Well, it's finally here, and the world has had a couple of weeks to prod at the new baby, so I think it's time to come out of the closet. You see, there's a lot to like about the iPhone, but there's also quite a lot to hate about the iPhone. I myself am an avid proponent of Apple products, but I find myself scratching my head as to some of the design, interface, and marketing choices made by Apple and AT&T for the iPhone.
So much more could have been done with this product that it absolutely boggles the mind why so many features are missing! Granted, some are missing by design, because of the limitations imposed upon the device by the bean polishers at The Big "T", but when you look at other missing features, you just have to scratch your head and think, "WTF?" Most of the problems with the iPhone could be solved with software updates, but it remains to be seen whether or not such things will exist, and how frequent they may be if they appear.
1. No USB Disk Mode. It's bad enough that the iPhone doesn't have a memory card slot, even though it does have more internal storage than just about any other phone out there, but iPods have had this functionality since Day One, and it's lack here is truly puzzling. It's hard to imagine, for me anyway, what possible downside there could be to AT&T by including this feature, so why the absence? BTW, don't even get me started on the discontinuation of FireWire support in iPods...but this also means no downloading files on the iPhone, then later transferring them to my desktop.
2. No tethering. Now, this really just pisses me off. I don't ever use a Bluetooth phone as my primary Internet connection, but there are times that I need it. Because of this, I'll have to maintain a second phone just for the occasional, but critical, remote Internet access.
3. No user widgets. I really thought that Apple wasn't serious when they said "Web 2.0". It's quite clear that iPhone widgets are exactly the same as Dashboard widgets, so why can't I sync widgets from my desktop machine? Perhaps this will happen with Mac OS X v10.5?
4. The contract cancellation fee. This is just usurious and insulting. Carriers have always justified their cancellation fees by subsudizing the hardware, but the iPhone has no such subsidy.
5. No Bluetooth synchronization, and no Bluetooth file transfer. Why bother with a Bluetooth radio at all? Just so you can use a headset? Bluetooth headsets are more of a PITA than a help. Somewhere around here, I have a Samsung WEP200. I lost it because I stopped using it because the battery life was pathetic.
6. No Wi-Fi synchronization. Less of a problem then the lack of Bluetooth sync, because the Wi-Fi is otherwise useful.
7. No Infrared. Please, please, please let me do away with every infrared remote in my life, starting with the Apple units included with my iMac and MacBook (and future AppleTV).
8. No HSDPA. I understand Apple's explanation, but I don't buy it. Maybe this can be a firmware upgrade. I read somewhere that Palm was doing this with one of the Treo's, so we can only hope. (Before you get all up in arms about differing radios for EDGE and HSDPA, rest assured I know at least a little bit about software defined radios)
9. No voice dialing. In a phone without physical buttons? Are they insane?
10. No synchronization of text notes. What good is it if I can make notes on the iPhone, but not share them with my desktop?
11. No Flash and No Java. I have hopes that Adobe will eventually offer Flash for the iPhone, but the lack of a J2ME environment is upsetting. Not that I'm the biggest fan of Java in general, or J2ME, specifically, but it works for some things.
12. No RSS feed reader. This really should have been part of the browser, just as it is in the desktop Safari. I use the RSS feed reader on my Nokia 770 all the time, despite its limitations.
13. Only 200 messages per IMAP account. This is patently ridiculous. The whole point of IMAP is that the mail can be stored on the server, and only the headers need come down to the client until a specific message is desired. Of course, this doesn't even begin to address the spam question, which is the biggest problem facing mobile email users. Until somebody gets a decent Bayesian filter setup that will work comfortably on a mobile, mobile email isn't very useful at all.
14. No removable battery. OK, so it has decent battery life, but I've grown accustomed over the years with my Palm phones to keeping a extra battery in the cradle. A low battery means a "swap and go", rather than a wire tether.
15. No voice recorder. I don't even use this often, but it's a really nice feature to have in my Samsung SPH-i500 Palm phone. It should be in the iPhone.
16. Desktop computer required. Come one, guys, it's 2007 already. The iPhone has the power to be a completely stand-alone system. Why isn't it? Why can't I access a Darwin Calendar Server with it directly? Again, when Mac OS X Server v 10.5 comes out, maybe this will change, but I'm not holding my breath.
17. No QuickTime in the browser. And this thing was made by Apple???
18. YouTube. Fsck YouTube. I would have been more impressed with a custom movie trailer client for Apple's trailer site.
19. The camera is on the back. Which is fine for taking pictures (What, you don't already own a digital camera that takes even better pictures?), but rules out videoconferencing, which also means...No iChat AV client. Of course, Apple would really need an iChat AV client for Windows, first. I've asked for it, and I'm still waiting.
20. No 802.11n. This is really going to make people angry in a couple of years, unless a new iPhone model that includes "n" appears and is such a significant upgrade that you'd be silly to stick with Version 1.0.
What really burns my ass about all this is that we can all see the potential of the iPhone, and if we can see it, Apple can see it, too. It's not a phone, it's a handheld computer that happens to have a phone built-in.
Everything else the iPhone does, it does so well that it makes you wonder what the people at Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, and the rest having been doing all these years. So, in the end, I'll probably get one. Right now, I'm sitting on the cash desperately trying not to rush out to the AT&T or Apple store to get one. I think perhaps I'll wait until the appearance of a significant software update, just to reassure myself that Apple will actually produce them.