5 (More) Areas Where Apple's iPhone Falls Short; Readers Weigh In - InformationWeek

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5/3/2008
04:45 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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5 (More) Areas Where Apple's iPhone Falls Short; Readers Weigh In

When I lambasted the iPhone in a recent post for its numerous shortcomings, Wolfe's Den readers responded in droves with comments. As is par for the course, most criticized me for my criticisms of the sainted Apple. (Hey, I own an iPhone now and am trying to get into the iPhone Developer Program, so how anti-Apple can I be?) However, many readers responded with their gripes about still-unaddressed

When I lambasted the iPhone in a recent post for its numerous shortcomings, Wolfe's Den readers responded in droves with comments. As is par for the course, most criticized me for my criticisms of the sainted Apple. (Hey, I own an iPhone now and am trying to get into the iPhone Developer Program, so how anti-Apple can I be?) However, many readers responded with their gripes about still-unaddressed iPhone failings. Here's their list.To recap, my iPhone fix-this-stuff-already wish-list included: Push e-mail, faster Web surfing, longer battery life, better keyboard, and earbuds with a non-proprietary plug. You can read it all here, in "5 Areas Where Apple's iPhone Falls Short".

On now to the new round of reader criticisms. Many people lamented the lack of e-mail-related capabilities that are par for the course in the competing BlackBerry.

E-Mail Shortcomings

One commenter raised "two e-mail issues that drive me crazy." He wrote: "The first is, when you pinch out to expand the text, the text doesn't wrap and the second is that when you flip the phone horizontally, why won't it change e-mail to landscape mode as well?" I heartily agree with both points. Indeed, I've been wondering about the iPhone's unwillingness to flip e-mails into landscape mode. Doesn't make any sense, especially since landscape quickly becomes the default view one uses to read Web pages in the iPhone's Safari browser.

"Ability to search and save e-mails would be nice," wrote another commenter, pointing out that these features are available on the BlackBerry. Searchable contacts, as on the BlackBerry, also would be nice, the commenter noted.

Where's The Cut And Paste?

Raising once again the BlackBerry's superior e-mail handling, another poster posed a good question for Steve Jobs: "How come some simple software issues like text forwarding and cut and paste ... have not been sorted?," he wrote.

More arcane but no less valid are these two complaints: "Not being able to send or receive picture text messaging sucks," and "Voice recognition for calling and a better speakerphone are on my list."

Video Support, Flash

Then there's the whole issue of video support, which is strange when you consider that the iPhone is built around video, though it's YouTube-centric video. One writer complained about the lack of QuickTime support in the browser. Me, I'm peeved that there doesn't seem to be a version of Adobe Flash whichs run on the iPhone's mobile Safari browser. This would allow users to view videos other than the YouTube content for which the iPhone is tuned.

Personally, I was hoping I could use the iPhone, in Wi-Fi mode, as an Internet radio portal. This'd really be useful since New York City radio is so pitiful in the evening. However, without support for Flash or Real Player, you can't access most Internet radio audio-streams in Safari.

I want to send a thank you out to my good buddy Julio, who responded to the many commenters who complained I was rehashing old criticisms. "If this story is so out of date then, WHY ARE THESE THINGS STILL A PROBLEM?," Julio shouted. "Alex is talking about enterprise use, not play-around use like most of you seem to do."

A commenter named David weighed in with a wonderful tautology: "The first iPhone is the best phone ever made," he wrote. "The second iPhone will likely be significantly better."

Another commenter pointed to an old post of mine, from May 20, 2007, entitled "Apple And Cingular Can Keep Their iPhone, 'Cause I'm Sticking With My BlackBerry." His implicit question is, have I gone back on my pledge of faithfulness to RIM's smart smartphone. The answer is, absolutely not. I bought the iPhone so that I could test it and also so that I could begin developing some mobile applications for the many InformationWeek and TechWeb readers who own the devices.

As I learned at the Web 2.0 Expo, mobile is the new desktop, and it behooves anybody who's involved with the Web to learn about the most popular mobile device around. Which just so happens to be the iPhone. See, I admit to recognizing reality. However, for me personally, I still prefer the BlackBerry. Indeed, now that I own two smartphones and have a choice of which one to schlep along on my travels, I find that I am carrying the BlackBerry with me and leaving the iPhone at home, where its main utility is for wireless Web surfing (I can read stuff in bed, without having to sit at the desktop PC.)

For the commenters who were wondering, my need to start learning about iPhone development is why I bought an EDGE-based iPhone now, and didn't hold off a few months in anticipation of a 3G-based iPhone 2. I readily admit that I'll be envious of folks who are first to get that model, while I'm still working off my investment in my 1.0-handset.

So have we listed all the iPhone gripes? And are they all gonna be fixed in iPhone 2.0? Or will BlackBerry still rule?

Readers who wish to comment directly (or if the forums are down) can e-mail me at [email protected]

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