When Apple announced the iPhone last week, it was very literally the talk of the town. There were a couple of naysayers here and there, but for the most part, everyone gushed about it (myself included, but I was at CES and didn’t get any blog posts in – but I did mention it on my video). Now the news keeps rolling in, including iSuppli’s cost analysis (and minor rebuttal – Paul makes a good point, but they will definitely make at least a 30% margin on the phone), Om’s discussion of “the fluid UI”, and my favorite posts, David Pogues iPhone FAQ (now in 2 parts).
It’s been just over a week, and while I am still impressed with Apple’s innovations (and their ability to keep a secret), I’m a lot lessed Wow’ed than I was then (BTW – can I still use the word Wow or is that now a Microsoft trademark?). Interestingly, with each person I speak with on it, I hear the same themes echoing back to me. Here are my biggest gripes:
- No streaming video. So you have this beautiful device with amazing capabilities and a gorgeous screen and it can’t stream video. I get that they want to make more money by selling video (such as episodes of The Office) via iTunes, but there are literally over a dozen phones on the market today that can play 30fps video.
- Sub-par Internet access. Cingular EDGE instead of UMTS or Sprint/Verizon EVDO? Huh? So it can render Web pages really well, but they take an hour to load!
- No 10-key. I don’t care if it’s considered outdated, when I am in the car, I need the ability to dial without looking. Not up for debate. Either make an amazing force-feedback system, or give me a dialpad.
- No Outlook/Exchange sync. We’re supposed to buy the most expensive phone out there, which are primarily purchased by business people, and it doesn’t synchronize with our email and calendar automatically? Third-party applications are not an acceptable solution on “the best” phone.
- Locked-down OS. If they want to spoon-feed us content, I understand. But to restrict the applications on the thing? Ridiculous.
I can actually go on and on. At the end of the day, the GUI innovations and nice form factor (okay, amazing form factor) simply aren’t enough to get this to the masses. The whole two-finger interaction model is cool, but I don’t see it pushing consumers over the edge. Furthermore, the argument that people ready to buy a $400 iPod will spend an extra $200 to get the phone just doesn’t hold water.
Also, the “experience” effect here is in no way the same as that of the iPod. The iPod drove to massive success specifically because of iTunes and the experience of delivering purchased music to the player. The “experience” is more than the user interface, and more than the sleek packaging – it’s the ability to buy the phone and have everything simply work, and work well. And for the reasons above (and so many more), I am not really all that impressed with what I know about the iPhone experince.