Alison (bohemiancoast) wrote,

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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