Why I won't be buying an iPhone

iphone.jpgI’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…

Comments (9)

  1. brian wrote::

    Buying a Mac is just plain stupid – especially here at the arse end of Africa. It may be functional and incrementally more stable than Windows but the price is ridiculous. Another reason to avoid Mac is the cost of software – typically twice that of the same package on the idiotic Windows platform. Hmmm … is that stable enough to be called a platform , but I digress.

    If you want something that just works try a ThinkPad with Ubuntu. It rocks! And guess what, if you need support, contrary to popular belief it is available – both the free kind and the contracted kind.



    Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 12:14 pm #
  2. Barry wrote::

    I won’t get one either. Purely because there is no keyboard. I had an all-screen phone before, and it’s a nightmare. You cannot type anything without actually looking at the screen.

    My current phone (Sony Ericsson M600i) has a full QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen. It’s the best combination I’ve had.

    Oh yes, and EDGE? Give me a break!

    Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 12:55 pm #
  3. Kerry wrote::

    Buying a Mac is like buying a microwave used to be – once you have one, you can’t imagine life without it. Yes, they’re a little pricey, but to extend the analogy, why drive a VW Chico when you could be driving a very beautiful, very fast, feature-loaded Mercedes?

    And if you buy a MacBook Pro, you can happily use it for gaming as well – my other half prefers his machine for World of Worldcraft over any other box – PC or Mac – that he’s played on – and he gets to play with a different one every week or two.

    They other half has also very successfully synched a Windows mobile phone with Mac – so cross that off your list of reservations…

    Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 1:48 pm #
  4. Paul Jacobson wrote::

    Actually, the space to watch is Google’s Android. We should see Android devices coming out 2nd half of next year and if they are anything like the demo video, the iPhone is an expensive hunk of hype.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 10:59 pm #
  5. CaliKilla wrote::

    Again…why would they need to bring technology to a country that isnt about technology? Who cares if it isnt there. Move to another country. There is no gain for migrating their phone to South Africa. Good move on their part.

    Friday, November 16, 2007 at 1:46 am #
  6. matt wrote::

    @ CaliKilla… you’re right…. its not about technology here — its about lions, tigers and elephants. Who needs an iPhone when you ride your lion to work everyday!

    Friday, November 16, 2007 at 9:16 am #
  7. Yasser wrote::

    With All of the above mentioned,
    i still consider the iphone numero uno! on my have to have list, but that’s only is if apple brings the iphone to SA. 🙂

    Friday, November 16, 2007 at 10:13 am #
  8. Jon Alport wrote::

    I used a PC for many years, and the only thing I regret is not switching to a mac earlier. I feel it’s not that accurate to say that Macs are more expensive than PCs, as a Mac and a PC with the same specs will cost roughly the same amount. Apple just doesn’t make low-end machines, with their range starting at the high end of the PC range.

    I think a truly unlocked iPhone can be found in France, due to laws against network locking…?

    Friday, November 16, 2007 at 2:45 pm #
  9. Rob wrote::

    Why is everyone going so gaga about the iPhone? It can’t do anything the SE P910i couldn’t do in 2004! Verily, a triumph of marketing over substance.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 8:17 pm #

Trackback/Pingback (1)

  1. youngBLOOD · Why I bought an iPhone on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    […] A few people have publicly declared why it’s a bad idea to get one, and I have previously conceded that I would be waiting until at least the third-generation models are launched, but about a week ago I broke down and purchased an Apple iPhone from a store in San Francisco for $399 plus tax. I took it straight back to my hotel room and had it unlocked + working with my Cell C SIM card in under 20 minutes. That’s already 10 points for the *unofficial* iPhone user-community. […]