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 I don’t care if it’s considered outdated, when I am in the car, I need the ability to dial without looking.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.
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sooooo…don’t buy one then?
as long as they have some sort of voice dial, or you have a bluetooth with voice commands, you should be fine in the car. my motorola ihf1000 lets you dial any numbers you want by voice control through bluetooth, not dependent on any phone capabilities.
it should sync fine with exchange over IMAP.
i agree with you about the EDGE, it is very disappointing, too bad it’s not 3G although the current 3G phones with Cingular all have sucky battery life, so maybe that is the issue. I’m sure there will be an iPhone 3G next year.
Maybe they will do something interesting with the WiFi, Cingular does not have a very large WiFi presence like T-Mobile, but perhaps some combo EDGE/WIFi iPhone plan is in the works.
Agree with Jason…don’t buy one.
It’s not for mainstream and it’s not for business customers. Apple is hoping to sell 10 million in 1.5 years (1% market share).
Um. You’re having an issue with your top left sidebar.
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Dial with your voice.
Jason/Pwb – no worries, I have no plans to buy one, I’ve never spent more than $199 on a phone, and I don’t intend to spend triple that anytime soon, especially for the reasons I stated above… By the way, 10 million units in a year is a LOT of phones!!!
Hugh – I know, it’s this plugin that is soon to get cut from the site. 😉
Benlong – I don’t want to… that’s the problem!
Actually I hope you don’t buy one so I won’t have to wait in line as long for mine 🙂 🙂
I do agree that if the system is particularly closed, it will be a shame since there could be very “internet communicator” nice features that Apple may not have time/money/interest in writing. eg RSS reader sync’d with bloglines, or newgator, or google reader; Google calendar or Yahoo calendar sync; PDA reference tools available for Palm or Windows Mobile. We’ll see how closed it really is when it ships…
When you’re in the car you need to dial without looking? No, you need to not be on the phone and you need to drive. That’s such a ridiculous argument I can’t even believe I’m making a comment about it.
Let me guess, you’re one of the people that cut me off today because you weren’t paying attention while you were trying to dial your cell phone?
Streaming video? really? how often you going to use that? and if it had streaming video, you’d bitch about something else.
I’d go one… but really… give me a break
Jason: you definitely get my place in the line. 🙂
Michael: if you actually read my blog for longer than today, you’d probably know I was NOT one of those people. The fact is – people make calls while driving today – I wasn’t the first, and I won’t be the last. So would you rather these drivers have to LOOK at the screen, or can at least dial without looking via a 10-key dialpad??
And regarding streaming video on the phone? Well, I started using it about a year ago with my Slingbox, and haven’t stopped since.
I’m all for a constructive debate, but do me the favor of reading a little about me and my background before you come in and tell me how I live and what I do. Give ME a break.
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iPhone is COOL even if you do not buy into it. The brilliance of Mr. Jobs is he takes everything to the next level. There are better products on the market but Apple continues to be the leader ruling entertainment media and now cellular. It does not matter if you don’t want one, BTW I also don’t,but the fact that my daughter wants it changes everything. Kid’s promote Apple,just ask them. Apple is the future. I like Sprint but they just fired thousands of people. What else could be said.
Pretty much sums it up:
i agree with Mark Kelso.
i’m 18, and use a variety of mac products. i’ve used mac comps my whole life and have more faith with apple than i ever will with microsoft. i use macs for my digital photography, and for working as a photographer, but apple is also hip. everyone i know has an ipod, because those are considered some of the hottest things ANYONE can own.
I’m pretty skeptical about the iPhone too, for many of the reasons you list. But I’m going to wait until I actually try one before I pass final judgement on the UI, the featureset, or the Price.
As for the iPod. I don’t think the iTunes music store was essential to it’s success. The iPod and built an early following without the music store. That following grew when they added Windows support, without the music store. In fact, in the early days, Windows users didn’t even have iTunes, they used MusicMatch Jukebox, and still iPod momentum grew. Now we have iTunes for Windows, and iTMS, and still, most iPod owners have purchased, at most, probably a few dozen songs.
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Hi, my explanations the gripes you mention, are a result of the technology not yet being available to make them *simply* work, in the sense of an iPod.
I think the success of the iPod is caused precisely by trading features for simplicity.
In a few years, we should see iPhones with more features for less money. Except the keypad, but when I had a touchscreen Treo I hardly ever used that.
My most important worry by the way is how vulnerable the TouchScreen could be….
And oh another worry is that I don’t see why I would even want the features it has… I mean, both the Phone and iPod i have need to break before I would consider buying this one.
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“when I am in the car, I need the ability to dial without looking”
Excuse me, WTF?! Howza about doing the rest of us a favor, and don’t use your cell phone while driving?
Mark Kelso/Pip – I never said it isn’t cool, I think the design is fabulous, and if you reread the post, I mention several aspects of the phone that are quite impressive. My point is, a week later and I am no longer as wowed BY those things as I was on day one.
You have done a good job of summarizing the voice of the collective hive-mind to date. (Compliment, not a snark.)
Of course, this is like critiquing your online date’s spelling until she walks into the room and she turns out to be (fill in the blank with your favorite hottie, I would say Claudia Cardinale c. 8 1/2). Her flaws on paper will vanish, along with your critical judgement and the contents of your wallet.
The real test will be using one in person. Or, rather, the level of intense gadget envy that people will experience once this thing is out in the wild. A level reserved previously for Gizmodo/Engadget addicts will reach the mainstream.
The effect that the iPhone will have overall will be to raise the game of cellphone UI hopefully, so that randomly accessible voicemail (to cite an early feature) will become mainstream. And as the iPhone evolves it will force the others to do so as well. (Insert your own snipe about Microsoft here.)
I am sticking with my beloved Samsung Palm phone for the moment.
Shut up and drive! You are just as impaired as a drunk when you use the phone while driving!
you are abolutely PROHIBTED from ever ever owning an iPhone. Let’s see you NOT put your money where your mouth is!
Re. #2 – EDGE vs. EVDO. You’re right, we’d all prefer proper 3G services. But the single most important factor for a cellphone is that it be a GSM platform – try travelling anywhere outside the US with a Verizon or Sprint phone and you’re in a planet-sized dead spot. So since that’s the case, the US carrier of choice could ONLY be Cingular or T-Mobile, and they only have EDGE. So yes, it’s a shame, but there you go. Blame the incredibly crap US cellphone market instead of Apple.
If you continue to drive and talk on the phone at the same time, maybe you can look forward to getting an expensive ticket (Washinton DC and other places it is totally illegal), or perhaps get away with it for a while, before you run over a pedestrian (you know, those people who use those extremities called legs and feet).
Bad example. I don’t care if “everyone else is doing it.” Shame on you.
Well said, m’man.
why does everyone moan about what is does not do now – it’s a pre-release product that will likely change come July.
Also, all these arguments and more are debunked over at http://www.roughlydrafted.com
Little appeal to the masses is the definition of 1% market share. Stick with your PC and your Blackberry. You will be happier in conformity.
It always perplexes me that people rational enough to form a cogent argument and write it in a blog are so irrational that they persist in well-known dangerous behaviors.
Answering a call while driving to quickly say, “I’ll call you back” is the most that should be done on a phone.
Initiating a call while driving is pure, irresponsible idiocy.
There’s no shortage of people who would pay $400 for a wide touch screen video ipod alone.
$100 for the rest is a steal.
Apple knows price is no barrier for the loyal early adopters, and people will be waiting for an iPhone becuse of short supply.
In a year, the price will drop with all of your minor complaints fixed/tweaked via firmware updates, and by then every other carrier will want in on the platform.
The same kind of people that didn’t/don’t “get” the iPod don’t “get” the iPhone either. It is going to be a very popular and very nice phone.
Hello? The iPhone is 5 months from shipping–the only reason why we know what we currently do is because the FCC needs several months for it’s review. No doubt there are features that Steve didn’t disclose at Macworld that will be present on the iPhone by the time it ships.
I find it strange that you (and others) think that the iPhone isn’t for business users. Of course it! It already talks to Exchange servers via IMAP, so that’s a non-issue. Business users need technology that just works and iPhone promises to do that.
Streaming video? You’re kidding, right? Apple sells the infrastructure for streaming video–Xserve and Mac OS X Server, which every copy comes with QuickTime Streaming Server. There willstreaming video on the iPhone.
All of that other stuff will come as it makes sense. 3G isn’t that widely deployed on Cingular/AT&T yet, but it will be.
Finally, there will be 3rd party development for the iPhone–it just won’t be a free for all.
I’m laughing my rock-hard a** off at the self-righteous metrosexuals who are just shocked, SHOCKED that not only can some people walk and chew gum at the same time, some of us can drive and talk at the same time. And we do it safely, courteously, and also without failing to signal our lane-changes and 90º turns. And, where I live, we do it legally, too. Now if talking on the cell phone makes you poor girly-men steer like a drunken bus driver, then by all means, DON’T DO IT. And make sure you take your umbrella with you if looks a little cloudy outside, okay? Have a safe day!!!
Posted a comment including your article in response to my colleague’s desire for the new iSplooge.
[..]From LiveDigitally.com and some of the reasons why I just bought a new Cingular 8525…[…]
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