Thursday, 28 August 2008

What's wrong with the iPhone

So you probably know by now that I've got an iPhone 3G. My last blog post bemoaning the convoluted methods required to transfer contacts and calendar entries kind of gave that away. So instead of waxing lyrical about how great the iPhone is, I'm going to be a bit more critical and list all the things that are wrong with the iPhone! If you are considering a purchase, think about these things carefully, you may miss them more than you think when they are gone.

No MMS support: I mean really, come on! How long has MMS been around now? Yet Apple have decided to not support this. Crazy.

No SMS folders: Yup, there are no folders on the iPhone for your messages. No sent messages, no drafts etc... Very frustrating. Want to save a message to send later? No can do!

No video recording: It seems that Apple have deemed it unnecessary for the iPhone to support video recording. The 2 mega pixel camera seems to have attracted a lot of press. To be honest I can live with that, the images are pretty good to be fair. But you can't use the iPhone to record video, even low end budget camera phones support this. The iPhone is supposed to be top of the range yet it lacks this feature.

Can't change battery: Yet again, and as seems to be standard on Apple devices, you can't access the battery. This isn't a big issue yet, though it does limit how far you can travel without a re-charge.

No Flash support: The iPhone has a great web browser. Using the internet on the iPhone is a pleasure, not some torturous experience you force yourself to endure like on some other phones. But they missed out a Flash player, this can be so very frustrating when you follow a link to be greeted by a Flash site that just won't work.

No Javascript: Similar to the Flash criticism above. You can become suddenly unstuck when browsing a website when it uses JavaScript. You'd be surprised just how many sites do and won't work on the iPhone as a result.

No cut & paste: This is quite a common complaint, and it is a fully justified one. I've never had cut & paste on a mobile before to be fair, but the iPhone with all its other great features is just crying out for it.

No Flash: No, I'm not repeating myself. The iPhone has no flash, camera flash that is. Forget about taking pictures in a dark environment you won't see anything.

Poor 3G: Okay, not an iPhone problem exactly, but as it's only available on one network I think it qualifies. 3G reception is atrocious, O2 have a really poor 3G network. I've just joined O2 from three, three's 3G network is amazing, they have fantastic coverage. The same cannot be said for O2, and they don't seem to be in a huge rush to roll out improvements either. I live in an area with no 3G coverage from 02, yet three gave me a full strength signal here. Even venturing into a large town only gives me 2-3 bars of 3G signal on the iPhone.

Crippled performance: Even when you do have 3G, the quality is limited. YouTube doesn't perform any better than it did with Edge due to limitations set in the firmware. You aren't allowed to use the iTunes store unless you are connected to a wireless network and the AppStore is limited when using 3G.

Poor Synchronisation: As my previous blog entry explains, sync'ing your iPhone to a Windows PC is a painful experience if you are trying to port contacts and calendar entries but don't use MS Outlook. Work arounds exist, but they shouldn't have to, it should be easy to synchronise with more than just one program.

Bugs I found a bug tonight as well, if you use the stopwatch and hit the lap button then it puts the lap time in the list below but then resets the timer. This behaviour Is wrong, the total time should be cumulative and should not reset at the end of a lap. There are other bugs I've heard about but this is one I came across on my own. Not the end of the world but it makes you wonder how a feature bug like this has made it through testing. I have to add up all the lap times to get a total.

As a whole package the iPhone is fabulous, there are many great things about it. But for Apple to have completely brushed over numerous basic and fundamental mobile phone functions is inexcusable. The first iPhone was always going to be touch and go and mistakes could be forgiven with it being their first foray into the mobile market. But they've had time to listen to consumers now, find out the weak points and fix them. Yet many still remain and Apple seem intent on continuing to ignore them.

Having said all that, I still love it. And I'm not even someone who likes Apple products, I've never had an iPod and never owned a MAC. Something about the iPhone is just special.


  1. Along the same lines, I have an ipod touch which as you know is the iphone without the phone bit.

    I agree that copy and paste is a bad ommission and if they want to compete successfully against windows mobile they need to sort these little things out.

    I found a bug last night on mine. I was browsing in portait mode and using the on screen keyboard to enter text etc on websites, the keyboard looked fine but when I entered keys they popped up in landscape mode. It was very strange.

  2. Indeed, I did use the post to pick on the iPhone a bit though. It is a great bit of technology and some of the features are brilliant, such as the way it handles voice mail.

    It just makes it all the more frustrating that they ignored so many other things that have become standard features on mobile phones across the board. Most of them will hopefully be fixed in firmware upgrades, but there's no guarantee.

    I'm also really annoyed by the appalling 3G reception, which it would appear IS the iPhone, contrary to my original post. Other people on O2 with Nokias are getting a full 3G signal while my iPhone can't even find 3G!

  3. Howdy Luffer,

    Saw you on the Nuevasync Site and thought I'd check you out. Completley agree about the iphone missing features, I've been alternating between jailbroken and not, trying to decide if the stability hit is worth some of those missing features being included.

    Just out of interest, what where you timing laps off? You appear to be of similar physique to myself, and I don't do so many laps nowadays!!!

  4. Well I wasn't timing laps, like you I don't do much running :)

    I was using it at work to time acts of a show, each lap is one act. So I should get times for each act, and a cumulative total for the whole show.

    I have had a look at jail breaking, I must say the advantages appear to be massive. I'm just a bit weary about future upgrades from Apple causing me problems if I go this route. Think I'll give them a bit more time to fix stuff themselves before I end up regretting anything.

    Besides which jail breaking can't fix many of the underlying issues anyway.

  5. Jailbreaking will allow both video recording and would probably solve your message storage problems. You can SSH them out to your PC/Mac, whilst probably ultimatley not solving the problem, would at least allow you to archive. There was some programs that create a user addressable storage location, but can't recall if sms was an option. The Pwnage (mac only) tool makes changes to a downloaded IPSW prior to install, or quick pwn (Windows) changes an already installed one. But obviously an Apple update wipes it until they break the new one, but you can measure that time in days so far. Arms race ahoy!
    There's quite a few apps that add functionality, clearly made by professional production houses, but breaching the restrictive Apple T+C's for apps. Customisation was my main motivator.
    Incidentally i had put shocking 3G reception down to the iphone, but a recent trip to central London returned consistent 5 bars, so I'm leaning more towards O2 being to blame now.