An iPhone view from PC World

Like so many other organizations aimed at the tech and near-tech folks who surf for their information, PC World is taking a look at the iPhone and giving a short review of the ups and downs of this new gadget.

Want an iPhone? Of course you do. It looks sexy, it’s innovative, and–for a while at least–it’ll be the ultimate status symbol.

OK, they almost lost my reading time with this. No, I don’t want an iPhone. It’s a first gen tech toy. It’s an underperforming MP3 player. It’s an oversized phone (but I think that about most phones that are more than phones). It’s an under-functioning web tool (in fact, in more ways than one). It is apparently sometimes difficult to activate (and none of its features work until the entire phone is activated). It has a non-replaceable (by the end user) battery. Oh, and if you want a better functioning gadget for anything the iPhone does (which won’t be too hard to find, given the compromises necessary for this all-in-one functionality), you either carry another gadget, upgrade your iPhone if a better one is available and has the gadget improvement you want, or do without. Still, I kept reading.

But in the fog of iPhone hype, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the latest Apple sensation will still have its share of disadvantages. We don’t have the king of gadgets in our mitts yet, but judging from the information that has already been released, clearly some folks could have problems with the iPhone. So before you dump your current cell phone, consider these issues.

Now I look and see that this article came out a few days before the iPhone release, so the authors are writing without necessarily having significant hands on experience. Keep that in mind if you read the full article, as that means their opinion is based on works by others and therefore needs to carry about as much weight as my opinion which is based on information and details garnered from the works of others. That doesn’t mean the article is garbage, and I still think it is worth reading, but you need to recognize the starting point for it.

Data that crawls: When AT&T’s EDGE network debuted in 2005, it seemed zippy indeed, delivering data at up to 100 kilobits per second. But that was then. Today, with true 3G technologies delivering data at up to several hundred kbps, Apple’s decision not to support AT&T’s UMTS-HSDPA 3G network seems short-sighted–especially given the iPhone’s investment in cool new Web browsing technology that doesn’t suffer from the compromises of a mobile browser. In our limited hands-on tests a few months ago, downloading the New York Times’ front page via EDGE took quite a few seconds. AT&T has tacitly acknowledged this potential problem by announcing upgrades to its EDGE network in anticipation of the iPhone launch. And of course, the iPhone will support Wi-Fi, which will make Web page downloads much more feasible if you’re in range of a hotspot.

The ONLY feature of the iPhone that interests me is the better-than-currently-available-in-an-ultra-portable web browsing option. Given the lack of Flash, frames, and Java (and I don’t care what the “All-those-sites-are-doing-it-wrong” design experts say – I have sites I like that use those features and don’t degrade well if any of those features are missing), I’m already losing interest. Tack on lethargic data rates, and I can’t see why the browsing option would get any marks for good. I expect either firmware updates to add in the missing features or network upgrades to improve the data rates, but I know these problems already kill interest for some folks who might like the iPhone conceptually and would consider the expense possibly justifiable.

Businesspeople need not apply: It’s a safe bet that many professionals will want an iPhone. But BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, and Symbian smart phones offer a long list of business-related features that the iPhone apparently won’t, at least upon release. For instance, while the iPhone apparently will connect with Exchange servers, it will require some security trade-offs that could make your IT department nervous. There’s no word on connecting to Domino servers. And though you can open Word and Excel files on the iPhone, you can’t edit them.

What the hell? The one place I would think any high-end/high-dollar cell phone creator would cover would be the business market. If you can get business buy-in on this kind of device, the personal user market will follow, I think (but hey – market analyzers have probably already proven me wrong on this thinking). So if there is a security risk problem with Exchange access, missing business-related features that competitors offer, and missing connectivity options for Domino servers, why would businesses get this for their employees?

These are just a few of the things PC World highlights. To see the full list and descriptions, be sure to read the full article and make up your own mind on all the points they cover.

Now I’m just a moronic wonk with enough money and time to throw up a crappy web site so I can criticize others. My opinion is meaningless to pretty much anyone but me. Still, I don’t think I’m the only one wondering just how the iPhone, as created for its first-gen release, can meet Jobs’ 10 million phones sold by end of 2008 prediction/goal. I’ve said before that I could be way off on how well this will sell, but short of a significant price drop, I just don’t see how Apple will hit 10 million sold in the next 18 months.

[tags]iPhone highs and lows, Considerations for iPhone buyers, Is the iPhone worth buying?[/tags]

2 Replies to “An iPhone view from PC World”

  1. I used your link for the underfunctioning web tool link in the first paragraph after the first blockquote. I love what you wrote.

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