UPDATE (2010/07/22): I'm now using an iPhone 4! Check out my follow-up post. 😃👍🏻
Today I went to the Apple Store around 2PM EDT and waited for the iPhone to go on sale with some friends. — I bought the phone, went home, and was excited.
After 15 minutes of trying to get it to connect to my computer, I realized that a new version of iTunes (7.3) had been released. — Neither Mac OS X's “Software Update” nor iTunes itself had prompted me about it, so I ended up manually downloading it directly from Apple's website, and that solved that problem.
After a little while longer, I had my chosen content synced over to my new iPhone (I chose a few specific playlists, mail accounts, photo albums, and the “unplayed” podcasts on iTunes)… and then, I began exploring its other features from there.
Honestly, there are some issues. I listed them out below.
1. The overall lack of a visible filesystem, and the web browser's limitations on downloading.
I want to be able to download things from the web onto my phone. Ringtones from indie bands, content-creations from Mobile17 or band-promotions at Mozes, or images from websites that I want to save and open later on my Mac, for example. — Did I just pay for 8GB of storage that I can't use?
Downloading music is not currently possible from the iTunes Store, or even just random websites. — The same goes for ringtones, spreadsheets, and other files. One thing that it does do surprisingly well, though, is read PDFs! 👍🏻
There is also no Adobe Flash support (yet?) as many already are aware of, so no cartoons or games either. 😕
2. Why can't I do [obvious task]?
Numerous times, I've run into problems with not being able to do very simple tasks. It's almost like the iPhone's simplicity actually makes it more complicated.
- I received an email from a company I'd ordered something from concerning an issue that I'd had, and they asked me to take a photo.
- I jumped at the opportunity to test out the iPhone's camera, and was pleased with its photo quality.
- I then went back to the “Mail” section, and clicked the “Reply” button, wrote a short note, and then went to attach the photo.
- … Wait, you can't attach a photo? There's no option to do so, since there's no visible filesystem on the device.
… Let's try this again:
- Let's start with the photo itself. I went and found it in the “Camera” section, tapped the icon that I assumed was a “Send Photo” button. (There's no text for these buttons, so you have to guess and learn.)
- From there, I was presented with options to either “Use as Wallpaper”, “Email Photo” (…🔔, …🔔, …🔔!), or “Assign to Contact,” which I'm sure would sync the photo from that contact back to the address book on my Mac. (Very cool!)
- After choosing the “Email Photo” option, I was presented with a blank message, not including the sender's email address or any of what I'd typed before. — Of course, he's not in my address book, so I had to go back to the “Mail” section, write his email address on my hand with a pen (since you can't copy-and-paste?!), analog style… then type that manually into the new message with a new subject and no original context. 😡
3. You can't type fast without a lot of practice, and entering passwords isn't so private.
Unlike typing (T9, or even just Multitap) on a regular handset with raised buttons, all of the keys feel the same on this one… and triggering the wrong one is ridiculously easy. You really need to pay attention.
It seems like they included something to correct common mistakes, but overall… your days of casual typing on a familiar grid of keys are gone.
Also, when you're logging into various websites, even though the web browser blocks out the text as you enter your password… the keyboard still magnifies whatever you're typing at a distance visible to anyone within a meter or two. Not very secure/private.
So far, the best way I've found to type on the iPhone is by flipping it sideways like a T-Mobile Sidekick. With both thumbs doing the work, you can keep the device steady with your palms and your lettering consistent. However, you can't activate the tilt feature in any section but the web browser, so you're sort of screwed in the “SMS” and “Mail” sections, where you really need to be able to type. 😕
4. Messaging? …What messaging?
No AIM or MSN Messenger, no picture messaging, and no video-conferencing. (Although, that last one's a bit of a long shot. 😅) — Even just sending pictures via email is a pain unless it's the start of a new conversation, as mentioned above.
5. Menu navigation blunders
“Back” buttons can suddenly change into “Edit” buttons in a few areas. So, just when you expect to be taken back to the main screen of somewhere, you get caught in a completely new area.
You then have to toggle “Back” out of there with the same button. Argh… extra tapping!
Also, I have to tap several times needlessly past the “Mail” folders just to switch email accounts. It's like browsing the folder structure of an iPod, but with a somewhat useless level in-between. — I don't need to go into the “Sent” folder of any email account unless I'm going out of the way to look for it, so why include that in the navigation? Even better would be a single screen where I can view the three newest messages that I've received on each account, but now I'm just dreaming based on what I've seen so far… sigh. 😶
6. You need an adapter to use other headphones.
While the iPhone's earphone connector is a standard 1/8-inch jack, it's fairly recessed. Because of this, you most likely need an extender to plug in any non-Apple headphones.
Apple's earphones hurt my ears to wear, so I had no choice but to spend $10 USD on an antenna-like product from Belkin that could be easily lost. Lame.
7. You cannot use the phone as a modem, or browse/transfer files via Bluetooth.
… Don't forget your iPod cable!
This is a huge dealbreaker for me. I loved being able to tether for mobile-internet through my previous handsets using Bluetooth so that I could surf the web on my laptop. — The iPhone does not support this, even though the Mac does… I can't believe it. Every phone that I've owned in the past 5 years has had this feature, and this doesn't? And, it costs how much? 😭
The only workaround that I've found (so far) is to remove the AT&T SIM card included with the iPhone and insert it into any other phone to use this feature temporarily. — You'll need a paperclip, sewing needle, or safety pin to insert into the small hole on the top of the phone in order to remove the SIM tray, but aside from that, it's just a normal SIM card that another AT&T phone will probably also accept without issue.
All in all, aside from connecting to handsets or handsfree audio systems for taking calls, it seems that there are no services provided by the device via Bluetooth. Not even syncing when you don't have an iPod cable. Lame! 👎🏻
8. “Maps” won't automatically find you.
You can triangulate a cellular device's approximate location using cellphone tower location data and a few signal readings, without needing a GPS receiver built-in. Furthermore, all phones are required to report a latitude and longitude coordinate reading to emergency service providers these days when an emergency call is made in the USA.
Why they couldn't use this information to point the built-in “Maps” section (which runs Google Maps) to where you're currently standing is beyond me. I hope this ability is only delayed, as there's clearly a reason for why they didn't do this. Having to zoom to where you're at currently or use text search for something nearby every single time is pretty annoying.
9. I'm locked in with AT&T for 2 years with this phone!
Argh! …I hope that this all goes well, since they sure have most of us in a bind for that long because of the contracts, and handsets are expensive. 😕 (… especially this one!)
10. … I had to make this list!
It's the first time that I've ever felt like I had to make a list like this for a major Apple product. 😕