iPhone's missing features

Summary:I want to start out by saying that I think that the iPhone will be wildly successful. I think that Apple will sell boat loads of them. I will definitely be buying one, at minimum for research purposes. That being said, it would be irresponsible to simply laud the device without pointing out some of it's more serious deficiencies, and there are several of them.

iPhone features slide from Macworld
After yesterday's short hiatus from iPhone coverage, I'm back on the bandwagon again.

I want to start out by saying that I think that the iPhone will be wildly successful. I think that Apple will sell boat loads of them. I will definitely be buying one, at minimum for research purposes. That being said, it would be irresponsible to simply laud the device without pointing out some of its more serious deficiencies, and there are several of them.

I should also mention that the following are my list of missing iPhone's missing features, so they won't necessarily be yours.

iPhone's missing features:

  1. Third party support. Apple is making the iPhone a walled garden without allowing third party applications to be installed. Apple claims that it's for security reasons but I think that they'll eventually bow to public pressure and release an SDK and allow certain "blessed" applications in. Besides, there's always the "browser hole."
  2. Browser plug-ins/Flash/Javascript. This is still up in the air, but Apple is staying mum on exactly which plug-ins the "Safari" browser will support. I think that dropping Javascript and/or Flash is a deal-breaker.
  3. Carrier choice. Being locked to Cingular with a 2-year contract is a bit of a bummer. What ever happened to it being carrier-free?
  4. Phone and data price plans. This worries me a lot. I hope that Cingular doesn't take advantage of early adopters with crazy-expensive price plans.
  5. Removable battery. This is a huge potential problem in emergency situations and when traveling. The only upside is that all iPod 30-pin dock connector accessories will work.
  6. 3G. Apple and Cingular opted for EDGE networking in iPhone, which isn't 3G. I've gotten spoiled by Verizon's EVDO speeds, so EDGE is a big step backward. My understanding is that they didn't opt for Cingular's faster HSDPA networking because it would have added too much thickness. iPhone 2 anyone?
  7. iChat. One glaring omission in all the iPhone hoopla was iChat. Steve took the time to demo SMS (which looked like iChat) but where was Apple's venerable chat client?
  8. Front facing camera. Although I don't really care about the 2MP camera on the back of the camera, I was disappointing that there wasn't a camera on the front. It would be perfect for video chatting (see #7), which although limited by the iPhone's lack of 3G (see #6), would work great over WiFi.
  9. Calendar Data input. Just like on the iPod, the calendar is read-only and must be synced from a Mac. iPhone has a keyboard, why doesn't Apple make the calendar accept input? Update: In his NYT blog David Pogue notes: "Calendar program isn’t finished yet, but I did see an "add new event" icon on the placeholder graphic." It appears that Apple is moving toward allowing real data entry into the iPhone (at least in the calendar app.) Let's hope that they do the same thing for both Address Book and iTunes.
  10. Over The Air (OTA) downloads from the iTunes Store. It stands to reason that Apple would want to sell music over the air (why wouldn't they?) but I've heard that it's a contractual limitation. Apple has to amend their agreements with all of the labels to allows for OTA distribution.
  11. Wireless syncing. iPhone can only be synced with a cable and can't be synced via WiFi or Bluetooth. This is unacceptable. iPhone has three radios and should be able to be synced with all three. WiFi and BT minimally, then OTA to Dot-Mac for bonus points.
  12. Office support. The early word is that iPhone won't be able to open Word and Excel documents (although it will be able to open PDF). I hope that this will change and by launch and iPhone will support iWork '07 mobile, which in turn, will open Word and Excel files.
  13. Microsoft Exchange support. This is not a big deal for me, but it will be for enterprise customers. Without it, Apple can't hope to unseat the cult of BlackBerry.
What are your beefs with the iPhone? Chime in in the TalkBack below.

Topics: iPhone

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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