Why You Don't Want an iPhone -- Yet

Let me start by saying up front that I am a fan of the iPhone.

The mobile phone market is a sad, pathetic wasteland in desperate need of improvement. I'm hoping iPhone will the collective kick in the pants the smartphone market needs to finally stop making user hostile products.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/06/why-you-dont-want-an-iphone----yet.html

Great post Jeff. I agree with you. Here in Italy free (or not) wifi spots are really rare to find and by June 2007 is not a viable option. Every carrier here (Vodafone, Tim, Wind Mobile, H3G) jumped on the 3G bandwagon years ago and almost every new mobile phone over a certain price range is 3G ready.

What bugs me is the fact that Italy is the country with the most number of mobile phones per person (I think it battles that with Finland every year). People love this kind of stuff and I guess that when, at the end of the year, the iPhone will be available in Italian stores plenty of people who don’t need it will buy it anyway :slight_smile:

OK Mr. Human Factors - watch this video and tell me that again…

Boy, did I get burned by the first iPaqs that came out. I got one the first week they came out in the UK, and suck it did.

Much as I would love an iPhone, I’m going to leave it too. Apart from anything, as you say - maybe this will give the smartphone vendors (and MS) the kick up the ass they need to get their act together. Then in a year’s time I’ll be able to buy a swishy smartphone instead.

And I’m still waiting for my Apple PDA, Jobs.

I have a Nokia E61 (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS (aka 3G), Wifi). I have switched off the UMTS part of the phone because it sucks the batteries dry in a day. Now my E61 lasts about 4 days on one charge with normal usage.

But there doesn’t seem that much of a difference. Our EDGE networks (Switzerland) deliver speeds up to 256kb/s (which is not that far from the speed of UMTS (384kb/s)). Maybe the ATT network is due for an upgrade too? So there might be a iPhone in your near future anyway

HSDPA (3.6MB/s) is a different animal but coverage is very spotty at the moment.



watch this video and tell me that again…

“Download QuickTime to view the video”.

Not very inspiring, somehow.

We WANT folks to buy that shiny lovely new iPhone so that it’s a success, so that the kinks can be worked out, so there will be a 2.0!
(Then maybe I’ll buy one).

I wish I could buy one now just for the NON-PHONE features.

Loved the ‘Babe’ quote. I’ve been using it and no one seems to recognise it. One of the more underrated film quotes I’d have to say

You’ve spoken too soon, it looks like ATT have upgraded their networks:

Yep. wait for version 2.0 before buying

And this will be even more valuable here in Europe, where (between different countries) the mobile access providers situation is a slimy, smelly black hole…

Let’s just hope that only a few people will read this blog entry. We need a lot of “gadget people” to buy version 1.0, if we want to get version 2.0 :stuck_out_tongue:

You should try living in the outskirts of Norway where our trusty old GPRS network for the time being is the only option for mobile internet, it’s way slower than EDGE.

In spite of this I too am addicted to the net on my phone, thanks to my J2ME Opera Mini browser - it compresses web pages and images through a gateway and makes most web pages readable on my tiny Sony Ericsson phone. With web applications that require javascript (and many does, often to perform the most mundane tasks) you’re out of luck though.

Must agree with Kristian on the wonders of Opera Mini. Even on slow connections the compressed data transfer makes it fast. And with the new Opera Mini 4 (currently in beta, downloadable from www.operamini.com ), it even has the practical zooming overview that Apple was so very proud of. :slight_smile:

You’re not stuck with just webbrowsing if you prefer to stay away from the Smartphone way either. Google provides J2ME applications for many of their web-apps, such as Gmail, Reader and Maps.

And finally, since Apple has decided not to ship iPhones as proper standalone phones, but requiring it to be bundled with a major operator (ATT in US, most likely Vodaphone or T-Mobile in Europe) it is not very likelly that they will even ship to countries where these operators does not operate. Not to mention the fact that I prefer to choose my operator based on operator services and pricing instead of a forced operator with the phone…

Wayne, that’s not what he’s saying. It’s more akin to “Don’t buy that new car now because in a little while a new model with air conditioning will come out” (I know that’s not a good example, I’m not a car buff). If you live in a hot country it’s really difficult to get by without air-con.

It’s perfectly reasonable to wait for a product to be on the market for a while before you get it. No matter how much testing they do new problems and painfully missing features will always be found shortly after public release.

Great Article Jeff - I live in Australia where 3G is pretty much the “Rule” rather than the “exception”. Our major telco’s are pushing hard and it’s been available in all cities for a few years now. I would guess that that many other countries are the same.

I wrote a very similar piece only a couple of hours ago about the iPhone and what it will need before it will succeed over in little old Australia, if anyone is interested on a different perspective!

Successful convergence is damn near impossible to achieve because the amount of time and money needed for proper usability testing to decide on the right way for users to utilize the new device is completely outstripped by the breakneck speed of hardware innovation, new use cases, and a limiting time-to-market.

As a result you get an series of imperfect attempts towards a seemingly reachable but effectively unreachable goal that is continuously spiraling in different directions based on hardware innovations and new use cases.

And you thought software development was tough!

All in all, though, I think the iPhone is a good step towards that holy grail.

But the iPhone shouldn’t be only judged on Internet services. Basically, most people will want iPhone as the Best iPod ever and the best Cell Phone ever!

Internet services is just additional bullet points. Everyone was clamoring for iPod and cell phones to be combined, not as much press was talked about being a texting device before.

The iPhone’s contacts, conference calls, and visual voicemail already puts it above any other cellphone for beauty, speed, and design.

iPod functionality is unmatched with any other phone, smart or not.

The Internet in the pocket is over hyped since I am usually a few seconds away from a computer and Internet at work or home and that is 80% of the day.

There are also other missing functions that are quite important here in EU.
For instance: MMS. I can’t remember when was the last time I sent a regular postcard to someone from vacation. Always MMS.
The camera is above average, but nothing special. Nokia N95 has a 5 mega pixels, which can be easily used as a replacement for your digital camera. I have N73 with 3.2mp and I don’t feel the need for some extra camera. Which is not the case with the iPhone.
When I first head of iPhone I thought: finnaly something that will fourfill all my gadget needs (phone, organizer, web, email, mp3, GPS, camera, …) but the I saw the specifications and lost all interest.
It would be a great buy for maybe half that price, because I can doo all that and a bah of chips with my N73 minus multi touch, which is IMO the only real reason people are so exited about the darn phone.

I was gonna say, it does depend if you’re fussed about the mobile internet stuff. In the UK, I’ve always been put off it because you pay through the nose for data. The ATT iPhone plans seem to come with unlimited data access, so I guess in the US one might actually want to use the mobile internet stuff.

Still, for 600, you’d want to get a few years’ use out of it. The lack of 3G (at the hardware level) could start to really grate. Let’s hope the improved EDGE speeds linked to above hold out for the million or so people who’ll buy an iPhone in the next week.

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Your point of view is higly respecable, Jeff, but keep in mind that what your whole argumentation here is based on is :

  • your experience using an internet access
  • your feeling towards early adoption of a device.

Many people will consider the internet access more like a tech gadget than anything else, as they will be more attracted by the communication and multimedia capabilities. And I’m sure you know better than many people how a well designed web site can offer great user experience even on a crappy access.

As for early adoption, your experience with your current smartphone tells it all : you were reticent at first, but then pleased by something you did not forecast. I am not saying an iPhone would work the same with you (or me, or anyone either), but it shows that enthusiasm is always a possibility when a product tries to innovate.

And lastly, even if I very often have the same reaction of “let’s wait for the 2.0 version”, I keep in mind that early adopters are the ones who, through their act of buying, help a somewhat-good device being improved instead of just flushed.