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More on the iPhone
major_clanger asked me about things that irritate me about the iPhone, and I wrote so much that I ran out of space in my comment.

OK. Here are the things that irritate me. Most of them are really about it being very early-version software. I should caveat this by saying I adore my iPhone; not only do I not regret the purchase, it makes me grin every single time I use it. The UI is an absolute delight; it's so tactile and lovely. And unlike every other small-format web appliance I've used, the Internet feels like the actual web rather than some awful cut-down 1994 version of the web.

Battery life -- I charged my BlackBerry Pearl twice a week and I charge my iPhone every night. This might be partially because I'm using it more, but I think it's *mostly* because of the WiFi stumbling. I ought to turn that off. But I quite like grabbing random WiFi when I can. I can't imagine the charge would survive a day of travel and access if it were 3G. I have not yet run out of juice on any day where I docked it the previous night. But I couldn't go away for a weekend without a charger.

Profiles -- although you can fiddle with sounds, you can't switch quickly between different sound profiles. It does have a lovely hardware 'silence' switch. But even on 'silence' it still has an audible alarm on timer; I like to run timers with a vibrate and it doesn't have that option. Damned if I can see why not. But I am used to having three profiles, for 'disturb me', 'disturb me only for actual calls' and 'silent', and I don't like having to fiddle to set them up. Similarly, I can't set a timer for less than a minute or anything other than whole minutes. Again, can't see why not.

Camera -- no video capture and no picture messaging. Obviously the old BB pearl didn't have video capture either. But still. Both these can be sorted in a software upgrade I suspect.

On email, it works seamlessly and fabulously with IMAP on gMail; you can 'file' email (ie archive it or attach a label to it) with a neat flick of your finger... except that the 'spam' basket is right next to the 'all mail' basket and it's all too easy to misfile stuff accidentally as spam.

You can only turn horizontal and use the more accurate horizontal keyboard in some applications, and not in others.

You can't save YouTube videos, which is particularly galling because they are HIGHER QUALITY over WiFi on the iPhone than they are on the internet (they use H264). YouTube in a WiFi zone is a particular delight on the iPhone; it's very good as an amaze the natives trick -- get them to suggest a search and then watch the video stream in real time. What would do is a Mac program that spoofs the iPhone YouTube program and then allows you to save the vids to your Mac.

I don't use it at all in the street, and I'm cautious about using it on crowded Tubes or when interchanging on the Tube. That's pure fear-of-criminals.

The headset it comes with has useless Apple earbuds. If you replace it with proper headphones you have to use an adapter, and you no longer have a mic for phone calls. There is a company which will mash up an Apple headset and a pair of Etymotic ER6is for you, and I'm thinking about it.

It has a totally useless stock tracker. Honestly, does *anyone* in the UK use that? But no games, and there are no adequate games available. It also doesn't have loads of other stuff that I used to put on a PDA and sort of miss, like a book-reader, and it doesn't really store files other than photos, videos and music. I am rather assuming that once there's an SDK we'll start to see some of that stuff appear.

At present it *does* allow you to put your own ringtones on (because they're not selling ringtones in the EU, and obviously you can't sell a phone at this level in the UK without custom ringtones). But they may break that later and I sort of object to paying for ringtones. Though I would just get on and buy the necessary *one* ringtone.

There's no 'search' in contacts! What sort of insane nutcase made that decision? So if I met someone called Sarah whose last name I've forgotten, who's the finance director of Widget Limited, and I need to ring her, I have to sift through MY ENTIRE FUCKING CONTACTS DIRECTORY to find her.

It feels too easy to make calls from the 'recent call' screen. Essentially, if you touch the screen, you'll find yourself dialling a number.

Edit: There is no camera hotkey. So mobile phone cameras are 'the camera that is always with you', and taking a photo is as easy as getting out my phone, pressing the unlock button, sliding to unlock, putting in my pin, pressing the button to get to the main screen, pressing the camera app button and pressing the clicker to take a photo. This is, um, not optimal as a way of capturing those sudden events that you snap with a camera phone.

Some not obvious things that I really like:

Beautiful wallpaper, so I have a fab pic with my contact details on.

The photo album, which integrates nicely with iPhoto (of course). By a coincidence, I've just spent multiple hours organising photos in iPhoto '08. Would you like to see 580 photos of my kids, in the most gorgeous and usable photo album ever?

The way things move when you flick them; if you reach the end of the list the UI bounces. It's just yummy.

Some websites have iPhone views (notably Google Calendar, which is my calendar app). Works really well.

The iTunes WiFi music store. Luckily most of the music on iTunes is DRM-ridden, because otherwise the iTunes WiFi music store would be Pure Liquid Crack. It works really well and is really easy to use. Great for iTunes Plus songs if you happen to be Instant Gratification Girl.

The way the iPod interface works with everything else, so the music fades out if you get a call, you can double click from other apps to get iPod controls, that sort of stuff.

It's an iPod with a speaker! So you can really irritate teenagers on the tube by playing through all your greatest melodeon hits out loud.

Hmm. I should save this list cos I'm getting asked this a lot at the moment.

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Firstly, thanks very much for the detailed comments.

Battery life - hmm, I'm used to a phone that goes a week between charges. Of course, I'm only using it as a phone and appointment alarm, so I'd expect a PDA not to last as long. Recharging every day though was one of the things that put me off the N95.

Camera - I can probably live with that.

Keyboard - that does sound odd; perhaps it will be fixed in the next upgrade?

No search in contacts - that does sound daft!

No real PDA apps and crippled file storage - this could be the deal-breaker for me. I want to be able to bung documents onto a PDA and browse them later.

So far this and other comments are inclining me to hold out until at least the next big Apple event (end of Jan 08, I think?) to see if Our Steve announces a Mark 2 and/or the rumoured iTablet.

They're not going to announce iPhone Mark 2 until you can buy one, and that won't be as soon as January. The rumoured new product for January is a sub-notebook, not a tablet.

My purchase decision went as follows:

1. My contract expires January... so... I will either get an upgraded BB Pearl or the iPhone at that point (or negotiate a lower contract with O2 which didn't seem terribly likely as I needed full data).

2. The BB Pearl is getting a nice bump but is basically the same phone it is now; so...

3. Realistically, I'm going to be getting an iPhone in January anyway...

4. And it will be exactly the same iPhone, nothing will have changed...

5. So I might as well get one now and have the fun of being the first on the block with one.

But part of the logic is that Apple & O2 have totally broken the phone contract selling system; I was released from my contract to buy the iPhone and I fully expect to be released from *this* contract when iPhone 2 comes out if I want one. What's more, my BB remains locked to O2 and they won't unlock it without my paying the termination charges they've just released me from. That's perfectly reasonable, but in practice it means that the future use of *that* phone is almost certain to be on the O2 network.

Why not just buy and iTouch and upgrade to the BB ... The iTouch does everything the iPhone does re:wifi .. its just nit a phone...

iPod touch doesn't have web anywhere, only in WiFi zones. And no email, which is quite the killer app for the iPhone. And I don't use phone enough to justify carrying two devices.

Its the 'Web Everywhere' bit that the iPhone is crap on tho - Its only GPRS not 3G so its way to slow to even think about using - I gave up using my phone for web for years until 3G introduced good speed - so wifi would be the only use of it. Its also now well documented that the phone and its reception (voice and internet) keeps droping and its text messaging is twitchy. The lack of 3G support is going to be addressed in the next model - but untill thenits non wifi internet support is a waste of space and given its a sub standard phone its a serious step backwards cmpared to a phone like the n95 coupled with a PDA (which is what I use currently) ...

Well, I'm using it now, on GPRS even (I'm at Centerparcs in the middle of a forest). Of course it's fairly slow, but I am old and remember dialup. Also, when the page does come in it's the whole entire webpage and looks lovely. Overall a much better web experience than either of my last two phones.

I haven't noticed problems with dropped calls or text messaging but I famously don't use the phone functions of my phone much.

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