Last week I published an article about my initial experience with my brother’s pride and joy, his iPhone. I found the iPhone to be lacking in several areas compared to my Windows Mobile Professional device. Since then I have been delving deeper into the virtues of iPhones and found even more astonishing lacks that I hadn’t noticed or had taken for granted would naturally be there. The inability to highlight, copy, cut, and paste is one example.
In this article, I have included my initial observations and added some new ones for a condensed list of 30 features lacking in the iPhone. I say condensed because I have subsumed some items into a single point. For example, rather than list all the peripherals the iPhone does not support, I merely say that it doesn’t support peripherals. At the end of the article, I try to be fair by pointing out what I like about the iPhone in its current stage of evolution.
I suppose you could call this a wish list, but it is still an inventory of what I found lacking in an iPhone. There may be more, but I grow weary of the process. Here is my condensed list:
1. It won’t perform simple computer operations such as word processing, spreadsheets, relational databases, and PowerPoint presentations
2. You can’t use your own MP3 sounds to make ringtones.
3. No GPS
4. No MMS
5. No expansion slots
6. No flash camera
7. Doesn’t take videos
8. Doesn’t have dual cameras for video conferences and self-portraits; you can’t take screen shots either; only has 2.0 MPX
9. There’s no QWERTY keyboard or even a phone keypad. Instead, it has a klutsy popup input panel. It took me five minutes to type my name correctly without any errors owing to my fingers being on the gorilla end of the scale. The input panel is made for fingers of a five-year old.
10. Can’t even perform the simple operations of highlight, copy, cut, and paste
11. Doesn’t have an eBook reader program
12. No InfraRed–can’t beam files, photos, tunes, text, contacts, applications
13. Doesn’t have Bluetooth 2.0
14. Can’t use wireless Bluetooth headphones
15. Won’t work with optical eyewear players
16. Doesn’t have 802.11 g/e Wi-Fi
17. Doesn’t have universal mini-USB connector for syncing and charging
18. Doesn’t have real downloadable programs, only Web Apps that force you to go online to use. What if you don’t want the expense of going online or there is no connection? Apple boasts 600 Web Apps. Windows Mobile has 12,000+ actual programs.
19. You can’t transfer files between devices or even to a MAC with an iPhone, and there’s no peer to peer connectivity possible either.
20. There’s no removable battery. You have to send the unit to Apple at your own expense and suffer downtime. Wow.
21. There are no peripherals for the iPhone such as a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, headphones, GPS, printer, scanner, hard drives, storage cards, video eyewear, or projectors.
22. There are no voice commands for viewing photos, videos, files, listening to tunes, or running applications. I really enjoy bossing my pocket concierge around with voice commands. You can’t talk to iPhones; you have to poke them in the tummy with your finger to get them to do anything.
23. You can’t watch and control your home TV DVR remotely from anywhere in the world
24. There’s no FM or satellite radio
25. You can’t use an iPhone as an extension of your desktop monitor and move the mouse and data between them.
26. Touch screen is not sensitive to a standard stylus, only a blunt instrument like a finger or a ball-peen hammer.
27. Finger gestures are crazy-making on a page with lots of hyperlinks because you cannot point precisely
28. Cannot change page transitions or animations
29. You cannot control your computer or anything else remotely with an iPhone; you can’t even have the fun of using it in a bar to change the TV channels surreptitiously.
30. No programmable hardware buttons for easy control and access to such functions as volume control, camera, and digital recording.
My initial conclusion is reinforced even more:
When you want to do serious handheld computing, you need a machine that means business and serves for more than poking fun at with your nose picker. I appreciated my tour as a stranger in the strange land of the iPhone, and thanks for the finger frolics, but I’ll stick with my far more powerful Windows Mobile device.
However, I hasten to acknowledge that the iPhone does what it does very well indeed. I never had it hang up on me and never had to reset it. The screen is crystal clear and the graphics a pleasure to view. The finger-friendly navigation has its problems and limitations but it is still a smooth solution that is fun to do. Everything on the system is easy to implement and ideally suited for consumers who do not know about or care about power computing on a handheld device.
The bottom line is that in a year, iPhone has made a huge splash in the handheld market and is a tremendous success by any measure. I am grateful to Apple for raising the bar and Microsoft had better pay attention if it wants to compete. I am also pleased that Apple took control of its product instead of the sponsoring telco (AT&T) dictating the terms. This is a healthy precedent that I hope will eclipse the power of the telcos and be the end to the silly stuff they put on phones to fill their pockets.
In an excellent and thoughtful article, Hal Goldstein, the Publisher of Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine offers a list of five things for which we can thank iPhone. To view the article, click here.
Finally, I want to point out that the iPhone platform is still in its infancy. I remember when I first made the switch from Palm to Pocket PC. There was an embarrassing lack of applications for the latter platform, and it took a while for developers to create them. Apple has opened the door for third party developers to create applications for the iPhone, and I expect the flood gates to open wide with a plethora of new software. Just around the corner is the release of a second version of iPhone, which may have already addressed some of the issues I raise in my list, but I’m not an insider here. In any case, I expect that most of the items on the list above can be checked off as time goes by. But, for now, I’m sticking with my WM device and will wait until I can do things like word processing with a Bluetooth keyboard, take videos, use Bluetooth headphones, highlight, copy, cut, and paste before I consider an iPhone seriously.