From the weekend mailbag:
I've been an iPhone owner since day one, and even upgraded to a 3G handset as soon as the 3nd-gen version was released, and yet I continue to wait for certain features (features that are common to pretty much every other smartphone in existence) to be added. Features such as:
- Video recording
Are any/all of the above ever going to make an appearance or is Steve Jobs just being awkward and trying to redefine what a smartphone should be?
I'll be honest with you, when the iPhone was first released I really couldn't figure out why it was missing certain key features that seem to define what a smartphone is. I wondered that maybe the oversight was simply an indication that Apple was new to the handset market and wanted to get a handset out and then roll out new features over time (OK, Apple couldn't add a microSD card slot or a removable battery with a software update, but I did think that cut and paste or MMS might be possible. Then details of the 3G version appeared and apart from a GPS and 3G, it seemed to come with exactly the same limitations (well, at least limitations if these features are important to you) as the first-generation model.
Is Steve Jobs just being awkward is not providing these features? Is it a case of being wilful? I don't know. I think it comes down to one thing - the interface.
If I compare the iPhone to, say, my Nokia E71, one thing that stands out is the fact that the user interface on the E71 is far more complex and spread out over countless more screens compared to the iPhone. In fact, I've owned an E71 now for a few weeks and I still can't remember how to do some things. On an Apple product, that kind of messy, convoluted interface is a total no-no. There's no way that Apple is going to allow user setting to sprawl over dozens of screens. That's not how Apple does things.
I'll throw in a couple of other possible reasons why the iPhone is "feature-limited" compared to other smartphones:
- Maybe there's a limit to how much system resources the iPhone base software can consume - MMS, cut and paste and video might just take the OS to the point where it's sluggish rather than snappy (search can already be very sluggish).
- Does Apple really need to bother to add new features? After all, these things are selling like hot cakes, and people are buying the handsets despite some features not being present.