Look, most of you know how much I adore my Apples. I have two iPods, an AppleTV, an Airport Express, three Apple laptops, and I've given away at least four other iPods over the years either as gifts or as unintentional "gifts" to thieves. But no, I will not be getting an Apple iPhone, now or at any time in the foreseeable future.
I don't know if you've been reading or listening to the promotion that the iPhone has garnered since its announcement five months ago. Hoenstly, it's hard to avoid it. Shit, I was listening to NPR coming home tonight, and even they have succumbed to the hype. The New York Times is way stoned. The Washington Post is way stoned. And if you read enGadget, Gizmodo, SlashDot or any of the other techblogs, you have already gotten sick of the iPhone bluster and are wishing for the placid days when all we worried about was Anna Nicole, Natalee Holloway, or OJ.
I will not be buying an iPhone. Apple has done some very interesting things with it, but they've made some massive errors which fatally flaw the product, and while I am fairly sure they will correct them in time, as it stands right now, forget it.
Fatal flaws of iPhone 1.0:
- AT&T. Fuck the name change, it's Cingular, Cingular blows, and the fact that Apple has only released the iPhone through AT&T -- according to all reports, for the first two years of its existence -- means that I won't fucking go near the thing. The "new AT&T" can eat the corn out of my shit, they're the worst of the "old" AT&T -- who I fired three years ago as my wireless company in favor of the cheaper and less niggardly-about-data-plans T-Mobile -- coupled with the worst of Cingular, including spotty coverage and ass-in-head customer service. Apple, you chose the wrong horse, so fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
- No keyboard. I've seen all the videos and screenshots. Sorry, I spend my life on the keyboard of my HTC Wizard (aka T-Mobile MDA, QTEK 9100, etc.) and without a keyboard all I'll end up with is a sore finger and a filthy screen. Reviews have already said that the classic two-thumb approach to typing on a mobile is virtually impossible on the iPhone. I don't call people, usually, I send them email or text messages. No keyboard equals no sale.
- No open platform. Yeah, Jobs said that people with nothing better to do can write "Web 2.0" apps for the weird-ass implementation of Safari for the iPhone, but even on all our Macs here, we don't use Safari anyway. We use Firefox. On my MDA, I use Mozilla Minimo, or when forced, Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile 5. I also have Opera Mobile on the thing for other occasions. The real story isn't what I do with all those different browsers, the story is that I can choose. And I'm sorry, writing bullshit Ajax apps for a browser takes your app one stage away from being able to get at the hardware and software of the platform you're on, meaning that the coolness your app is ultimately limited by the coolness of the browser's API. Step back and look at all the cool plug-ins for Firefox. Now look at the amazing lack of cool stuff for Safari. And how pleased will you be when iPhone 1.1 changes the "mobile Safari" API and breaks your app... again?
- No cut/copy/paste of text. Come on, what the fuck? I was able to do this on my IBM WorkPad that I bought at Lotusphere 1997... remember those? The relabeled Palm Professionals? That was ten years ago. I could do it on my ancient (but whatever drawer it's in now, probably-still-functional) Nokia 5625, and that was 2001.
- Filth. That shiny back and shiny glass screen will look like ass in about twenty minutes. Ever look at your ear, or your cheek? If you want to know how filthy your iPhone will get, have a look at the handset on your office phone. Don't do this just after eating unless you enjoy earwax and sebum.
- No video. Jesus, right after they ink the deal where I can get YouTube (or at least a subset thereof) on my $300 AppleTV, they release a $500 phone that can't upload video to YouTube or anywhere else... because it can't shoot video!
- Speaking of which... five hundred bucks. Yeah, years ago, I paid $700 for my amazing Sony Clie UX50 Pal-based PDA, but Sony had to make all their money on selling the hardware. Apple can practically give iPhone away, and make the money back on voice plans, data plans, and ITMS downloads, but five bills for a phone which can't even do shit that my keyboard-equipped, video-capable, cut-and-paste-anything-you-want Sony UX50 could do three or four years ago... well, I can think of other things to do with five hundred bucks just now.
- Did I mention "AT&T?" Yeah, I guess I did.
Am I saying you
shouldn't buy the thing? No. Your needs are probably quite different from mine. But the eight points above aren't all that esoteric... it's not like I'm bitching about not being able to boot Ubuntu on the thing, or complaining that it can't measure my blood sugar. I'm saying that as a first-release product that some pundits think will change the mobile world, it's missin' a whole bunch of shit that anyone who might seriously consider it as their next phone probably... already has.
By the way, while writing this article I found it amusing that the Notes/Domino 8 spellchecker flagged "Lotusphere" as a suspect word. That it flagged "Firefox" is merely disappointing.