The touch screen kills the Apple iPhone for the business user

The touch screen kills the Apple iPhone for the business user

Summary: The iPhone is admittedly very cool looking at first, but the enterprise user wants a functional device that enables them to get their job done and the touch screen on the iPhone won't be that enabler. With the size of the iPhone it may be a difficult task to do one-handed and although many people may not admit it they do dial while driving or in a car and having to use two hands on the iPhone makes it very inconvenient and dangerous to try on the road.

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TOPICS: iPhone
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Everyone has heard the news about the Apple iPhone and I am sure there will be lots of talk and analysis in the coming week. Larry Dignan, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and Jason O'Grady made some very good observations of the iPhone and I agree with them. The iPhone has been quite the topic in the Mobius group that I am a part of and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what I think about the device, coming from a Palm, S60, and Windows Mobile usage background.

iPhone keypad
Credit: Engadget.com

At first, like most people, I was blown away by the technology innovations and beauty of the device as it was shown at MacWorld. I think the dual touch screen looks unique and could have some good applications for a dedicated video iPod or Apple Tablet, but on a phone I just don't think people are going to like it. A big complaint I hear from regular users of the Pocket PC Phone Edition is the lack of a good dialing method. The enthusiast may not mind tapping away on the display to dial, but your average person isn't going to like it and the novelty of the touch display will soon wear off. You can't press and hold a real button to dial quick contacts and you actually have to touch the display. With the size of the iPhone it may be a difficult task to do one-handed and although many people may not admit it they do dial while driving or in a car and having to use two hands on the iPhone makes it very inconvenient and dangerous to try on the road.

One reason that the RIM BlackBerry, Palm Treo, and now Windows Mobile devices are very popular in the enterprise market is because they have thumb keyboards that allow you to knock out a short reply or text message on the go. You will have to tap away at an on screen keyboard with two hands on the iPhone and I predict the iPhone will be a non-seller in the enterprise market, which is where lots of money can be found. And at the high price point and contract requirement, I can't see too many people outside of Apple fans going for the iPhone in the consumer market either. Great technology and wonderful looks Apple, but you won't see it in the hands of business travelers anytime soon.

Topic: iPhone

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13 comments
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  • Did you miss something?

    I could swear that Jobs, in the video of the presentation, noted that you can press
    one button for a telephone call. In other words, it's in memory. Am I wrong?
    uppy
  • Bass Ackwards

    The others you mention have keys too small to be used without a magnifying glass and a pencil. Say what you will about the iPhone (and my own take is that it's useless because it's locked to a worthless connectivity provider), at least the touch panel buttons are large enough to hit one-handed in bad lighting.

    And, yes, I [b]do[/b] have a Treo. It's currently the best of a bad lot until the FIC Neo1973 hits the market.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • I don't know about that

    Thumb keyboards suck but they are all we have right now. This looks like a better way of doing it if you ask me.

    Personally I find the Blackberry to be a useless toy. Sure it's make you look important having one but are better off with productivity wise. I think not.
    voska
    • Thumb keyboards are great for some

      I LOVE using the thumb keyboard on the Nokia E61 and T-Mobile Dash and am more productive when carrying these than when I use a device with a standard phone keypad. I can send emails and text messages with ease with a thumb keyboard and I have medium sized hands. I think it just takes a bit of practice, but if you look at Treo and BlackBerry sales I think for the majority the thumb keyboard is the most productive text input method on a mobile device.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • A Thumb Up

        [i]I LOVE using the thumb keyboard on the Nokia E61 and T-Mobile Dash and am more productive when carrying these than when I use a device with a standard phone keypad. I can send emails and text messages with ease with a thumb keyboard and I have medium sized hands. I think it just takes a bit of practice, but if you look at Treo and BlackBerry sales I think for the majority the thumb keyboard is the most productive text input method on a mobile device.[/i]

        And by contrast my index finger presses three keys at once -- the one I'm aiming at and the two on either side. Thumbs? You're joking, right?

        Then there's the little matter of trying to read the miniscule keycaps in anything other than bright light.

        Picking out a simple 7-digit telephone number can take more than three times as long on the stupid "keyboard" as on a real telephone, [b]assuming[/b] bright light and the use of both hands.

        Fortunately, the Treo can be set up for a single-button invocation of the touchscreen dial pad. Vastly better. If they only had kept the Graphitti interface and used the space wasted on those worthless buttons for more screen.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Let's Wait and See

    This will be fun. ZDNet staffers have collectively dismissed the iPhone for the
    "serious "work of business. So it's "Back to the kids table Steve, this is grownup
    talk". Let's get together 12 months from now and see how the iPhone has done
    shall we? 12 months from now, the iPhone won't need any more validation from
    the business community than it does today. It won't require it to become a
    massive success. It is arguably the most elegant implementation of a full featured
    OS on a portable device. It is capable of running app level software and will exist
    well into the future as a platform and springboard to OSX adoption.

    The last thing business needs, is the last 15 years of conventional IT wisdom
    brought under scrutiny however, so no, a full featured, hand held, instrument of
    business logic will not be required thank you. It's as if you don't understand that
    the 0's and 1's used to send a joke are not identical to thse used to send quarterly
    financials.

    But how do we drive and dial at the same time? Are you serious? This is your
    concern? It's innane! Here's a clue, how about theiPod connector built in to 70% of
    autos. Ya think this might get an update?

    The inability for ZDNet to parse this is telling. It speaks to a codependancy that
    Apple is just happy to flank. A frontal assault on IT would be misguided even if IT
    wasn't staggeringly obstinant.

    I'm saving up a single word post for the day you folks switch. You'll know it when
    you see it.
    Harry Bardal
    • I think we'll all be happy when Harry makes his single word post.

      Harry is apparently some sort of seer but whatever his 250 words post was supposed to be getting at totally escaped me.
      bucca36
  • And you know this how?

    Have you used the keyboard on the Jesus phone? No? Then how do you know how well it works?

    Don't forget there's an iPod dock on the bottom of the phone. It's not gonna be real hard to make a thumb keyboard to attach on there, for those luddites still stuck in the button age.
    tic swayback
    • Re: iPod Dock

      That was one of the first things I noticed about this product. It seems that most people that oppose the iPhone forget this. There is a HUGE ecosystem for the iPod connector, and I think that this will be what will make the iPhone a success.
      BubbaJ
  • Re: Dialing and Driving

    [i]"With the size of the iPhone it may be a difficult task to do one-handed and although many people may not admit it they do dial while driving or in a car and having to use two hands on the iPhone makes it very inconvenient and dangerous to try on the road."[/i}

    Other than (and even then) voice operated dialing, what make any other type of dialing and driving less than "very inconvenient and dangerous to try on the road"?
    BubbaJ
  • Prosumers can't adapt? Are you serious?

    Come on - this is a ridiculous assertion. Prosumers won't get the hang of NOT having buttons? As a so-called prosumer, I can't think of the last time I actually dialed a number manually with my Treo 650. If someone gives me their phone number it ends up in my address book and I always call from there. If I do actually "dial" it's usually because I'm traveling and am ordering food or something - and those times I'm looking up a number in a phone book or online so I'm not driving!

    I do wonder how it will affect text messaging, though. I can't wait to get my hands on one and play. :-D
    ovidtchr
  • This Business user wants one

    I'm a business user and I want one already. I can see many benefits and I see a lot of future potential with 3rd party hardware additions, and connection with iPod docks in the car that may give you phone capabilities possibly even on the steering wheel, not to mention other software and the synching with Apple or Windows and Web mail and calendars, etc. They could also offer voice dialing as an option, let's wait and see what happens by June and then what else develops afterwards as well. Let's have some Vision people!

    Plus I don't type messages on my Blackberry (which I don't really care for any way) while driving. I do dial numbers one handed and I also place my phone in a holder and dial that way which would also work for the iPhone. Besides I do have smaller hands and I think I could dial one handed on the iPhone from what I have seen, but I can see where any one with large hands will have problems no matter what. I do think that from what I have seen and researched elsewhere that the iPhone will work with larger hands in most cases. I'm not sure how well the soft keyboard will work for them but that will have to be some thing they try out.

    Besides this is what makes competition so great, as not everything appeals or works well for everyone and each person has to decide what works best for them. So just because you don't like it or it doesn't work well for you doesn't mean it won't for others.

    I can't wait for it to come out. I will have one and I know I will love it.
    britwhittington@...
  • Say What !!?? This IS business !!

    I have used touchscreen laptops & smartfones for years & even despite WM5- love 'em. One-hand-samba [dialling] is simple, plus there are speed & memory & voice-dialers. My latest SE990i has both hard/soft k/b plus software that is intuitive, adaptive, not geek-speak. Plus its here. I use it all over the world, so change your SP!! You trash a technology before the product is in production. By that time there will be k/b's up-da-kazoo!! A great, new, bold approach to a Ma Bell institution. Roll on. The real test will be the OS - Linux performance on similar devices [Nokia N770] is lousy, although that should improve. But the fone-world does not want another propriety OS with Big-Buck downloads of apps & utilities when there already exists a massively mature base of Symbian/UIQ3 stuff for free. Plus it is here, now & works. The video/music market will shake itself out, so no worries there. Maybe you need to call yr provider & upgrade from that wired-job you have to a portable. Get touch-screen while you're being adventurous. Have a Nice day!! BR>Jack-Daniels
    jack-daniels@...