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.