When the iPhone was first announced, I was ready to buy one that day. It would feature a subset of the Apple desktop OS, which is very robust. My questions: how much of the OS, which features, which Mac programs would it run…? Then the details started leaking out, and the iPhone didn’t seem as good as when first announced. When it was actually released, reviewers either loved or hated it. I recently came across a forum post (not sure which forum) by Tim Hillebrand from April 2008, several months after the iPhone’s release titled, “30 Reasons Why Windows Mobile is Superior to iPhone.” It was a well thought out list of iPhone deficiencies compared to what was then the most popular Smartphone OS. At the time, I agreed with the post, although several points weren’t really important to me.
I was going to delete the file (I had saved the post as a document), but decided to read it and see if any items were still relevant. I was surprised by how many important features were lacking in that first iPhone! Only Apple could have released a phone lacking so many features, charged as high a price as they did, and sold as many as they did. Many missing items (lack of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cut-and-paste, etc.) are now features. Apple has added many features every year. Out of 30 items in that post, 9 are still lacking. So what’s left? Here are the remaining items:
- No expansion slots.
- No InfraRed – can’t beam files, photos, tunes, text, contacts, applications…
- Doesn’t have universal mini-USB connector for syncing and charging.
- There’s no removable battery. You have to send the unit to Apple at your own expense and suffer downtime.
- There’s no FM or satellite radio.
- Touch screen is not sensitive to a standard stylus, only a blunt instrument like a finger or a ball-peen hammer.
- Finger gestures are crazy-making on a page with lots of hyperlinks because you cannot point precisely.
- Cannot change page transitions or animations.
- No programmable hardware buttons for easy control and access to such functions as volume control, camera, and digital recording.
How many are important to you? Two of these can’t be changed; they’re part of having a capacitive screen. No modern device has Infrared, so do we count that or not? Will iPad 2 or iPhone 5 address any of the above?
The author didn’t just pan the iPhone, he also had praise for Apple and some words of wisdom. He couldn’t have realized how true his predictions would become.
“However, I hasten to acknowledge that the iPhone does what it does very well indeed. I never had it hang up on me and never had to reset it. The screen is crystal clear and the graphics a pleasure to view. The finger-friendly navigation has its problems and limitations but it is still a smooth solution that is fun to do. Everything on the system is easy to implement and ideally suited for consumers who do not know about or care about power computing on a handheld device.”
“The bottom line is that in a year, iPhone has made a huge splash in the handheld market and is a tremendous success by any measure. I am grateful to Apple for raising the bar and Microsoft had better pay attention if it wants to compete. I am also pleased that Apple took control of its product instead of the sponsoring telco (AT&T) dictating the terms. This is a healthy precedent that I hope will eclipse the power of the telcos and end to the silly stuff they put on phones to fill their pockets.”
I don’t have an iPhone but I do have an iPad so I’m quite familiar with iOS. The iPhone and other iOS devices have come far, are leaders in their categories, and have inspired numerous copies. In the first two hours Verizon Wireless made the iPhone available for pre-order (February 3, 3am – 5am), VZW sold more iPhones than any other VZW phone ever sold in its entire first day. Microsoft and others touted tablets for years, but tablets were DOA until Apple introduced the iPad. That market segment is now hot, hot, hot. More than 100 tablets were shown last month at CES. Phones, tablets, and other devices all descended from that first iPhone, introduced just four short years ago.