I’m a gadget freak. I’ll buy the latest and greatest even if it means I have to live on bread and water for the rest of the month. It’s a disease — gotta have, gotta have. It drives you crazy because just as you get the latest, then the next version comes out a month later at half the price.
So on to Apple’s iPhone… I had my first taste of the new interface when Greg Gordon of the Geeklist showed me his iPod touch (16G) in Franschhoek (of all places). Then recently in Ireland, latimes.com editor Meredith Artley showed me her shiny, new iPhone. I have to admit it was awesome. The touchscreen was out of this world and responsive and the interface very intuitive. Arguably it’s a paradigm shift for mobile OSs. It makes my HTC P4350 look like a piece of chewed biltong.
But here are my issues, and the reasons why I will not be buying an iPhone:
- This iPhone is merely version 1.0. And, yes — while my friends will temporarily ooh and aah at it making me feel like a minor celebrity, I know that if I’m patient there is a much better one on the way. In fact if you consider how many new iPod upgrades there were and how frequently they occurred, we can expect new, improved iPhones fairly shortly.
- Also — why should I pay a premium for a phone that is not 3G/HSDPA. It’s just a donkey cart. Even though it’s the best looking donkey cart in town, it’s still a donkey cart — a donkey cart that even a beat-up old Volkswagen could out-pace. Chatting to the knowledgeable Vin Crosbie, also in Ireland, he mentioned the GPRS/Edge/2.5G specs on the phone may have something to do with the state of the US cellphone networks which are hampered by legacy issues as a result of heavy investment in earlier, older cellphone technology.
- The 2.0 megapixel camera is a bit lame… even though this is something that doesn’t bother me too much, I would have expected more from what is arguably a paradigm-shifting cellphone.
- There is no slide-out keyboard. Not everyone will agree with me here, but once you have used one, it’s difficult to revert to something smaller. Typing on the screen is cool for SMSs and short stuff — but when you want to type out a fairly long email, you quickly become frustrated on the small touch-screen keyboard. If Apple don’t want to do a slideout keyboard for size and weight reasons, they should make it a software change so that the keyboard can be expanded in iPhone landscape mode.
- The iPhone’s memory is only only 8 gigabytes. Eight gigs was great maybe in the 1990s. But now, even my goldfish needs more than 8 gigs. The next iPhone will most likely be a leap, with quadruple this space, if not more.
- There is also no GPS (global positioning system) which is fast becoming a de facto standard in cellphones these days. Also it should be standard on a power phone, which is what iPhone purports to be. GPS has many uses, other than just finding your way around…. for example when you are in a particular region or suburb, the phone could suggest to you things you may want to see, visit or buy in that area, based on a filter of your likes and dislikes. It may also warn you if you are walking into a crime-ridden area. There may even be a social networking function that tells you if friends are in your area… and many things that we have not even thought of. (Thanks to Kerry Haggard of the Geeklist who reminded me about the missing GPS).
- Lastly, Apple have apparently decided not to bring the iPhone out to South Africa. Why, I don’t know. There are people gagging for it here. There is even a Facebook protest group created by Tyler Reed. This is a savvy, early-adopter country, being the 6th biggest country on Facebook by registered users. The market is not the biggest, but is classed as a “mid-sized”, “middle-income” country… and then there is the small issue of 32-35-million active cellphone users here. Bad decision, Apple. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth…
The iPhone may finally push me into buying a Mac. I’ve always used a PC for gaming and familiarity reasons and because it syncs better with my windows mobile phone… but I far prefer the Mac. Laptops also can’t keep up with gaming specs these days, so it means I’ll be looking at a dedicated gaming console. I’m running out of reasons why I need to continue working on a PC. Buying an iPhone may finally push me into mac territory.
If I really want an iPhone, I can get one here in South Africa. I’ll pay a premium for it (in fact double the price). A friend of mine offered me one, unlocked, on my Facebook wall last week. But for now — I think I’m going to wait a while…