It was about time that somebody kick Nokia, Samsung and SonyEricsson where it hurts. For years mobile phone users have endured crummy, ugly and ineffective hybrids called "smartphones". When these smartphones came along it looked like things where finally getting close to what we a power-user really needed. WRONG! These new smartphones where bad palms and even worse mobile phones. They are slow, ugly and skittish to say the least. Symbian and Windows mobile are absolutely horrible to work with, and even after years of being in the market they still don't give the impression of a throughly thought out product. Then came RIM's Blackberry Pearl. The Pearl is the first somewhat successful attempt at a slightly sexy and comfortable smartphone. It's not perfect but it's darn close!
Recently, on the 11th of January, Jobs presented what could be the answer to all our prayers, the iPhone. It looks promising indeed. At least the software does, the outside is another mater. I am not very fond of the outside, it just looks like a piece of hardware that you might get sick off rather sooner than later. Unlike the iPod the iPhone's design does not convey any sense of glamour at all. It just looks like any of the thousands of palms that are out there already. Mind you, the is no such thing as a glamourous Palm in the market today so right now this does not seem to be a concern. The software on the other hand looks mighty strong. Many new options have been added that should have been part of mobile phones quite some time ago. Personally I don't welcome the iPod integration and would have liked a smaller phone with and even larger battery life. One of the biggest problems with smartphones to date is processor power. I am not certain that with this size and expected battery life that the software will run smoothly. All other smartphones are incredibly easy to crash, especially if you add more software. To be honest I doubt that the iPhone will deliver better performance than what is out there today. I have not been able to play with one yet but experience in the past has been that too much software in a relatively limited hardware enclosure will give you problems if you are a "power user" and milk this baby for all its functions. So right now I am just taking down names of all those kissass reporters that claim that the iPhone works flawlessly etc... manly to remove them from my "respectable" list. Like with many things there are many to lineup to praise the new born child, just like there are many to put it down. I would rather wait and decide after several weeks of test driving the item in question.
What I like (so far):
- Somebody finally has taken smartphones seriously.
- Firmware and software updates via the Internet. No need to go begging a nerdy pimply bonehead to update the firmware of your phone right then and there.
- The software looks clean all around. Unlike Symbian and Windows Mobile there are no menus that suddenly look like DOS.
- You can view or hear your Podcasts on the way to work.
- The screen has the resolution and is good enough to really be used for things other than only a phone.
What I don't like (so far):
- The outside look is less than sexy. Quite a disappointment compared to previous Apple products. Weak performance in that respect.
- There are no independent LEDs that can be programed to tell you if your battery is low, you got an sms or have missed calls. Having to turn on the screen every time to check is a pain.
- Does not have a "physical" key lock button. Not sure how practical the virtual unlock button will be.
- I doubt that greasy fingers, especially after a dozen buffalo wings, will be able to make the touch screen perform adequately.
What I HATE:
- Operator locked! I absolutely can't stand that Apple have brought the Operators into the equation. I guess that it was inevitable since the new iPhone has new options like visual voice mail that requires some work on the part of the operator. However, if Cigular update their network for this feature that does not mean that anybody else will. Especially in Europe where new developments are not really adopted, or at least take longer to be implemented. If Apple intends to work with operators to improve the functionality of their iPhone then their are in for a nasty surprise. Nokia and SonyEricsson (definitely power players in mobile phones) have tried many "improvements" such as this in the past... all their attempts fell on deaf ears and most countries around the world have only sms, mms and some gprs as extra features to voice calls. If the much bigger boys like Nokia and SonyEricsson have not managed to do anything it's very unlikely that Apple will. Good luck Steve!
I any case there is still work to be done. I must admit that I am much more exited that Apple has entered the mobile phone market that in the iPhone itself. That to me is the big news. I am glad that somebody addressed the issue and is forcing the other two to really improve. I am excited to se what Symbian and Windows mobile do to counteract Apple's creation.