Skip navigation

iRegret: Apple's smartphone isn't so smart

I've written a lot about the early reviews of the iPhone and how those people should all be ashamed of themselves. It looks like one of them is. And not to be a jerk about it, but he should be.

My feeling toward my iPhone has gone from reasonably hopeful to hopeless regret.

When I purchased the iPhone the day they came out, I told myself that the long list of gripes were tolerable because Apple would very likely add so many of the missing features commonly found on every other smartphone. Simple things, like the ability to look up a contact by tapping in a few letters, or a way to copy and paste information from and e-mail or Web page into a contact or note card.

Sure, I felt stung by the so-soon-after-launch $200 price drop, and only mildly mollified by the $100 Apple Store credit the company offered in apology for so blatantly screwing early adopters like me. But I was willing to accept even that providing the most important iPhone must-have of all — the ability to run standalone third-party applications — was possible. Which, thanks to a add-on called that opened up the iPhone to a growing library of cool programs like a GPS-like navigation tool and an ebook reader, was possible.

That is until Apple updated the iPhone’s firmware and, at best, merely disabled add-ons like, or, at worst, “bricked” iPhones.

I’m done with the iPhone for now. I’ll stick with the Palm Treo 680 and probably switch to Palm’s new Centro once Palm supports AT&T (currently the Centro works only with Sprint). Or I may give the BlackBerry Curve a longer trial to see if it’s a better solution.

Either phone does things I need to do, like sync with those sticky notes, and work with Word documents.

Both phones also let me remove and replace their rechargeable batteries. What's more, a company named Seidio even makes longer-lasting ones than the standard battery that comes with the Treo, the BlackBerry, and many other cell phones. No such luck on the iPhone's battery, which is sealed inside the device and must be sent to Apple for service when the battery needs repair or replacement.

But here's the part that really galls me, and this is why I'm calling out this guy here. Check out this silliness...

And while my review of the iPhone ended with the revelation that I’d typed the entire first draft of the story as a long e-mail using the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, the reality is I prefer the real mini-keyboards found on the BlackBerry and Treo smartphones to Apple’s unreal-feeling on-screen keyboard.

The iPhone is just too dumb to be taken seriously. Smarten up, Apple, and open up the iPhone. Seriously.

Wow. I mean. Wow.

This is a beautiful example of how the mainstream press can get caught up in Apple's reality distortion field and make mistakes, not just in their own lives, but in the advice they give to others.

So good for him to admit he's wrong. What took so long? And how many people bought iPhones based on his advice?

Folks, the iPhone is not a smartphone. It will not work with the corporate email system you're most likely using. It will not edit Microsoft Office documents. It does not work well with Outlook Calendar (if at all) and does not work at all with any other Windows- or Web-based calendars. It does not work with Hotmail. It does not offer a native Gmail application, and Apple will not allow third party developers to create real applications you can install and run on the device. It is, in short, a beautiful but almost completely pointless device unless your goal is to spend $400 up front and then at least $75 a month after taxes and relevant fees (yes, this is the minimum) to have a pretty device that doesn't do what every Palm and Windows Mobile-based phone has been able to do for years.

We are devolving into a culture that values (and promotes) form over functionality. I'm curious why a device like this can't do both. And I'm curious why a normal human being can't look at a product by Apple or any other company and just be honest about its strengths and weaknesses. Seriously, it's just common sense.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.