Jul 29, 2009

10 Things Why not to have an Apple Iphone

Read and find out for yourselves.

1. Slow mobile data: EDGE is 2.5G, so the top speed you can get from it is about 100Kbit/s. Also, the only Australian phone network that supports it is Telstra - everyone else will only be able to use slower-than-dialup GPRS. The iPhone would be way cooler with 1.8Mbit/s HSDPA. (See our analysis of why Apple probably used EDGE in preference to 3G in our previous iPhone report).

2. Battery life sucks: Five hours of talk/browsing/email or 16 hours of audio playback? Look, we're not saying the iPhone isn't an amazing device, but you're going to want a charger on your desk at work, one in your car, one on your bedside table...

3. Built-in battery: It must be the only mobile phone on the market that doesn't have an easily user-replaceable battery. We know from the iPod that batteries age pretty quickly, but who wants to send their phone back to Apple for servicing when it needs a new battery? I don't want to have to go back to my dowdy old Nokia while Apple swaps the battery. That's a major flaw.

4. Touch screen: Have you ever stood at a touch-screen terminal in a shop punching away at the screen, trying to get it to register your touch? Despite what Apple disparagingly called "small plastic keyboards" on other mobiles, they're way more likely to work reliably than a touch-screen. No doubt Jobs has licensed the world's best touch-screen technology, but it's still likely to be the weakest point of the phone.

5. Heavy data usage: There's a reason why networks love ‘push email' phones like the Blackberry: it's because a tremendous amount of compression and optimisation can be done at the carrier-side before the data is sent over the air. An ultra-heavy user of a Blackberry might only use 20MB in a month - regular users will use just a few megs. On the other hand, the iPhone uses old-world ‘polling' email methods - POP3 or IMAP, where the phone will check every X minutes for new email and download full emails. The phone might have enough CPU power to rescale that 7MB JPEG, but it still has to download a 7MB JPEG. Either the service fees that go with the phone are going to be huge, or carriers are going to take a bath on data pricing and risk network congestion.

6. Only a two megapixel camera: OK, camera phones are never going to beat a digital SLR, but Sony Ericsson has had a 3.2 Megapixel cameraphone out for months now. Unless S-E tied up exclusive supply on that part, it's tough to see why Apple wouldn't have gone for it.

7. Proprietary tie-ins: Look, I'm not saying that the rest of the mobile industry isn't rife with proprietary tie-ins. Every carrier installs their crap onto mobiles, they disable useful manufacturer features so that you're forced to use their less-useful and more expensive services. But shouldn't we hold Apple to a higher standard? The iPhone can do push email according to Jobs, but only for people who have a Yahoo webmail account. Bad luck if you prefer Gmail or some other mail provider.

8. No video iChat: Er, hello? Apple has an incredible base of customers out there with integrated webcams - doubtlessly more than any other PC or software maker - so what a missed opportunity!

9. Apple chooses your mobile network: Apple has announced that its exclusive sales partner in the US will be the mobile network Cingular. Presumably, that's because even though iPhone is going to be an obvious hit, there are many political battles Apple faces in breaking into the telco world: powerful alliances and rebate schemes between handset makers and networks, the networks' fears that Apple might at some point introduce iTunes purchasing over-the-air, stealing away one of their valuable revenue streams and more. The end result? In each country, the phone will probably be locked to one carrier. (Interestingly, though, in Australia, carriers are legally obliged to unlock phones free of charge at the customer's request - though that doesn't cancel other contractual obligations such as ongoing plan fees.)

10. Only 8GB storage: Ok, ok, sure, it's the biggest storage capacity of any phone on the market, probably, but 8GB is still pretty limited. Considering how good the video playback capabilities of the iPhone are, it's unfortunate that you won't actually be able to fit that much video on the device.

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