5 Reasons why I love the iPhone and 20 reasons why the iPhone isn’t for me

June 7th 2010 Apple debuts the iPhone 4 at WWDC.  It's an incredibly sleek, well engineered masterpiece.  Wrought by custom glass and steel (that also acts as the antenna!) form what I believe to be the pinnacle of designed devices.  Combined by the fact that it is the most supported mobile platform, it's easy to see why the iPhone is such a compelling bauble.  And yet, as much as I can admit the iPhone is a fantastic Smartphone, it's not for me.  And here's why:

When I first bought my iPhone 3G, I quickly saw all the cool things they were doing right.  But whenever I wanted to do something that I could always do on my WinMo5 phone but couldn’t on the iPhone, I slowly realized it was like two steps forward, three steps back.  Almost as soon as I could, I jailbroke my phone to try and finagle more features out of the iPhone.  Things I expected from a smart phone.  And I did.  But I quickly grew tired of the cat and mouse game between the scene and Apple.  As fate would have it, my wife’s iPhone died and I gave her mine and went to explore other mobile OS’.  After seeing the iPhone 4 at WWDC 2010, I have to say, I’m impressed.  However, I just can’t go back to the iPhone, I’ll explain why later, but first let me tell you the

5 Reasons why I love the iPhone

1: The Apps

They have shitloads of apps!

APP’s, this is such a huge reason to love the iPhone.  Soon Apple will have 100 million iOS devices in the wild.  100 MILLION! That’s 1/3 the population of the USA.  And because of this number, developers flock to Apple’s App Store in hopes to make millions.  And what you have is a vicious cycle.  All of the apps are on the App store. So if you want to have any hopes of making money, you have to develop for this platform.  And people see this, so if people want apps they have to buy an iOS device.  The ultimate result is: EVERYONE develops for iOS devices.

2: The Finish

Even ALL the way back to the iPhone 2G, the main menu was responsive.  Pinching and Zooming was a neato effect that wasn’t just a gimmick.  It was an honest to goodness new way to control a device with such a small screen and make it more usable.  Even though it took forever to get to iOS 4.0, which is actually starting to resemble an actual smart phone, the whole user experience has always been responsive.  So even though you couldn’t do simple mechanics like multitasking or copy and paste in the early years, it didn’t matter.  Because the finish of the featureless OS was a SUPER high sheen polish.  And now that iOS 4.0 is out, it has a good portion of the features that were available in my 2005 WinMo5 device, but with that really nice finish that gels everything together.

3: The Design

Nothing really needs to be stated here.  Apple can design their asses off.  I was a huge fan of the iPhone 3G/3GS, but now that I see the iPhone 4, by Grabthar’s hammer, what ingenuity.  Matching design with usability.  Truly the iPhone 4 is the pinnacle of design.  This is what all engineers should aspire to create.  I do believe that Apple has placed the bar even higher with the iPhone 4.

4: The iPod

I’m going to miss this a lot as well.  Again, it really doesn’t need to be stated.  The iPod functionality works really well.  There is a reason the iPod sells so well.  Besides just being a trendy thing to buy, it is honestly a fluid, well thought out music player.  The only thing I don’t like about the iPod is… well, I’ll get to that in a bit.

5: The Visual VoiceMail

This was a really nice feature when I first got my iPhone 3G.  I’m going to miss it when I move on to Android and other phone OS’ as the years go on.

Now that you’ve got this far, let me explain the

20 Reasons why the iPhone isn’t for me

1: iTunes

It’s crap.  Pure crap.  It’s bloated and super slow. And it’s the ONLY way to get anything meaningful on your iPhone.  Every time I have to load up iTunes, my stomach turns.  Heaven forbid something goes wonky on your iPhone and you’ve never synced before.  Why in the world do I have to delete everything on my phone so that my iPhone mirrors *from* iTunes. Can’t I have it so whatever is on my iPhone gets mirrored *to* iTunes? Apparently, I can’t.  I hate this software.

2: Flaky App Store policy

I’ve read numerous stories from developers on the horrors of submitting apps to Apple.  And how approved apps can somehow, magically, no longer be approved.  One app that I would have liked was called Nescaline.  A few hours after the app was approved, it was taken down.  More than likely, Nintendo told Apple to take it down.  But still, this is a clear example of why it would be important to side load.

3: No ability to side load

This is pretty self explanatory.  Apple prevents users from side loading apps to prevent malware from infecting users with malacious code.  Also they want to control how people create apps.  And they want their 30% of the pie.  I don’t really blame them for choosing this option.  It is a safer way to do things.  But this is something that is integral to the app ecosystem and sadly something that can never be “fixed”.  It’s not really broken, but for a person like me, it is “broken”.

4: No flash support or anything else they don’t agree with.

Android 2.2 has shown us what Adobe’s Flash looks like on a Mobile OS.  Surprisingly it has features like “off”, “on demand” and “always on”.  I’m a person who likes choices.  For me, what I would choose would be “on demand” This way, I get to have my cake and eat it too.  Unfortunately, Apple’s position towards completely banning Adobe’s Flash makes me nervous to even begin supporting a system that would determine what I am able to use or not.  Regardless of all the good reasons Flash should be disabled, give me the opportunity to decide if I want to or not.  However, I realize it’s Apple’s platform and they can do as they choose.  Thankfully, I still have a choice OS which allows such software to run when I want it.  Maybe even WinPho7 in the future.

5: No way to sync wirelessly

Why?  This is just another example of how the iPhone is a companion device and not a true mobile computer.

6: No expandable memory support

This just sucks.  I refuse to believe Apple engineers can’t design a MicroSD expansion slot.  More than likely this is not featured to try and curtail any hacking attempts or running modified code.  Or it’s just a money grab.  $100 for every capacity tier?

7: No user replaceable battery

I don’t know why they don’t allow this.  I can’t really think of any exploits that can happen with a battery swap.  “maybe” to prevent people from buying cheap Hong Kong batteries?  Perhaps, but you can find Hong Kong replaceable batteries on eBay quite easily.  So that obviously doesn’t enter into it.  More than likely, this is another money grab.

8: No other formfactors

Truly NOBODY makes the formfactor I want.  Basically, I am looking for something like the PSPgo.  Meaning, slide-out game controls.  With two analog nubs preferably.  However, while no one has this formfactor now.  There has only EVER been one iPhone model a year.  The chances are just greater it will appear in the future on Android or WinPho7 devices.

9: Crippled modem with horrible upload speed

This is an actual thing.  I always just thought it was AT&T that had such atrocious upload speeds.  When I bought my i8910 is when I realized that AT&T’s upload speed was WAYYY better than what the iPhone 3G or 3GS allowed.

Click here for the Run down:  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/07/slow-chip-iphone3gs/

***It’s worth pointing out that Apple fixed this issue with the iPhone4***

10: Closed system, no chance of building new features

Again, I understand why Apple wants to keep it this way.  But it prevents other people from maybe *gasp* doing a better job than what Apple did.  Homescreen replacements, Intelliscreen from jailbroken phones, widgets.  All things I would like.  But you know what’s even cooler than that?  How about someone hacking the USB driver on Android to have the USB port work as a host device.  Badass.

11: No file system support

Again, I understand why Apple would want to close this off, however not being able to just drill down to a file I want and opening said file should spring forth the application with the capability to use the file.  Jury rigging pdf’s through email was a horrible way to sort through pdf’s.  If I have to create a label within gmail to facilitate a HUGE discrepancy within your OS, JUST to be able to read PDFs, something is very wrong.

Hell, when a CROWD of people give huge applause to PDF support within iBooks for the iPad, something is very wrong.

12: No task manager to view cpu history/free ram/uptime

Maybe it’s just the system administrator in me.  But I love task managers.  I am such a huge fan of Sysinternals Task manager. It is my defacto task manager.  I just like looking at cpu graphs and available ram.  Why are you looking at me like that?

13: Very little codec support.

That’s all there is to it.  My Samsung Galaxy S supports MKV, MP4, Divx3/4/5 and a slew of other codecs.  Eventually Zodttd will port VLC to Android.  Transcoding everything is just a huge hassle.  I’d rather just copy over the files I have and play them.  Why is this so difficult?

14: Slow to embrace new or existing formats Apple isn’t interested in.

Again, let me call back to the massive applause for PDF support within iBooks.  Or how about the crippled profiles within Bluetooth?  My shitty Symbian s60v5 device can print over bluetooth.  I just don’t think Apple cares about certain things that other people might actually find useful.

15: Limited ability to use a connected iPhone as flash storage.

When I connect my phone to my computer, I’d like the file system exposed to me.  Hell, quarantine off some private things if you must.  Symbian does it.

16: No deferred sms

If you try to send an SMS/MMS with the iPhone and you don’t have service.  It doesn’t defer the message to be sent at a later date.  No, you have to manually push send when you get into a coverage zone.

17: No way to fix the predictive typing

I ducking hate it when the phone corrects my typing.  This is one UI element that really sucks on the iPhone.  When you are typing the word that you want and the auto correct comes above and you press SPACE, the corrected word replaces what you typed.  Forcing you to delete what it corrected and type it again.  Then you wind up playing chicken with your iPhone to see if the words that you WANT to spell like that are going to be replaced or not.  So after you finish typing you just sit and wait to see if a bubble appears above your word, so you can click the X button.  Truly terrible design here.

18: Can’t create a mobile AP

All of the mobile carriers are probably responsible for this.  Still, Android, Symbian and WinMo can do it.  Android is much easier, but I still have the option in Sym/WinMo.

19: Completely missing bluetooth profiles

Most likely another decision to not transfer songs and such to your computer.  Same reason you can’t mirror your stuff on the iPhone TO the computer.  Purposely crippled bluetooth profile.  Or Print OTG,  Shit about 20 other bluetooth profiles don’t work on the iPhone.

20: Blocked Third party accessories

One time, I bought cheapo composite cables for my iPhone 3G.  They worked real nice and were $35 dollars cheaper than anywhere else.  Than a firmware update came out and when I plugged the cables in, my iPhone said,  “This accessory not made to work with iPhone.”  Awesome.  If this isn’t a clear money grab.  I don’t know what else is.

Conclusion

Even though Apple’s “walled garden” is absolutely beautiful, some parts of the garden don’t make much sense.  And the worst part to top it off, even though Apple has made an exemplary garden they’ve tried to protect, bugs still get inside.  Things still crash.  Out of nowhere Facebook will completely disappear from your apps page but still show up “Installed” forcing you to completely destroy your walled garden and have iTunes rebuild it.

In the end, I’ve realized that while the walled garden has the most fruit, what’s outside is far more beautfiul.

Tags:
avatar

About Phawx

Reviewer and Idea Man extraordinaire, Cary Golomb plays the role of jack-of-all-trades behind the scenes as a part of the Brain Trust and ownership of the site. At 11′ 7″, Cary is the tallest man ever to win the Boston Marathon. He is a large, predatory reptile known to attack livestock and drink their blood. Witnesses of his handiwork claim he is able to drain a cow of all of its blood and most of its internal organs in less than 30 seconds. His name literally translates to “The Goat Sucker.”