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?