Friday, June 29, 2007

The iPhone dilemma

Apple has been touted to be the only company with the capacity to generate, quite successfully, a tremendous amount of hype for a product that is not even on the market.


David Pogue, in The New York Times online, wrote: “Talk about hype. In the last six months, Apple’s iPhone has been the subject of 11,000 print articles, and it turns up about 69 million hits on Google. Cultists are camping out in front of Apple stores; bloggers call it the “Jesus phone.” All of this before a single consumer has even touched the thing. ”

So I don’t want to imagine the queue outside AT&T and Apple stores today. People have camped overnight just to be the special first few to lay their hands on the iPhone. But is it worth it?

Yes, the iPhone is commercially released today.

But as much as the iPhone is technologically advanced, it seems to be taking a step back into Stone Age. I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t know if this phone will be a true success for Apple. Will it flop like the iTunes-enabled Motorola phone? Or will it be like the Cube, silently fading off production lines?

Firstly, partnering up with telco AT&T is not too good a decision. AT&T’s signal ranks at the bottom few in 19 out of 20 major states, and the internet service provided is just too darn slow. Users would have to rely on Wi-Fi for surfing the net.  

Secondly, there is a 2MP camera built in that takes average pictures, (here's the silly part) but it doesn’t record videos. (?!)

Thirdly, Apple gives you a full desktop web browsing experience, makes it email ready, then strips away MMS support and the ability to play Java or Flash on Safari. WTH?

Fourth, you get either a 4GB or 8GB flash memory, then there’s no memory card expansion slot. 4GB may seem sufficient, but when 700MB is taken up for OS X, and considering this is also an iPod that does music and videos, 4GB is a pretty tiny storage size.

Fifth, the iPhone is engineered to run on OS X, then Apple prohibits developers from developing great apps that run independently on the iPhone, but instead sandbox developer applications to work within Safari only. For security, Apple claims, but is it justified?

Sixth, Apple claims that there is no need for chunky QWERTY keyboards, but in reality, by being different, it has made it harder for consumers to type using the minute on-screen keyboard which, obviously, doesn’t provide any tactile feedback. This has rendered the iPhone as a non-business machine. It’s no wonder Paul Thurrott said that the iPhone release is a non-event for the corporate world.

Well, but then, I’m just being pessimistic here. For this blog entry that you have read, you can easily find another proclaiming the greatness of this device. I'm just pointing out the more glaring flaws here.  

Now why didn’t they name the launch day the iLaunch? That would have truly generated much hype, wouldn't it?

(iTunes 7.3 is now available with iPhone support.)

No comments: