Top 10 iPhone objections that don't matter

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 6, 2007, 9:17 PM | comments: 12

In the wake of the iPhone launch, and after 700,000 of the little guys landed in the hands of geeks like me, and teenage girls listening to music in the Millennium Force queue, I feel like responding to some of the criticism toward the device.

One of the biggest problems with any of this is that geeks in particular seem stuck in their ways, and Apple tends to challenge convention. Remember when everyone said that an all-in-one computer like the iMac would never sell because it wasn't expandable? Obviously, it has done quite well. What the geeks don't understand is that regular people could give two shits about things like that. It's why most consumer electronics devices, and especially wireless phones, suck, because the people designing them are geeks instead of regular people.

So here's why the objections don't matter...

1. The battery isn't user replaceable. I've had five phones in my life since 1997 or so. I've never replaced a battery on any of them. A quick survey of teenagers, soccer moms and even geeks will probably yield a similar response. With normal use, i.e., not the first day where I locked myself in a dark room with the iPhone and played with it all day, the phone ends up having a healthy charge at the end of the day. I can plug it in while I sleep.

2. It doesn't have removable or expandable memory. Er, OK, neither has any other phone I've had. Or any Palm device I've owned. My cameras do, and with 2 GB or larger cards, they never leave the device anyway. Again, survey the masses.

3. No physical keyboard. OK, so I admit that this was a concern of mine. I'm happy to report that after hacking out a few dozen text messages and some posts here, that I really don't care. The phone seems content to fix most of my typing mistakes if I trust it. It's not perfect, but it beats the crap out of T9!

4. AT&T's EDGE network sucks. I'll agree that it isn't that fast, but I have to ask... what the hell are you browsing? Yes, the Safari browser is better than most any mobile browser, but what the hell are you doing browsing on a 3.5" screen? That's what comprooders are for! If you're doing anything more than buying movie tickets, looking up on IMDB the actors' names and Googling for song lyrics while out in the world, you don't belong in the world. Get a life! Kiss a girl (or boy)!

5. No third-party apps. Again, I start to wonder what it is you really are doing with this thing, or rather, what you need it to do. I've already seen some nice Web-based apps tuned to the iPhone that are pretty amazing. The whole concept of installing something on the device is so 1999. Good year for partying, bad year for thinking about a connected world.

6. Can only sync with the cable, not by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. OK, think really hard about that one. If it can be exposed to the air, it can be hacked. Do you want your list of call girls or Wall Street insiders to be stolen?

7. You can't organize your files on the phone. Is it a phone or a hard drive? Don't be a moron. That's like saying you can't organize your toothpaste on your cat. It makes no sense.

8. The front of it is glass, and that's asking for trouble. Please. Watch this. The last truly durable phone I had was a Motorola Star-Tac that I finally retired back in 2003. It lasted me about four years! This new device has no significant moving parts and is actually made with metals and glass.

9. I can't make songs into ring tones. At first I thought that bothered me, until I realized the ring tone market is gigantic and dominated by kids who will pay three bucks for a ring tone but won't think twice about stealing the entire song on the Internet. Thus, I hurl a hardy "tough shit" to those critics!

10. It's too expensive. OK, so a new hot phone comes out and typically costs $300. A new iPod costs around $250. A Windows-based "smart phone" or Blackberry isn't cheap either. The iPhone does most of these things, it's certainly more durable, and it does things that actually make life on the planet easier, starting with the mapping stuff that is, quite frankly the best in class. $500 ain't cheap, but with those other devices you're going to pay at least $30 more for the data alone every month, let alone the voice. It all balances out.

I'll be the first to admit that the thing isn't perfect. Not being able to send picture messages sure is weird, and iChat would've been nice for, I guess chatting when I'm on the bus (if I actually rode a bus). But the truth is that for most consumers, the phone does the things most useful to you 95% of the time. You can be a poopy pants all you want, but this is pretty close to the device that consumers have been asking for since the dawn of time.


jon, July 7, 2007, 1:55 AM #

Brilliant, quite elloquent.

iphone-user, July 7, 2007, 2:06 AM #

Preach it! My reaction to all the whining is that the iPhone is EXACTLY what I have wanted in a phone for years. For most of the griping I've read about it on the net my reaction can be summed up as 'I don't care if it can't do that.'

Tekno, July 7, 2007, 4:18 AM #

I haven't gotten mine quite yet, but I am getting one. Most of the stuff people had issues with aren't issues to me. And some of the 'faults' the phone has can and probably will be addressed by Apple. I can't wait to see what all the fuss is about...

Dan, July 7, 2007, 4:46 AM #

I just read on that Apple has announced that in a near future update the Safari browser is going to be updated to play Adobe Flash. Thats one thing that I saw as a problem with the browser.

b, July 7, 2007, 5:14 AM #

Here's a few issues that you failed to list...

Where's the GPS.. oops.

How about downloadable content?

AT&T is sooooo slow. 2 minutes to load the Yahoo home page, c'mon.

puzzled, July 7, 2007, 6:37 AM #

I've been trying to figure out why so many people whine about not having GPS on the phone. Personally, I have no need for GPS in my day to day life. The ability to look up maps on google is more than sufficient for my navigational needs.

Walt, July 7, 2007, 1:31 PM #

I saw this top 10 list a few days ago. I certainly don't agree with some of the points, but it does highlight a few concerns. #5 is probably the biggest problem. My phone is provided by my employer and I need that Exchange integration. I've heard rumors that the iPhone will soon support Exchange and ActiveSync, but as of now, I'd be carrying two phones. And ActiveSync sucks anyway, so I use a third party sync application. Which leads me to #7. In addition to that sync application, I do use a couple of others. #8 really isn't an iPhone problem, per se (though iPhone users are stuck with AT&T for a few years), but I think I'm spoiled by Verizon's high-speed network. And I can hook the Q to the laptop for mobile broadband.

Most of the other issues brought up in that list, or the one Jeff posted here, don't really concern me. I was never impressed with the video size on my current iPod, but my PSP handles that quite well. I could probably overlook my iPhone concerns if it wasn't $500.

Just like anything else new and exciting, there are those who can't imagine why everyone in the world wouldn't give up their firstborn for one, and others who would still hate it even if it cured cancer. I think I'm still in the middle ... but leaning left. :)

Jeff, July 7, 2007, 2:02 PM #

You can setup an Exchange e-mail account today. It's right there in the mail setup menu.

CPLady, July 7, 2007, 4:45 PM #

Funny...maybe it's just the Verizon phones, but both Gordon and Ian are having battery troubles right now and mine is getting weak...doesn't hold a charge as long as it used to. Admittedly, the phones are two years old.

But even our previous phones had some battery issues. Fortunately, none of us need more than just a phone.

I guess it depends how long the battery will last on the iPhone with the use one is likely to get.

I have a friend who does geocaching and having a phone with that capability is a requirement so he doesn't have to carry a separate GPS device along with his phone. But I have to agree the listed complaints are pretty silly considering what the thing can do.

John, July 8, 2007, 4:27 AM #

Well put, I love my Iphone so much. it is absolutely amazing.

GregLeg, July 8, 2007, 5:26 AM #

For me, the non-user-replaceable battery IS a dealbreaker. Sorry, that's just a really stupid design. Every phone I've ever owned, on Verizon, Sprint, AT&T/Cingular, I've been able to replace the battery. Now, battery life is great these days, and the odds of needing to change it before I can recharge it are slim (but not nil), but I HAVE had battery packs wear out. Even the newest cells won't last forever.

#2 is definitely irrelevant for most people. My current SmartPhone CAN accept microSD, but I haven't had to use it. Now, if I were to go crazy with Pocket Streets and pairing it with a GPS and all that, then yes, I could definitely use it.

EDGE does suck, but true 3G coverage is very spotty anyway -- even if Apple had put support for higher data speeds in there, most people in the US wouldn't be able to use it. Europe is another story, though.

Totally with you on the wireless sync thing. The less exposed my data is, the better.

The real killer for me with the iPhone, though, has nothing to do with any of the above, and it's the same reason I won't get a Crackberry or most Windows Mobile phones as my primary cellphone either -- I DESPISE the "bar" form factor. With a passion. Give me a clamshell/flip phone or give me death. Ok, not QUITE that bad, but I seriously strongly prefer a clamshell design. Fortunately, there are plenty of options in that form factor still.

Jeff, July 8, 2007, 2:33 PM #

My iPhone has gone three days without a charge, Greg. I think if it's a deal breaker, you're not applying real world use to it.

Believe it or not, the shape of this one is surprisingly small. It's slightly wider than my iPod, and not clumsy at all. I bought a case for it actually so it had more bulk to it, so it was less likely to slide out of my pocket!

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