On the iPhone

Well, since everyone else seems to have an opinion on it, I may as well, too. First up, I wouldn’t buy one, for a number of reasons:

  • I like having a mechanical keypad – say what you like, but you can’t use a virtual keypad without looking at it.
  • I like being able to use Java MIDP applications.
  • I can’t tolerate the lack of performance you get without 3G.

The iPhone isn’t a smartphone – it’s a feature phone. The defining feature of a smartphone is the ability to run user-installed applications, and the iPhone forbids that (it’s priced like a smartphone, though). Now if you want a smartphone, buy one – there’s no point buying an iPhone and trying to hack it. Apple doesn’t care about people who hack iPhones – they already have your money.

I have no issues with the price drop – that’s standard practice for mobile handsets. You make as much money as you can to begin with, and then lower the price to keep sales up. Everyone does it. If you complained about that, you’re a crybaby. What I really don’t like is the amount of crap coming from Jobs and the fanboys.

First of all, the argument that you’re better off without user-installed applications because they could bring down a mobile network. Well all I can say is that it would have to be a very flaky network for that to happen. We’ve had mobile applications for Java MIDP, Symbian, Windows Mobile and BREW for years and there hasn’t been any trouble. Mobile networks are designed so that a badly behaved device won’t bring them down, and mobile handsets are designed so that one bad application won’t bring them down. And if that was the real reason, the iPod Touch would allow you to install applications. No, the real reason is presumably due to the way Apple have got a deal where they get a cut of revenue from the mobile carriers – if you could install your own applications, it could erode this.

Next up, all the crap about why 3G isn’t any better. It’s true that early 3G handsets had poor battery life, but they’re much better now, and at least as good as EDGE handsets. But even if 3G really did give poor battery life, it would be worth it. The data rates and round trip times on 3G leave EDGE for dead. EDGE is a hack on top of a hack – GSM wasn’t designed to provide packet-switched data. Also, voice call quality is far better on 3G. It sounds clearer, and sounds great up until the point where it drops out. Contrast this with GSM where the conversation starts to break up and get noisy long before you lose the connection. And last but not least, you can’t roam in Japan without 3G.

The very aggressive SIM locking is a bit of an interesting issue. Now the reason for it is obvious – Apple gets a cut of the revenue from the carrier, so they want you to stay. None of the other handset manufacturers have deals like this, so they don’t care anywhere near as much about whether you can unlock your handset. You may be able to get away with this practice in the US, but EU regulations clearly state that carriers must allow customers to buy their way out of contracts and unlock their handsets if they do. If they’re perfectly fair and balanced, they will enforce this, and compel Apple to provide a means of unlocking iPhones. Let’s hope they don’t have to be dragged through the courts first.

Last of all, there are ringtones. I do have a variety of ringtones on my handset. I assign different tones to different contacts, so I can tell who’s calling immediately (although I have it set to vibrate only most of the time, anyway). I didn’t pay for any of my ringtones. My handset will accept any AAC, MP3 or MIDI file as a ringtone. Assuming I am not violating copyright by possessing the files to begin with, I am entitled to use them as ringtones. I have no idea how anyone can say that iPhone ringtones are a good deal: paying for a song twice or more so you can hear it when someone calls is just stupid.

This entry was posted on Monday, 8 October, 2007 at 9:56 am and is filed under Apple, Phones, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply