isn’t as intuitive and smooth. For example take a look at the Apple support forums; you will see plenty more threads from Windows users begging for help than Mac users. I am one of those people. I only own a PC at the moment, there is a Mac mini in my house. The problems were so annoyingly painful I decided to just sync to the Mac Mini until I get my own Mac. There are literally dozens of threads on the Apple support forums with people asking for help with the same problems over and over, getting no replies. Even if it is a small portion of the user-base, these issues are understandably annoying. This is the collective fault of Apple and Microsoft I’m sure, but the responsibility in my eyes is with Apple to provide a complete experience for any operating system they support.

This all said, I’m still fresh with my iPhone. As time goes on and we see more updates and the first third party apps you can expect to hear from me again.

There are 3 comments on iPhone: Six Months After The Fact:

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  1. Andrew Lardi | Feb 08 2008 - 02:03

    Hey. I’d like to add that I recently had some issues with my iPhone, syncing, timing out and that. I’m writing this whilst I’m at an Apple Store and they replaced it in a matter of minutes. Further renewing my confidence in Apple’s support.

  2. Graham | Feb 12 2008 - 01:26

    Why isn’t there iChat on the iPhone? Look at that little SMS button. Your mobile operator would get pretty stroppy if you had a way of sending what are basically text messages for free with your unlimited data plan.

    As to changing the battery: I’ve heard this time and time again, but I’ve had mobile phones since I was 15 (now 22) and I’ve never replaced the battery in any of them. When the battery starts to die, it’s usually time for another phone. Admittedly, they’ve all been free (or cheap pay as you go phones before I was 18) so it might be a different story now I’ve had to pay £269 for a phone, but I don’t honestly see me keeping the phone much beyond the 18 month contract.

    Hell, I’ll probably be buying an iPhone2 ;)

  3. Andrew Lardi | Feb 12 2008 - 01:13

    Maybe so, but I doubt that being the absolute reason. Apple features web based IM clients on their site. In addition to that ATT has been offering unlimited data on phones for twenty dollars a month for a while; data is the method they use to charge you for instant messaging on your phone. So users have always had the ability to instant message on their phone – the only reason ATT wouldn’t like it would be because the interface on the iPhone makes instant messaging (even to cell phonos) remarkably easier. With the SDK being released soon a native messaging client is on the way no doubt.

    I’ve not owned a phone long enough to want to replace a battery, but with a USD 400 phone I would imagine there’s a good amount of people who will want to keep it long enough to replace it. However I’m with you in that I’m more likely to upgrade to the iPhone 2 than buy a new battery. :D