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iPhone: A Bit of This, A Bit of That

'The light approaching you is not daylight at the end of the tunnel.'

Two days after the release of the iPhone things are looking very good. But not all campers are pleased.

To sum it all up: those who did the research and knew what they were buying like it; those who didn't read up didn't know what they bought.

Stress Tests

PC World's Eric Butterfield put a brand new iPhone through an informal 'stress test' at the office. The results might be surprising.

Disappointed


Buy It

Try It

HowardForums poster 'JonnyBruha' who claims 'I've got more phones than fingers' is disappointed with his iPhone and explains what exactly is disappointing. His point through it all is that the gadget might look great and it might represent a big technological leap - but in the big world of cellular communications it's simply not competitive.

Obviously Jonny was expecting one thing, didn't do the research, and got another.

Here's Jonny's list.

  • Bluetooth's only good for connecting a headset. Nothing else.
  • There's no file browser in the system.
  • The camera application has a single button to push.
  • The SIM card is impossible to open.
  • The web browser is excruciatingly slow.
  • The keyboard sucks and using a keyboard like this will never work.
  • Send only one attachment per mail message.
  • No custom ringtones and the defaults are incredibly lame.
  • Only customisation feature is desktop picture which you only see when device is turned off. Yawn.
  • Picture pinching doesn't work well unless you use two hands.
  • Device has no document editors or native viewers.
  • You can't store documents to be viewed later - you can only view them as attachments in your mail.
  • Visual voicemail is subpar.
  • There are no games. Not a single one.
  • No voice dialing.
  • No speed dialing. The quick list is never going to be as fast as keyboard shortcuts.
  • No video.
  • No MMS.
  • $500 for 4 GB and $600 for 8 GB?
  • It takes two hours to explore the entire device and be bored to death.

Through several posts Jonny writes the following.

This device looks like it was aimed at the general consumer who has the money to spend on such a flashy device, but it leaves so many basic features behind that it's almost impossible to consider it a success as a mainstream device. It encourages the advanced user to move away from MMS and into email to send images, but leaves out any advanced features advanced users would be accustomed to, and still retains a huge price tag on top of it.

It's certainly pretty and Americans will buy it because of that simple UI, but anyone who's familiar with other operating systems would be appalled. This phone needs to be unlocked and cracked WIDE open to make much better use of the multi-touch system. That, or it needs an immediate update in iTunes to rework every feature.

Where are the users that have used Windows Mobile, Palm, Blackberry, and Symbian saying the iPhone is awesome? You won't find them, because it's completely inferior to the real smartphone world.

If you really want to drill some positive aspects out of me, I'll admit the screen was bright and pleasant to look at, the multi-touch was 'fun' though not very productive, and it was responsive for the simple tasks it needed to perform.

If you want me to compare it to a W810i or a V3xx to make it look like it's gold, I can, but even those devices have several very useful features the iPhone doesn't.

Skydiver adds.

You are right. I didn't even notice that it doesn't have speed dial until you mentioned it. That really sucks the big one. I don't even recall the last phone I had that weighs less than a pound which doesn't have this basic feature. I now really reget getting this phone. I am returning it first thing tomorrow. (I think I have to pay a re-stocking fee?) Hope I can cancel the AT&T plan that I have just signed up. What a waste of time and money.

For someone who just wasted a lot of time and money Skydiver doesn't bother to check things beforehand.

Crash Dump Dummies

Already iPhone crash dumps are circulating on the net. When something inside goes south users are prompted to send their crash report to Apple.

There seem to be several issues with this.

  • People are wondering how a device and its software, over two years in development, can crash already within the first 24 hours of use. To them it smacks of Microsoft engineering.
  • As some of the crashes concern MobileMail, the iPhone variant of Apple Mail, people are worried the same crew who (didn't) put together the latter program for OS X 10.4 Tiger are at it again - with a concomitant bevy of design errors, bugs, and serious logical bombs.
  • Most seriously: the crash reports seem to indicate Apple are running ordinary user land applications with an effective user ID of root. Couple together the notoriously wobbly Mail program, shattering scandals like the 'Safari hole' where innocent applications are lured to open the wrong (malicious) files, and you're possibly looking at a new 'I LOVE YOU' Armageddon.

Waiting for Activation

The iPhone is not Apple's product alone. Because it is a cellphone intended for use in a cellphone network it is also the network provider's product. And in this case the provider AT&T have already come up with the short end of the stick.

A huge thread at MacRumors has almost 1500 posts and 30,000 views already. [There is a comparable thread at the Apple discussion forums but true to form Apple have made it inaccessible already - they don't want people being discouraged from purchasing their new product.]

Unexpected Lack of Platform Support

Windows users who've graduated to 64-bit computing are being told they will have to downgrade back to 32-bit to use their new toys. Mizled at Slashdot writes.

After buying a new iPhone yesterday and bringing it home to sync and activate it I found out that Windows 64-bit is not supported. I called the Apple support line and the rep said I needed to downgrade my computer from a 64-bit operating system. I also posted about my concerns on the Apple iPhone discussion forums but my post was quickly removed.

Consumers discovering for the first time what Apple's unofficial support policy is - 'silence the complainants' - isn't going to help Apple in the long term in this huge market.

A Beautiful Product

Whether the iPhone is ready to compete in the cellphone market or not it's still a dazzling product. It's been shown to hold up remarkably well to wear and tear. It may not have the features seasoned cellphone addicts are used to but it's a new technology and assuming everything works as before eliminates any need to buy again.

Already accepting a 'yesterday' network instead of the latest and fastest puts a damper on consumer enthusiasm. When the network provider can't provide things can go bad fast. These are the kind of issues that are supposed to be worked out before the product is released. It's called 'planning'.

Scariest of all is the suspicion iPhone applications are running connected to the Internet as root. Those who've said all along Apple are suffering from the Ian Malcolm Syndrome™ - they use Unix but neither understand it or appreciate it - are getting grist for their mills.

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