10 Reasons to Hate iPhone 3G Already

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UPDATE: This post originally borrowed liberally from an article written by reporter Dan Warne for APC Magazine. Though I linked to Dan’s piece and indicated the “10 Reasons” were his ideas and not mine, I realize now that reprinting his article with only the slightest changes and editing on my part could be seen as misleading at best and were certainly not in keeping with the standards to which I and Cult of Mac aspire. I ask for readers’ – and especially for Mr. Warne’s – forgiveness for my error — Lonnie Lazar.

People have been dying for the iPhone 3G for over a year, ever since the first user attempted downloading a web page on AT&T’s excruciatingly slow EDGE network. And let there be no doubt, when the phone hits global streets on July 11, people will rejoice, the coffers at Apple HQ in Cupertino will once again groan with excess and mobile carriers from AT&T to Vodaphone to O2 will breathe short-lived sighs of relief.

But in spite of the wow-inducing touchscreen interface, the bright and bold display, the push-synching of email, contacts, calendar, tasks and photos from Apple’s new MobileMe services, and the relative pleasures of speed on the 3G network – as always – Apple will have released a product that fails to meet some consumers’ insatiable expectations.

Herewith, 10 reasons to feel like Steve Jobs is ripping you off once again, as compiled by APC Magazine reporter Dan Warne:

1. No upgrade to the camera
2. No Adobe Flash support
3. No instant messaging
4. Totally impractical for international travel
5. Not compatible with Bluetooth car kits or headphones

For the remaining 5 reasons, visit APC Magazine.

1. No upgrade to the camera – While plenty of other phones boast up to 5 megapixel cameras, optical zoom, lens-based autofocus and flash, the camera in the iPhone 3G is exactly the same as the first-gen one. Still stuck at two megapixels. Still unable to cope in low-light and still no flash. Oh, and there’s no video recording capability either, even though this has been found on phones for the last five years or so.2. No Adobe Flash support – The “missing plugin” icon promises to spoil the beauty of Apple’s best-in-class mobile web browser when you navigate to a website using Adobe Flash. Apple says Flash would run too slowly on the iPhone, but in reality, it’s probably more to do with Apple wanting to promote its competing web app development technology, Sproutcore.With the mobile web at a tipping point, this is probably a calculated decision, as we wrote yesterday, to encourage developers to use Apple’s open source technology and support the long-term viability of the OS X mobile platform.3. No instant messaging – The gift that keeps on giving from Steve Jobs to mobile carriers. Rather than sending instant messages over the internet to friends, the iPhone sends them by SMS, despite the fact that Apple has great instant messaging software for Mac called iChat.SMS is widely considered the most expensive data service in the world, with each message only 165 characters long but charged by phone companies at around 20c per message. Multiplied out, that equates to 1.3 million dollars per gigabyte of SMSes. (By comparison, Aussie mobile network Three offers 1GB of high speed internet usage for $15.)This ludicrous situation may one day be plugged by third-party application developers who will develop internet-based chat clients for iPhone. However, Apple does not allow applications to run in the background on the iPhone; instead, developers must run an internet-based service, send a message to Apple servers, which will then send a message to the iPhone to alert the user to open the app. Yes, it may save battery life on the iPhone, but no, it’s not exactly convenient.On a Blackberry, the Blackberry Messenger just sits quietly in the background. If your phone is on, so is Blackberry Messenger. It’s 100% reliable. It doesn’t send messages using a stupid method like SMS. It uses the Blackberry’s unlimited internet access. And yes, Blackberries do have good battery life.4. Totally impractical for international travel – The iPhone downloads full emails, attachments and all, when you view them on the iPhone. If someone sends you an email with several megabytes of photos attached, that’s how much data has to be downloaded by the iPhone. That’s fine if you’re in your home country and have an unlimited data plan. But go to another country and see how much it costs you you can expect to pay up to $20 per megabyte. Your roaming charges will soon be running into hundreds of dollars.Not to harp on about the Blackberry, but when you roam with one of them, it’s quite cheap, because the Blackberry servers downscale images to perfectly fit the size of the Blackberry screen before sending them a huge saving in data transfer charges, and messages are heavily compressed before transmission, etc. In fact, even heavy Blackberry users may be surprised to learn that they use less than 5MB of data per month.5. Not compatible with Bluetooth car kits or headphones – Considering Apple wants the world to take the iPhone seriously for its phone capabilities, it’s truly incredible that it has hobbled the Bluetooth audio capability so much.iPhone 3G will only work with Apple’s mono Bluetooth headset and a handful of other companies’ similar units. No support for Bluetooth stereo or in-car Bluetooth handsfree. Other smartphones support stereo Bluetooth for streaming to headphones or a stereo, and many models work with Bluetooth car handsfree units (though there are still compatibility glitches between brands, admittedly.)Could it be because Apple wants to make money from car equipment manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz, who build an iPod dock connector into their car stereos?6. No cut and paste – Still.7. Non user-replaceable battery – Not only is this massively inconvenient, it’s a cunning attempt by Apple to get people to simply buy a new iPhone when the battery finally dies. People will be asking themselves”¦ “do I pay $105.95 to get my old iPhone battery fixed, or do I pay $199.00 to buy the latest and greatest model of iPhone?” How does this business strategy fit into the whole Global Warming-eWaste-Sutainability matrix?8. No MMS – So you’ve snapped a nice photo on your iPhone and you want to send it to a friend? You’d better hope they have email on their phone, because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to send it to them with the iPhone. For some reason, despite its ridiculous decision to force all instant messaging through SMS, Apple has totally left out MMS (picture/video SMSes) from the iPhone. You will send your photos using the Apple-authorised method, by email.9. No turn-by-turn navigation – Apple built a GPS satellite navigation receiver into the iPhone, but stopped short of offering voiced, turn-by-turn navigation into the device. Yes, you can plot directions from your current position to somewhere else, and you can watch yourself as a little dot on the map. Whee. If you’re thinking this is merely a “nice to have” feature and not a necessity, compare Apple to Nokia, which has been offering voiced, 3D, turn-by-turn navigation on its phones for a couple of years now.10. Stunning hypocrisy – Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller ridiculed market leader Blackberry for the complexity of its push email service at the SDK rollout presentation in March, pointing out that your messages have to pass through a RIM messaging server and a network operations center before they’re sent out to your phone. Plus you have to pay extra for the service.With the iPhone 3G, Apple introduces MobileMe, a service that “¦ passes your email through an Apple messaging server before it is sent through to your phone. And it costs $99 per year extra. Spot any similarity with RIM’s business model?It seems stunningly hypocritical for Apple’s to criticize the technology of the market leader in the US smartphone space, then adopt the same technologies in its own product. On the other hand, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

88 responses to “10 Reasons to Hate iPhone 3G Already”

  1. jalarmo says:

    The thing is that the basic functionality is way above competing devices. Phone calling, internet browsing, media playing. These things all “just work”, and work very well.

    Go ahead, switch to Blackberry or Symbian. Those platforms have cut-and-paste and MMS, but they don’t do BASIC PHONE/INTERNET/MEDIA STUFF right.

    While you’re at it, sell your Toyota and buy a Volkswagen. More features = better product, right?

  2. Michael W says:

    It works fine with my in car bluetooth. Acura 2006.

  3. charli says:

    this is a work in progress. if you go back and look at the palm, blackberry, sidekick etc, they were not perfect by the end of their first year. maybe not by the second. they were probably still tied to one cell provider at that point even (I think the sidekick still is t-mobile only). the point? many of the things you are griping about could change an another year. as for mobileme, it’s more than just for the phone. it’s mac.com spread to PCs so you are talking web accessible imap email, disk storage space for files, websites etc. from your phone or your computer. $99 a year for 20GB of email and website storage is actually quite good. even having to add $10 a year for my domain name registration that’s still only about $10 a month.

  4. JoeP says:

    A few valid points, but also gross distortions & outright falsehoods. Looks like Wired is trying to generate traffic, but it’s shoddy tech journalism.

  5. SebZar says:

    Lets short your list down a bit shall we.

    Point 2 can be removed: Flash is on its way to the iPhone: http://i1.no/05vg/
    Point 3 can be removed: Look! A Google search on IM clients for iPhone. And if you don’t like that browse to meebo.com for web-based IM.: http://i1.no/05vh/

    I’m missing a point too and that is that in most countries you have to buy your iPhone together with an operator contract. The SIM-locked iPhones. And were I live only the most expensive operators with the most downtime and problems are going to sell the iPhone. And that alone makes the iPhone the least interesting phone I have ever laid eyes on.

  6. lonbud says:

    @JoeP ~ Care to elaborate on the “gross distortions & outright falsehoods”?

    This piece is meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I think Mr. Warne raises some issues worth considering.

  7. clicknathan says:

    I realize it’s fun to play Devil’s Advocate, but the criticisms come off a bit overly harsh. MobileMe isn’t what they were comparing the RIM process of push technology to, but instead it was the entire way the phone will send “single packets” of info to your phone every few seconds or so. AIM already built a chat program, and that’s the whole point of the App Store, Apple doesn’t have to worry about building every desirable feature, they can let others do it and simply reap the profits.

    Still, cut and paste would be really nice.

  8. Nate says:

    How in the hell is this web site called the “Cult of Mac”? Do other cults spend their time tearing down, unfairly criticizing and angrily attacking the object of their cultishness?
    Based on what I read here often how about you change it to AppleBashers.com or WeHateEverythingAppleDoes.com.

    Is it unreasonable to ask a site claiming to be a “cult” for a little fandom to show through here once in a while? Geeze, lighten up.

  9. Alan Christensen says:

    Meanwhile, you could pay more for an iPod Touch that does even less than the new iPhone.

  10. George says:

    There are also reports that the cost of parts and manufacturing was sky high, meaning getting the iphone repaired is gonna be costly as well.

  11. doc brown says:

    One more thing to add to the list – no To Do lists. Seriously, how can any phone claim to be a “smartphone” without that? It would have been ridiculously easy to have integrated that by now, even on the first generation iPhone.

  12. Aaron says:

    While it is accurate to point at MobileMe vis a vis the push email similarities to RIM, it’s disingenuous to accuse them of blatant copying while ignoring the fact that in 10.6 (Snow Leopard) remote device management and push technologies are going to be built in.

    Yes. For $99 a year it’s a little silly if you’re doing a strictly apples to apples comparison to RIM (ignoring completely the other features that $99 gets you). But in “about a year” those who have 10.6 servers will be able to do push content themselves and not be bound to RIM’s servers or to the MobileMe servers.

  13. John Smith says:

    All (mostly) good points, but they all miss the mark when it comes to what Apple does best. Apple offers solutions for consumers that provide the easiest, quickest and most user-friendly way to communicate and be productive. In general, the satisfaction rates for the iPhone are off the charts, i.e. people LOVE IT. Those people who care about the 10 items listed above represent (in general) a small percentage of those who use (and love) their iPhones. The point is this: Apple has made people happy with their devices through ease of use, reliability and customer service. The nitty-gritty of it does not matter in the big picture, especially given their success in SPITE of the 10 characteristics (and similar) given above.

  14. Cosimoto says:

    I take issue with two points:

    1. video will be provided by a third party developer. It’s already been announced.

    2. In-car Bluetooth works great with both of my cars: a Lexus and a Prius. I’ve seen it work on many other models as well.

  15. Harry says:

    I’m really disappointed that iPhone v2 won’t have select-cut-copy-and-paste. Does anybody know whether version 2 will import .vcf files into it’s address book and .ics files into the Calendar?

  16. Anton says:

    2. No Adobe Flash support

    but that’s a good thing. okay, you need flash to view porn online, but otherwise, Flash is no longer anything more than a vehicle to deliver advertisements online. Uninstall Flash from your computer, and watch how much faster web pages load.

  17. David says:

    Seems to me the iphone bluetooth profile is standard. It has worked with every car that I have paired it with. Mercedes, BMW, Mini, Infiniti, Nissan, Audi, and lexus. I would like to know what cars with bluetooth handsfree it doesn’t work with.
    MMS Sucks, although if you like sending postage stamp pictures around I hope they add this feature for you.

  18. gianmauro says:

    1) BLUETOOTH: iPhone works fine with bluetooth on my BMW 650.

    2) ATTACHMENTS: My iPhone doesn’t download attachments by dfault. It needs an extra clic to download every single attachment.

    3) MMS: MMS has been a failure in every market. In many others has not been launched (Japan). Actually it’s no required if the phone has a good email client (iPhone case).

  19. Thom says:

    Regarding the lame camera. It would be nice to have flash, zoom etc – but I prefer a slim phone.

    Have you seem how thick the Nokia N95 is?!?!

  20. shannon says:

    No Flash? Good. What a waste of time. I resent sites which use it anyway; the fact that it doesn’t work on my phone is no more frustrating.

  21. MEHSTG says:

    Works fine with my Bury car kit in my Mercedes: I use the same cradle as a Blackberry!!

    A lot of whining for a product which is only two generations and one year old.

    Seriously, RIM have been doing this for five years. I dislike some aspects of the iPhone, but within two years, you can only see (maybe) Android-loaded phones taking it on.

  22. JoeP says:

    “@JoeP ~ Care to elaborate on the “gross distortions & outright falsehoods”?”

    Ok.

    “The iPhone downloads full emails, attachments and all, when you view them on the iPhone”

    When you view emails on the iPhone, the iPhone does *not* dl the full content. Larger attachments like PDFs are shown as clickable links. I have used the iPhone internationally, and it worked extremely well for me- certainly not “totally impractical.”

    “do I pay $105.95 to get my old iPhone battery fixed”

    Conveniently you cite the worst case, full-retail price, when as with the iPod, 3rd parties will be offering replacement service at a fraction of the cost. You call the non-replaceable battery “massively inconvenient,” but I’ve never replaced a cell phone battery in my Motorolas, either.

    “plenty of other phones boast up to 5 megapixel cameras, optical zoom, lens-based autofocus and flash…”

    No phones have these features within the iPhone’s slim form factor.

    “This ludicrous situation [lack of chat client] may one day be plugged by third-party application developers”

    May “one day”? “May”? We’ll have third-party solutions next month. They have been amply publicized. Have you been paying any attention at all?

    I could go through this article point-by-point and document the rest of the inaccuracies, but I don’t have time. Shoddy tech journalism, seemingly a troll for clicks.

  23. drew Clausing says:

    Considering global warming is a heist, the need to buy a new one every couple years doesn’t matter too much.

  24. YodaMac says:

    My iPhone regularly downloads only PART of large emails – letting me know how much more it has to download and providing an icon to click on if I wish to continue downloading the rest of the large mail message.

    Not sure how he missed that.

  25. Jonsie says:

    The ONE thing I *really* need is good solid syncing between my mac and my phone. I have not found this, using MANY phones, treos, 3rd-party sync software, etc. etc. etc.

    Now, if the ToDo and Notes features from the Leopard Mail tool are NOT synchronized, it will be extremely disappointing. Extremely.

  26. Jason Holliston says:

    Several people called foul on #5, or bluetooth support limitations, but only addressed the car compatibility portion. Personally, I can’t believe that more tech/Apple news sites haven’t made a bigger deal about the second version of the software — at least revealed so far — not supporting some sort of wireless transmission of your music. The assumption is that support would come over stereo bluetooth, but it could be otherwise provided. The point is, what the heck is going on down in Cupertino that something this obvious doesn’t make the priority cut? The iPhone is essentially a 7th gen iPod, and 7 generations later, you still need to run a cord to your device if you want to listen to music (ignoring inelegant 3rd party solutions).

    I keep hoping that this is something that will show up in the final spec after the release, but I wouldn’t put money on it. Surprising — even a little shocking.

  27. Ian T says:

    that was a debbie downer…..

  28. William Jones says:

    Apple used to have a liting of the vehicle manufacturers that supported iPods and iPhones in their cars. They still have a page with instructions on how to pair your iPhone with your car’s bluetooth system – it’s at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT… if you’d like to take a look.

    I have a 2008 Lexus RX350, that I purchased specifically because it had a bluetooth hands-free kit included. I also looked at the Mercedes-Benz ML350 and the BMW X5, both of which also offer hands-free cell phone integration. You really should do your homework before you publish such an absurd falsehood. Maybe the iPhone doesn’t have A2DP, but to say it can’t even do hands-free in a car, well that’s shoddy even by a blogger’s viewpoint.

  29. Joel Fagin says:

    Many of the bad things you list can be done in software – even video recording is probably just a tweak. Apple undoubtably intends to bring them to the iPhone with an update but had to prioritise them to the side for now. This is exempting Flash, of course, which is probably never coming to the iPhone. I don’t consider that to be a flaw, however.

  30. Jason says:

    My iPhone works just fine with my bluebooth car kit. What are you talking about?

  31. Tim says:

    If I want to take pictures I use a camera. Wanting a 5-megapixel camera in a phone (1) shows how the myth of megapixels-over-quality has pervaded the consumer psyche (remember the MHz wars, anyone?) and (2) simply chews up heaps more valuable memory space for very little value. I’d be changing the settings to reduce the pixel count anyway. Better *quality* 2MB images, however, would be welcome…

  32. Jenny says:

    Pordrigas bastardo Dan Warne se Lizardo rooto insignificante penus por favor.

  33. Macrus says:

    i red that sumwhere b4. in austria i bleeve.

  34. Anthony Caruana says:

    Wired mag should know better than to copy/paste an entire story. Why not just link and then add your own commentary? Instead the writer and publication have had almost an entire story ripped.

    You copy/paste far exceeds any fair use provision I know of.

    Shame on you Wired.

  35. David says:

    Nice way to almost entirely rip off another magazine’s article and get ‘free’ copy for yourselves, rather than just _highlight_ the piece and have readers click the link for more. Do you really think that anyone will bother with your obligatory link when you so fully detail the article’s 10 criticisms here? I’d expect this treatment from a lazy amateur blogger, but not a Wired property!

  36. Simon Sharwood says:

    This is a pretty outrageous cut and paste job, ripping more than 1000 words from another publication.
    That’s way beyond fair use. How would you feel if someone lifted 1000 of your words, Lonnie?
    My opinion of Wired – and I have bought *every* issue – just went down. A long way.

  37. mike Barrick says:

    numbers 4 and 5 are bullshit
    get ALL your facts straight before you post.
    you are going to buy one if you don’t already have one
    so shut up with all your crappy ass post.
    everybody knows the new iphone will be better

  38. luke says:

    just as a “me too!” addition, iPhones work fine with my wife’s Nissan Sentra bluetooth setup. you really should remove that as a reason.

  39. Amirah says:

    WOW!! I really wanted an iPhone 3G and was ignoring any negative reviews on it…Until I read this!!
    Well, I’m having second thoughts now……….And, its gonna cost £300 on pay as you go..at least here in the UK

  40. Amirah says:

    WOW!! I really wanted an iPhone 3G and was ignoring any negative reviews on it…Until I read this!!
    Well, I’m having second thoughts now……….And, its gonna cost £300 on pay as you go..at least here in the UK

  41. Big Patate says:

    Yeah iPhone suck, I’m so jalous.

  42. JoeP says:

    I cannot believe that Lonnie Lazar is still writing for Cult of Mac after this debacle.

    Where is Leander Kahney?

    I am deleting Cult of Mac from my RSS reader, and I won’t add it back as long as Lazar is around. I think it’s time for Cult of Mac to demonstrate that it understands the importance of editorial standards.

  43. lkahney says:

    @JoeP: Lonnie mistakenly thought it was OK to reproduce APC Magazine’s list because he’d included attribution and a link up top. Lonnie is now aware that it’s not OK to lift linked articles wholesale. Lonnie is doing a good job here and this was an honest rookie mistake. As you can see, we’ve amended the post and apologized to APC. I hope this demonstrates our editorial standards.

  44. JoeP says:

    @Leander Kahney: “rookie mistake”?

    Google shows that this guy has been blogging since 2001. He is hardly a “rookie.” As far as Wired’s editorial standards are concerned – this whole thing as a giant WTF.