After a bit over a week spent unlearning eight years of bad phone habits – like having to press buttons to do things – I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on what the iPhone 3G is all about. It’s far from perfect and thankfully all of my issues can be fixed in firmware updates, but overall it’s a fantastic device and I love it. Here are my observations and suggestions.
First, a few criticisms and suggestions for the thousands of daily visits I get from Apple’s iPhone team:
Expand the Bluetooth functions. I understand the need to lock down certain aspects of the hardware, but why can’t I send files to and from it over Bluetooth to use the phone as a portable drive? Almost every phone on the market allows that and they have nowhere near 16GB or storage. Also: I can understand the battery concerns of syncing iTunes, but being able to sync my contacts and calendars wirelessly would be nice.
Let me use my own ringtones. Kindly allowing me to pay extra to turn one of a selection of songs on iTunes into a tone is frankly rubbish. Yes, it’s cheaper than the £3 extortion that some official services provide, but very rarely will I have a song as a ringtone that’s ever likely to be on iTunes, and other phones let me stick any old MP3 on there. And what about when the tone I want isn’t actually music, like the codec sound from MGS? Don’t assume that I’m pirating a song for the purposes of a ringtone. Thankfully there’s iToner to avoid this problem, but I shouldn’t need a third-party app to give me such basic functionality.
Interface standardisation? Apple is usually good about creating interface guidelines and it’s a major reason why OS X is so nice to use, but why aren’t the built-in apps on my iPhone uniform? Why is the button to compose a new email in the bottom-right, but the one to compose a new text message is in the top-right? Why can I turn the phone and type on a landscape keyboard for when I occasionally need to enter text on a web page while email has no support for landscape orientation? Just be consistent.
Give me options for how my contacts work. I like the Address Book integration, and the ability to pick someone’s name and have all their contact information – home phone, work phone, mobile, email addresses, etc – available with one tap. However, why doesn’t searching for ‘dad’ bring up my dad’s details when his nickname field is filled in as ‘Dad’? And why does a call from home not just say ‘Home’ – it’s the home number on my personal Address Book entry, after all – rather than ‘Home to Olly Dean and three others’? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
Let me charge from my USB hub. I have a hub plugged into the back of my 360, which powers several devices like my HDMI switch. You’d think, given that the iPhone is generally charged over USB, that I could charge it from that without having to leave my laptop on or go hunting for hen’s teeth a free power socket, but no. I’m not entirely sure why, either. Even if it’s slower than sucking the full power from an active computer, at least let me do it. I don’t care if it takes all night rather than an hour, because I’m not using it overnight.
And now, with that out the way, let the gushing begin… Continue reading iPhone 3G Impressions