Alec’s iPhone experience

March 26, 2008
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Alec Saunders has a terrific post: iPhone: Brilliant. Frustrating. Alec has pretty much echoed my sentiments described at iPhone – Look but don’t touch and summarized beautifully with “I want to love this phone – it’s that good” but in the end he can’t due to its limitations, saying “The iPhone has the most potential to change the mobile phone industry of any device out there today, but it’s not the best phone … yet.”

Alec and I are in almost 100% alignment, but here are a few details I can challenge.

The network. [The Edge network is] so slow as to be unusable outside WiFi hotspots.

One man’s “useless” is another’s “adequate”. Edge is indeed slow. But it’s not useless on the iPhone. At least it provides a functional connection out of the box, in almost any area. The slow speed constrains what it can be used for, but it does work and permits on-the-go Internet access when there is nothing else available, for travel, news, and even Youtube movies, if you have some patience. Don’t forget that there is still a significant population of Internet users on dial-up and Edge is about the same performance, and somehow those users still find the Internet useful.

Stability. My other two favorite phones (BlackBerry 8300 and Nokia N95) crash, probably once a day.

Unrelated to the iPhone, but my N95 used to crash frequently. However, with software version V 20.0.015 and disabling a certain app (that shall remain nameless – you know who you are), the phone now essentially never crashes – it may still do so, but it’s infrequent enough that I can’t even remember the last time it crashed.

The browser. It’s a desktop class browser. Websites that don’t render correctly on any other mobile device work fine here

The exception is flash sites – The iPhone does not support flash in any way, shape, or form. Some say flash support is coming soon while others say it will never happen.

I’d also add a section on Fragility. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I cannot make iPhone my primary mobile phone. It is simply too difficult to protect, and putting it in a large protective case sort of defeats the purpose of it being so light and thin.

Many people would also consider battery life an issue and in this regard, iPhone beats the N95 hands down.

Summary

As I state above, I think Alec highlights some key points, which I’d summarize as follows:

  1. So-called “Smart Phones” like the Nokia N95 have better hardware specs, but the iPhone does a much better job of making these features accessible to us mere mortals.
  2. Blackberry is still the number one device for extreme mobile email, bar none.

The iPhone is an incredible achievement for a first attempt at a mobile phone, but still has a way to go to be “the best ever”.

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2 Responses to Alec’s iPhone experience

  1. April 12, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve written about many of the applications I use on my iPhone in several blog posts at http://johnkendrick.wordpress.com Check the index there for a complete list. I am a very heavy iPhone user since purchasing it the first day it was available in the US. With a suitable case ( I use a casemate) it is not fragile at all, and I don’t find the case detracts from its use at all. Of course if your main reason for using an iPhone is to wow your friends and colleagues with it “slimness”, then I guess you’re correct, it is very slippery in the hand without a case. But I don’t think that is why most of us purchased an iPhone. Just my thoughts.

  2. April 15, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    John, thanks for commenting. I posted several years ago, in speaking about the Nokia N70 http://mrblog.org/2006/08/29/nokia-n70-review/, that “they aren’t building these phones for me” so I accept that there are other perspectives, but in my case, I know I’m going to beat the thing up. It needs to be tough enough and compact enough to fit into a pants pocket and get tossed about a bit in the car and such. The iPhone falls short in this category. Even without a case, the iPhone is little too large to fit in a pants pocket very well and of course without a case, it would surely get destroyed in my pocket. With the case, it’s simply way too big.

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