iPhone

August 3rd, 2009

Catherine got an iPhone 3G on Saturday to replace her Blackberry Curve. Had it been me, I would have returned it on Sunday…

The media features are, as you would expect from an iPod derivative, excellent. Music and Videos can be selected easily using the touch screen and the screen itself is excellent once you’ve accepted the fingerprints as inevitable.

That’s where the positives end I’m afraid.

As a mobile phone, and mobile email device, the Blackberry is vastly superior to the iPhone. For example, to make a call to Catherine on the Blackberry I take the phone out of the cover (automatically unlocking the keyboard), then press and hold C and the speeddial happens. With the iPhone, remove from case, manually unlock, click on Phone, Click on Favourites, Click on Catherine.

It’s worse if I have to dial a number or choose from the contacts. With the Blackberry I can just start typing from the home screen, the Blackberry will automatically display a list of matching names, and will also present the potential number to dial should any of they keys pressed also be number buttons. For example, if I push the D/5 button, then E/2, then R/3 it will offer to dial 523 and present a list of all names with DER in them. I just choose what I want from this list and it dials. The iPhone doesn’t have this ability so I have to go into Phone, then either choose keypad, contacts, favourites, recent, then on contacts I’ve got to scroll through the list.  It’s totally backwards compared to the elegant simplicity of the Blackberry. Single handed operation of the iPhone may be possible with some practice, but it’s still harder to use than the Blackberry.

Email is very poor too on the iPhone. No push email from Gmail, and no way of seeing if a message has been recieved without unlocking the phone. The Blackberry has a flashing alert light. The iPhone can try and recieve emails once every 15 minutes, but after having near instant Blackberry email, this seems like a backwards step, and also appears to eat the battery.

One other immediate weakness came to light, and that is the iPhone has no apparent support for ring profiles. My Blackberry has profiles for Quiet, Normal, Phone Only (no email alerts, just sms and phone calls), Off and Vibrate.  The iPhone has none of this, just a ring / don’t ring option.

I leave my phone on overnight by my bedside incase any our systems at work have a failure (we have automatic SMS notification), but by using “Phone Only” profile, the automatic emails from my bank, and the occasional spam message don’t give an audio alert.  To change profile in the Blackberry is a single click, to accomplish the same thing on the iPhone only acheivable through the settings menu.

I’m sure the iPhone is as good a device as is possible without a keyboard. It is certainly much better than the Windows Mobile smartphones, but the problem is a mobile phone needs a keyboard, and if it’s a full qwerty keyboard, so much the better.

I should point out I do actually like Apple products. We have had three OS X computers and I think OS X is a fantastic operating system. Aperture 2 is one program I probably couldn’t do without now. Some of the apps for the iPhone look really good too.

I just really wish the iPhone was better at being a phone.