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A more objective look at iPhone (part 1: Things the iPhone can't do)

Having had my iPhone for nearly two weeks, now I was planning on writing up a bit more about my experience with the iPhone a little later in the week but have been spurred on by a post at BittubeBlog.

Let’s break it down into; Things the iPhone can’t do, Things the iPhone does badly, Things the iPhone does well.
I’m not sure i’ll get the time to write the whole article today so i’ll split it into three posts.

Things the iPhone can’t do

Firstly, these issues can be split into two groups; Hardware limitation and Software limitation.
I think it’s important to call these out seperately as obviously the Hardware stuff can’t be changed whereas the Software limitations _can_ be changed. Infact, and I need to find the quote, I read earlier in the week that a spokesperson from either o2 or Apple had confirmed that there will be additions to the software to bring it further inline with existing handsets.


The camera – let’s make no bones about it, 2mp these days is a poor show. It has no flash which is something that is fairly common these days. It has no zoom, digitial or otherwise. Again this is almost standard on recent camera phones.
Quality wise, it produces adequate images when you manage to get good lighting. I’d compare it to the camera in a Macbook iSight.
Will I use it? Probably not as often as i’ve used the camera on previous phones, especially as it is missing the MMS ability (see Software section).

Connectivity – The EDGE network is pretty much as I expected, fairly slow. However, in comparison to the 3G service I used previously on Vodafone, it takes roughly the same amount of time to load Gmail or Google docs into Safari as my previous phone took to load the ‘optimized’ versions. Using it for IMAP connection to Gmail via the built in mail.app clone, it is more than satisfactory. I find myself able to check my email far easier than with my previous phone, although that is mostly likely due to Google rolling out IMAP support to Gmail.
WiFi – This actually works very well and does well to subsidise the EDGE network. Infact, when out and about I find myself using WiFi networks more than EDGE. The number of open networks (whether intentional or not :D) has been quite pleasing. A quick look on The Clouds website shows a number of free to use networks in most of the bars and shops that I frequent locally. Even the local Sainsburys had an open network the other day, most useful for checking my grocery list on Google Docs. 🙂


These are items that i’m sure could be fixed/included in a later update – whether they do or not is a different matter.

Bluetooth – Unable to transmit or recieve data from other devices. This is something I miss from my previous phone, recieving contacts, images or videos from colleagues and friends. Also, you can’t use it as a modem device over bluetooth either, i’m not sure you’d want to using EDGE anyway! I’d like to be able to sync my calendars and contacts over bluetooth (or even better over WiFi) to my Macbook without having to sync with iTunes.
MMS – You aren’t able to receive native MMS messages, instead you are sent an SMS message from o2 containing a password to view the image online at www.02.co.uk. I don’t know how this works with video or audio.
Video Recording – What with the fairly low pixel count on the camera, i’m not sure you’d want to use this anyway.
SMS – Due to the way that SMS conversations are stored, There is no way to send a message to multiple recipients. I’d quite often use this on a Saturday watching the football. There is no way to receive delivery reports for SMS messages. There is no way to forward on a sent or received SMS to another recipient. Lastly, if you accidentally hit the SEND button, you cannot cancel the message. This has caught me out a number of times, resulting in confusing and wasted SMSs!
Keyboard – I’m used to the T9 standard of predictive text, in that it offers you a list of potential words. I can see why this isn’t used on the iPhone (as you have the whole keyboard not just a bunch of numbers) but it only offers you one word which you have to forcibly reject by tapping the screen on the recommended word. This can get annoying when you hit space and it automatically changes what you’ve entered. The lack of Copy & Paste is also frustrating, not just from within SMS conversations or emails but you should be able to C&P between applications. If I want to quote something from a webpage or indeed a URL in SMS, you have to remember it and type it out yourself.
Images – Although they claim that it is a full version of Safari on the iPhone, there are a number of things missing. The most noticable for me so far is the inability to save images from webpages. If they fixed this it would be a decent enough workaround to the lack of direct MMS support.
Documents – It would be nice to be able to create/edit documents (iWork/Office/whatever) on the go and have them sync’d (over Bluetooth or WiFi :)) with the Macbook.

That pretty much concludes my list so far of things the iPhone doesn’t do. Rather than rant on about how much it sucks, i’ll try and sweeten the deal by writing up the good side of it next.

[tags]iPhone, o2, SMS, MMS, Apple, Mac[/tags]

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