I thought I'd stop after traveling from event to event, catch my breath and take a moment to review my experiences working with the iPhone for the last month or so. The following musings are in no particular order.
- The user interface is really fun to use. Beauty, however, is only skin deep.
- Apple often shows how Safari, the photo viewer and the iPod application change from portrait to landscape mode when the device is turned to one side. Why don't other important applications, such as mail, do the same trick? While it is possible to expand the view of a portion of a message and scroll the image from side to side or up and down, it would seem more natural, to turn the device on its side and get a larger view that way. Another benefit to this approach is that the awful keyboard is presented with larger keys in landscape mode.
- Apple offers a creative dictionary that offers corrections as human-sized fingers try to touch the right Chiclet-size keys on the awful iPhone keyboard. It appears that Apple's engineers knew that there was a problem, were told that the keyboard was done and they had to just "live with it". So, they came up with solution - a dictionary that includes commonly misspelled words or words that were spelled correctly on adjacent keys on the keyboard. A portion of the time, the device figures out what I was trying to type and offers its discoveries to me as an option. If I touch the space bar (accidentally or on purpose) it replaces what I was typing with what was found it its little dictionary. This feature is really a joy when it substitutes the wrong word and I have to delete the bogus entry a character at a time and re-enter it on that awful keyboard. Users have no way to tell the device of commonly used words (such as Kusnetzky, of course) so that those words would be recognized after the first couple of keystrokes. Why didn't they use the same creativeness to fix the awful keyboard? This is clearly the most irritating feature on the device.
- Where's cut and paste????? I know that you've heard the cry for this simple function, a function that everyone else just included in their operating systems. I can't tell you how many times I've used unpleasant words when I've wanted to capture contact information that came in an Email message in my contact list. I've had to write the information down and manually enter it again using that awful keyboard.
- The on board calendar handles time zones in a really stupid way. The whole calendar can be set for a time zone. That's it. There's no way for a traveler to enter a flight that starts at a specific time in one time zone and ends at a specific time in another time zone on the device. A few more options are available if the events are created on a host device in Apple's iCal, Entourage or Microsoft's Outlook. My Treo 650 and my HTC Advantage had no problems with this. Please fix this Apple.
- I can see photos on the iPhone, but I can't delete them or rename them. The same is true of music files. Those operations have to be done on the host computer. Why doesn't Apple make it possible for the owner of the device to manage those files on the device?
- Although the device is able to display documents, presentation decks and the like, the only way to get these files onto the device is as an attachment to an Email message. Com'mon Apple, offer a file transfer utility to allow busy executives to take their documents along. (By the way, I know that there are several utilities that offer this capability in the iTunes app store. They are limited by the control Apple exerts on the device. Those applications can't manage photos or songs except in their own little world. They're not allowed to access those files in the main directories.)
- The device will fully synchronize with only one computer. What about those of us who keep our business and personal calendars on the device and synchronize with a machine at work and another one at home? Once again, I had no problems with this with other devices. Owners of these devices have come up with some interesting work-arounds, but nothing really works well. Third parties aren't allowed sufficient access to the inner workings of this device to fix the problem either. Apple's solution is to sell access to their online service. That service can synchronize data and/or automatically delete one's calendar and contact info on multiple computers. I don't want a service. I want the device to do at least what others can do.
- Apple touts their iTunes store's portfolio of applications. Although many of these applications are appealing, other needed applications are no where to be found unless one jailbreaks the phone. If a person finally figures out how to synchronize the calendar and contact info with multiple host computers, the applications on the device get deleted and have to be re-installed because iTunes only allows purchased applications to reside on one host device. There is a way to add another device, however. It still is way to difficult.
What have your experiences been with this device? What suggestions would you offer Apple if you could corner one of their planners in a conference room somewhere?