The iPhone, 48 hours later

So, I’ve had an iPhone for a bit over 48 hours now. My impression?

First the good:
* The Web experience on this thing is absolutely phenomenal. Despite having a smaller screen, it’s even better than the N800. The zoom functionality and real browser are a breath of fresh air. I really can’t say enough good things about this aspect of the device.
* The built-in apps are all decent. The Contacts apps is especially good for a stock offering.
* The battery life is better than I expected, considering the size of the screen.
* The device just looks really good. Coming from a Treo, the form factor is also very refreshing. For the next week or so, pulling one of these out will draw a small crowd. As always, that will pass.
* Wifi

The bad (and unlike a lot of the glowing reviews I’ve seen, I think there are quite a few of them):
* The activation process is silly. Why would I possibly need iTunes to activate a cell phone. The process (after you get iTunes) is very straight forward, but so simplified that I have no idea what plan I have right now. The Cin AT&T site still gives me an error when trying to log in to my account. As I noted in my previous post, the AT&T part of the experience has been sub-par in general so far.
* While the preloaded apps are all decent, the lack of real third party apps is a real killer. There are rumors this will change in the future, but if it doesn’t I think the success and utility of the iPhone will be extremely limited. One great thing about the Treo was that you could find an app for almost anything. No SSH, for instance, will likely be a deal breaker for me and the iPhone. I only use it occasionally, but when I need it it’s absolutely critical. I will concede that on the Treo some apps do make the thing very unstable. There has to be a middle ground somewhere. I need a time tracker, a nice TODO app and a whole bunch of things Apple may never provide.
* The iPod functionality on the iPhone isn’t exactly like a regular iPod. It may just be a matter of time, but GTKpod doesn’t work with it yet and in general you can’t just drop items into the iPhone like you can with a nano.
* No DUN tethering. The Bluetooth in general is fairly limited. Another place the Treo is far superior.
NOTE: You may see a pattern starting to form here. Many of the problems are the result of the device being an extremely closed platform at this point. How much this will change remains to be seen.
* While I have gotten more used to the keyboard after a bit of use, it’s only a “non-issue” when typing URL’s, search strings and short SMS messages. I can’t see ever being able to do long emails or even take notes at a conference with the proficiency that a real keyboard like a Treo or Blackberry allows.
* They designed this thing so that 99% of all existing headphones won’t fit into the jack because of….????

As you can see, the cons are many. There are also a lot of smaller items that I left off the list as you have to assume that Apple will address them (no MMS, no games, no video, no custom ringtones, etc). The question becomes, will I keep the iPhone or return it in the 14 day window that I have. That I’m not sure of yet. News that the Linux-based Treo has been delayed yet again makes it tempting, but if some of the major concerns I have aren’t addressed soon I may very well ditch it. One nice thing is that the bar has been raised. I expect a number of really interesting devices to hit the market in 6-9 months. Competition is good.

–jeremy

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2 Responses to The iPhone, 48 hours later

  1. jschiwal says:

    According to a Leo Laporte podcast, you can’t even use iTunes on a different computer. The second computer won’t even recognise the phone.

  2. skitch says:

    Glad to see that someone else is worried about the iPhone working with GTKPod. Also glad to see that someone else has most of the same complaints as I do.

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