There have been numerous headlines about “iPhone killers” in cell-phone magazines the past few years. If I ever read the phrase “iPhone killer” or “iPhone challenger” in a periodical again, I will probably (hopefully) spontaneously combust, or implode from a shock of bad journalism and cliché overload.
Apple did a pretty good job putting the kibosh on the iPhone themselves the minute they presented its specification sheet. I know there are plenty of (feisty?) iPhone fanboys out there that obviously will disagree with this article. The iPhone seems like a device you either love or hate, and there aren’t a lot of balanced views written about it. Will I try a more nuanced approach and bring some objectivity to the table? Hell no, I can’t stand the damn thing!
Jokes aside and in all fairness – the iPhone does have a large and very responsive 3.5 inch screen (albeit with a relatively low resolution of 480×320), multi-touch, a quick, simple and user-friendly interface and a convenient way to download new software via the app store. And due to the iPhone’s popularity, there’s a great variety of software available. Apple somehow managed to make their phone the handset that all other touchscreen devices get compared to. They took the touchscreen and user-friendliness on mobiles to the next level – but that’s it. The benefits don’t compensate for the iPhone’s many weaknesses. When even initiated cell-phone reviewers biased and blindly defend their beloved iPhone, the only thing they prove is their own ignorance.
Comparing the iPhone to a real smartphone is like comparing a video game console to a computer – sure, the first one is quick and easy, it just works and anyone can use it – but the other option is more powerful and has tons of more possibilities. Apple’s greatest achievement with the iPhone is to make basic smartphone features so accessible and easy to use that even the technologically disabled can take advantage of them (who often mistake that feature to be unique to the iPhone and the greatest thing ever). Tasks I’ve been performing with my phones for ages, less tech savvy people now do with their iPhone for the first time.
However, what provokes me is when Apple falsely claim that the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever built and that they are years ahead of the competition, when in reality Apple actually in many cases are years behind. One of the commercials for the iPhone 3GS shows how a video clip is recorded and then sent via a MMS. I can point out that similar ads ran in Sweden no less than six years ago, when such a feature actually was new and something to talk about. On Apple.com they state their phone has “the most advanced web browser on a mobile device” (hey, it doesn’t even support flash), and “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system” – both statements are plain wrong and can easily be dismantled.
I know that I am far from the first to compile a list of iPhone flaws. Is it really necessary to present yet another one? Obviously, since there are so many people that still consider the iPhone to be the epitome of mobile technology. So here we go, hear me out…
Not being able to run software concurrently is a major drawback, and it would probably drive me loco if I had to close an application in order to start another one. Multitasking is standard on any smartphone OS. That the iPhone has no support for background processes is absurd. I could perform some basic multitasking on my phone five years ago in 2004. According the the iPhone website, Apple’s idea of multitasking is being able to make a call while keeping a program running. Good job there, Apple!
This is one of my main beefs with the iPhone: the 2MP camera. Merely two megapixels is just sad for a high-end phone in 2008. If that wasn’t bad enough, it has no video recording, no flash, no auto focus, no advanced settings and no lens cover. My SE w800i from 2005 took significantly better pictures, and it could capture video as well. The iPhone also lacks a front camera for video calls. Pretty much every 3G phone in Sweden had a front camera as early as 2003. It makes the line “it’s built on technology that’s years ahead of its time” from Apple’s iPhone website seem a bit preposterous, right?
Of course, many people use a separate camera for taking pictures so the iPhone’s poor photography offerings is of no concern to them, but I excpect a cell-phone of today to capture just as good images and videos as an average digital camera. The main reasons why I prefer to photograph with my phone is that I always carry it with me, so I’m ready whenever there’s a golden “Kodak moment”, and I don’t have to go through the hassle of carrying multiple gadgets around. The useless camera alone makes iPhone 3G a no go for me.
The title speaks for itself. A beautiful, epic fail. I’ve had radio receivers on all my devices since 2003.
The iPhone doesn’t allow you to send files over Bluetooth to other phones, nor does it offer any BT synchronization. Furthermore, A2DP is absent – you cannot connect to the headset of your free choice or any other Bluetooth accessories that you might want to use. In this battering I make comparisons to my old handsets to illustrate the iPhones shortcomings, and I could already send files over Bluetooth in 2004 with my SE k700i.
Why oh why, Apple, did you not add support for MMS: a very popular way of sharing media around the globe? Again, this feature has been standard on cell-phones (at least in Sweden) since 7-8 years back. To Apple’s defense, email is becoming more and more popular for file sharing on mobile phones. But it surely wouldn’t have hurt with an option.
There’s no alternative to the on-screen QWERTY keyboard, which is fairly hard to operate. And as mentioned later, there’s no support for cut & paste operations. In comparison, recent HTC Windows Mobile touchscreen devices and Symbian S60 5th Edition offer both alphanumerical keypads (with T9) and handwriting recognition, besides full and mini QWERTY on-screen keyboards.
Even in Sweden, the iPhone is exclusively sold on contracts (which Apple get a fair share off), you can’t get it unlocked. This makes the device more expensive in the end, and restricting since you can’t freely choose your carrier.
I find the lack of options and possibilities to tweak the iPhone into my very own confining, to say the least. As with the iPod, you are trapped to Apple’s way of doing things. Apple have always had closed environments, which might benefit some basic users, but it frustrates the power users. While Symbian S60 offers tons of different ways to interact with your phone, connect it to your computer and load content onto it, with the iPhone you’re confined to using iTunes or iPhoto. Also, while you can completely change the look and feel of an S60 device, move things around and optimize the unit to your liking (not to mention the potential Windows Mobile offers in that apartment), with the iPhone you simply can’t. At all. You can’t even change the wallpaper.
The iPhone’s Safari browser doesn’t support Flash animations or videos. That is limiting, since the majority of Internet videos are in Flash and hence cannot be viewed. Luckily, to avoid a complete belly flop, the iPhone of course has a Youtube Application for watching YouTube videos.
Another epic fail, wouldn’t you have preferred to be able to easily expand the iPhone’s storage with another 32GB? Support for memory cards has been standard on cell-phones since 2005, at least. And if they ever implement this in the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if you only will be able to use memory cards made by Apple.
This is simple: you cannot copy or cut a selection of text, and then paste it somewhere else. Cut & Paste is a basic functionality for a smartphone, and it’s quite peculiar that the iPhone doesn’t have it.
Unlike all other major smartphone platforms (WinMo, Symbian, Android), the iPhone doesn’t natively support Java. You still think it’s the most advanced phone in the world?
Like with their Macintosh computers, Apple makes it hard for you to exchange or update the hardware yourself. Having a fixed battery is no big deal, but it’s no secret that batteries lose power over time (they have been known to break as well, believe it or not), and I prefer being able to remove it myself. Also, the iPhone battery life falls short compared to many other high-end devices.
Tethering is when you connect your phone to a computer and use it as a 3G modem in order to get an Internet connection. This is practical when you’re on the road, for example, and can’t find any WiFi Hotspots for your laptop. This is a common feature on many handsets, not just smartphones (on recent Nokia S60-devices, you can even turn your phone into a WiFi Hotspot). Needless to say, it’s not included in the iPhone’s set of features.
Since Apple (at times) is a greedy giant that always want another slice of the cake, they overcharge for the iPhone. And like with the iPod: they include as little as possible from the start in order to sell more accessories. In one perspective, the iPod’s main selling point 3-4 years ago was that you got a trendy, hyped, “must have” fashion item, more than a feature packed media player. The same goes for the iPhone now.
In Sweden, you can get the iPhone via two carriers: Telenor (our Vodafone) and Telia, both on contract of course. With Telia, the lowest total price in order to get an iPhone 3G 16GB at the moment is 6471:- ($810), on a 24 month contract. And if you want 1GB of free data traffic per month, the price tag would end up at 7471:- ($930). Consider the fact that this price is for a device that’s been out for about nine months now over here. To underline just how overpriced Apple’s phone is, you can get the newly released Nokia 5800 (which has just about twice as many features) unlocked for only 3599:- ($450).
Furthermore, Apple take a percentage of each application being sold on the App store, and have very strict control over which software is allowed there: you have to ask Apple for permission to make an application/sign a non-disclosure agreement (after massive criticism and backlash now abandoned)/invest time and money into developing the software/ask Apple again for permission to sell or even give it away. If they say no, tough luck. Google of course has an entirely different approach with their Android platform, which is open-source and anyone can freely write software for the OS and get a shot at success at the Android Market.
A survey was made regarding which the best mobile phone was in the eyes of the American public. Most people answered the iPhone, despite the fact that the survey took place months before the first iPhone even was launched, and that they knew nothing about the alternatives or the iPhone’s features. That’s what solid marketing and a strong trademark can do. And it is also proof of some people’s ignorance. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that America, for some odd reason (meddling carriers with hubris?), is behind Europe and Asia when it comes to cellular phones.
I will wrap up this article by quoting well-renowned mobile journalist Eldar Murtazin over at
Mobile-Review.com, from his review of the Nokia 5800:
Another thing of note about the 5800 Tube is that it simply won’t face any challenges on the market – the Apple iPhone is a steep, fashion-savvy offering that has been deprived of many standard features, so a comparison between these two phones would seem a little too far-fetched. It does have smoother and more eye-candy menus, similar video capabilities, but that’s about it – in fact the iPhone packs in around a tenth of what the Nokia 5800 has to offer in terms of functionality. It wouldn’t be right to put them in one league and then berate the iPhone for lacking so many useful feats. So let the iPhone remain the ultimate choice for all fashion-conscious users, while the Nokia 5800 will be the way to go for everyone who is after a well-rounded do-it-all solution.”
My conclusion: the iPhone 3G is the most overrated device in the history of phones. Anyone who considers it to be the most advanced handset in the world knows nothing about mobile technology. After writing this piece, I’m surprised by a bad feeling of sorts – like I imagine it would feel kicking at someone who is lying down, being mean to a retard, shooting fish in a barrel or beating a gimp in a dance off, but hey – I think the iPhone can take the heat.
- Apple’s Chickenshit Approval Process Has Gone Too Far
- Apple’s new low: censoring a dictionary
- Adobe engages Apple in passive aggressive warfare with iPhone’s Flash message
- Why the iPhone sucks SO much
- What Does The iPhone 3G S Mean For Symbian?
- What I’ve Missed About the S60 Experience
- 7 reasons why iPhone 3G sucks
- Android vs. iPhone: No Contest for Developers
- Apple rejects Macworld iPhone Superguide from App Store… for using the word ‘iPhone’