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The whyPhone

Whyphone

Just sent back my loan iPhone after a few weeks use, and to be honest I was happy to see it go. I found it a bit underwhelming actually (in fact it stayed in the box towards the end of the period). Why?

  • You need to charge it every day? Wow, how quaint.
  • Very unimpressed with the feature set. I use my Nokia 6110 a lot on my travels, and often have the GPS running alongside the MP3 player and Fring for IM. Forget any of that with the Apple product.
  • Restricted add-on applications. I run a bunch of third party games and freeware on my Symbian handsets. It looks like there’s never going to be the same level of choice on the iPhone, even with the new SDK, due to the restrictive licensing for developers. No VoIP over the network? No un-registered programs? No multi-tasking? Wow.
  • You can’t swap batteries out? I am used to carrying around a spare battery for my devices so I can do a fast weekend swap without worrying about lugging a charger with me. The lack of that option is a real fail for me.
  • The on-screen keyboard looks great, but it’s a nightmare for pudgy fingers.
  • Kind of clumsy. This is even more subjective, but I really don’t like the klunky touchscreen interface for phones. For example, SMS is so much faster on a keypad. Really. But of course YMMV. And yuck to smeary screens. :-)
  • Pocket scary. Silly but true. I got a bit paranoid about carrying around all that sleek glass in my pocket. Which made me realise why I like compact handsets so much. Less damage vulnerable real estate. Yes you can use a cover, but that’s more bulk.
  • The iTunes connection. I don’t like being forced to install iTunes just to use my mobile phone. I don’t like iTunes. I resented having to install it with Quicktime when that was mandatory and this is even worse.

That’s it really. I can see why lots of people like the thing. It’s a beautiful design, has a lovely simple user interface and the Safari browser on a WiFi connection is glorious. But that’s one very small function out of a possible multitude of possibilities that the iPhone doesn’t do, and I just found the whole experience pretty disappointing.

The lack of high speed mobile broadband also doesn’t help of course. And tying it into one single service provider per country is just silly. Sure there’s an unlock hack, but who wants the hassle of having to run a warranty breaking unlock each time there’s a new firmware update? Anyway, horses for courses, four million people are apparently very happy with theirs. For now I’ll stick to the less glamorous but more useful alternatives. 

 

5 Comments

  • “The on-screen keyboard looks great, but itís a nightmare for pudgy fingers.”

    That was a deal killer for me. Actually, you’ll have a problem if you have long finger nails as well, since you need to “touch” instead of just “click”.

    As for the smudges/scratchs, I think there is a “clear coat” plastic wrap thing that is supposed to protect it very well, but as a status symbol, I suppose having an immaculate iPhone is up there with having a wrist watch with a million swiss-movement parts. That would also explain the recharging/rewind everyday business.

    It’s just marketing prestige to the masses.

  • I agree with Kainnon and you Nigel.
    Iphones looks nice, but that’s it. As of all Apple products, to get more features and useful functions, you have to buy a newer versions or buy expensive/limited add-ons.

    The Nokia N77, N95, N96, and the other N-series are far superior in every aspect.

    I love my N95 so much, I wouldn’t even take a free Iphone.

  • Well I don’t want to knock Apple really, they have a stunning design team who produce some breathtaking work, and their products always have one or two delightful features that make you go ‘wow’. It’s just that overall I do feel you have to compromise just a bit too much to jump on board their marketing wagon. :-)

    And boy do I love this Nokia Navigator! :-)

  • I think the iPhone works great for the Americans but I doubt it will ever take off to the same level anywhere else in the world. Goodness knows when they’ll even be available here in Oz, maybe 2012?

    Hopefully, the one good thing about the iPhone is that it’s made people like Nokia and S/E think a little more about usability and less about massive feature sets and confusing controls. Do some things well instead of all things mediocrely.

    And I’m with the rest of the commenters, my N73 is shortly giving way to an N82. Yay for good cameras and Nokia Lifeblog – Love that program!

  • Well, the only thing that Apple has going with it is its design. Workmanship of the innards are not very impressive (explosions anyone?)

    They’re probably the #1 retailers of music players/phones, but they’re also the #1 when it comes to waste. (can’t upgrade hardware and units get outdated fast)

    I have a family member who ‘loves’ Apple and has their products. Apple products just feels suited for people who want something that looks pretty, rather than for the functionality and flexibility of everything else.

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