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How I learned to stop worrying and love the iPhone.

Sorry this blog has been dead (again) for so long. I’ve been busy indulging myself in my new toy lol.

But before I tell you more, let me cue you into a little secret. Like every other self-respecting, self-proclaimed geek out there, I used to hate the iPhone, especially the first few generations of. With a passion.

Why? It used outdated hardware, was based on a closed, iTunes-centric ecosystem, and the software it was based on a simplistic, modding unfriendly OS that didn’t even allow multi-tasking (pffft). The camera was crap too.

And yet here I am, holding and typing this post on an iPhone 4 that I bought earlier this month, playing with it to the point that I stopped writing much here. (There was also work, but that’s another story).

What could I do, my trusty E71 died and no other phone on sale at that time even remotely tickled my fancy. Sure, the iPhone 5 is coming a half a year’s time but try not having a smartphone in your hands for almost a month.

Things were made worse by Nokia’s silence regarding any upcoming models. Plus the fact that I was ALREADY wasting money on apps through my brother’s iPhone 4.

So I gave up and got myself the phone I had ridiculed almost as long as it had existed.

Either way, now that I’m actually committed to using an iPhone for quite some time to come, let’s see the things I think Apple did right this time, and things they still couldn’t get right.

Let’s start out with the things they did right enough.

The screen

Oh the screen. It might not ACTUALLY be retina bending in any way (or then again, it might) but is IS razor sharp. It’s probably due to this that the iPhone is the only phone I can stand to surf the Internet in portrait orientation with for long periods of time.

It might not be no AMOLED in terms of colour but it’s still the sharpest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.

For now anyway.

The One Model Policy

Ever wondered why there are an endless stream of third party accessories for any of the iPhones when other makes seem to be lucky to even get a few cases and screen protectors? This is where Apple’s decision to stick to just ONE model to be sold per year shines.

Sure you can argue that certain accessories only serve to highlight the shortcomings of the device (cases/bumpers = Antennagate/fragile back glass, battery cases = short battery life), but hell, I tried back then in vain to find a proper battery case for the Nokia N900 when there’s at least a hundred for the iPhone 4.

The App Store

Yea yea, there’s like a billion fart apps in the Store. But seriously, I spent more then a hundred bucks first time I was there. And I didn’t buy games with that. Or fart apps.

How much did I spend on Ovi? Less then 30. On games.

How much could I have spent on the Android Marketplace? Oh wait, I have to root it first because Googster decided that my country (and its Telcos) wasn’t compliant enough to be on the “paid apps” list.

How much could I have spent on the Blackberry App World? Let’s… just not even go there. It’s a “business phone” after all.

Sigh. Quality vs quantity my ass.

Don’t get me started on the games, some of which are gems I’ve yet to see on any other mobile platform.

The Simplicity of it All

Click app, do stuff, switch to something else, do more stuff, close apps (which isn’t all that painless, more on this in “Multi-Tasking?” below), rinse and repeat.

No memory errors, no obvious show-stopping lags, no nothing.

Yes, it IS so simple that anybody’s grandparents can learn how to use it but really, did you buy your smartphone to do stuff with it, or did you buy it to try to figure out how to use it?

The Design

Well, you can argue all you want, but iPhones, like every thing else Apple, is smexy (read: really really sexy). And it has gotten even worse in the 4th gen model. It’s just smexier then ever. Even with the whole Antennagate scandal, I can’t blame them for wanting to put the bloody antenna outside.

Shame it has to be covered in some way or another because it’s so darned fragile.

So with all the good things out of the way, let’s move on to the stuff Apple simply can’t get right, even in the forth incarnation of the great fruitphone.

No flash.

Really Apple, I couldn’t care less about the future of flash, as I personally hate it almost as much as I hated iPhones. But having it as something you can turn off (or at least something you can choose to install, even) is far better then not having it at all, seriously.

The Walled Garden

You can only sync files to your iPhone from a computer (or the other way around) with iTunes. Which would have been acceptable at least if it wasn’t so… bloody… slow. And what’s this with having to sync each and every app (and all the files that it contains) onto my failing, space deprived hard disk?

Pfft. Just sync an installed app catalogue or something. We can always do a full restore re-download.

And would it have hurt if you gave us USB Mass Storage Mode, at the very least?

The Keyboard

Okay, I actually like the keyboard, I really do. The layout is almost serviceable, at least for a virtual QWERTY pad (which is saying much, being the hardware QWERTY guy that I am).

But HAPTICS Apple, HAPTICS! I want to know that I’m actually pressing something. And I don’t want the bloody “keyboard tap” sound to do it for me (and everyone else in the room for that matter).

And then there’s the auto-correct, which does well most of the time, unless you decide that some swearing is in order, and every he’ll you type becomes a possessive pronoun. I mean, what the he’ll?

And what’s with the “tap on the tiny minuscule x on the auto-correct bubble to cancel” thing. It’s so frigging tiny that I only can manage to hit it with my fingers like 40% of the time.

Locked Bluetooth

Bluetooth file transfers are like MMS, really. You don’t notice you need it but you really do sometimes. Whatever gymnastics a BB user needs to go through to be able to do it, at least they can in the end.

Just do it Apple. You’ll save us a lot of pain trying to explain to our relatives why we can’t send them the yearly get together pictures to their phones.

Multi-Tasking?

Fine Apple, you decide that true multi-tasking is crap and wastes battery (and yet the iPhone struggles to get to the end of the day anyway). Can you at least make switching and closing apps less of a pain and as intuitive as the rest of your iOS? Kthxbye.

The fragility of it all

Glass front, fine. Glass back, not so fine. I don’t know what kind of testers you put put in your employ Apple, but people drop phones. It’s a fact of life, almost like breathing or taking a dump. Didn’t your engineers factor that one in?

So it’s Gorilla glass, you say? It will still shatter, wouldn’t it?

Well at least you didn’t make the sides out of glass.

Social Networking Intergration

Dear Apple, Facebook, Twitter and other SN services is like, huge right now? It has actually been huge for quite some time now so why can’t you at least make it a better integrated part of the OS?

Or at least allow 3rd party apps to take advantage of better API hooks in your core apps to do it for you.

So, as you can very well seeĀ  above, things are not always peaches and cream in iPhone-land. If you’re reading this to find me extolling how much the iPhone 4 is the miracle product that will make everyone happy and end world hunger, you’ve come to the wrong place.

The iPhone is NOT the PERFECT phone. And as you can see from my long rant, it’s far from it.

But for the most part, that unbelievable screen, apps and wide availability of 3rd party accessories alone is enough to make it a worthwhile investment in the end. At least for me, for now. And for most people, that’s all that matters.

Until something better comes along, that is.

1 comment

  1. Mat

    dok ingat lagi masa ada sorang tu dok kutuk2 apple. Hehehe.

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