Note: This is an old post from Blog Kenst from Tuesday, November 13, 2007:
I've been using the iPhone for a few months and I'm beginning to like it. The first week I had it I was very disappointed. Although it is sleek, the lack of 3rd party applications like a password safe or microsoft office software make it hard to do business. Add on top of that my Business and Personal email are hosted by Google, who until recently had problems using POP accounts on the iPhone (I could receive emails, just not send them) and you've got one unhappy customer. Luckily Google setup personal Gmail and Google Apps accounts with IMAP and now I can send and receive emails!
I feel the problem, besides the hype, is I'm used to having a PDA / SmartPhone. When compared to most PDA / SmartPhones the iPhone is a competitor, but doesn't blow the competition away - at least not yet. My Blackberry 8800 was extremely easy to setup for email, had a few 3rd party applications (missing office as well), browsed the internet fast, and even allowed me to set the music on my phone as my ringtones. It also had a expandable memory slot - microSD, sync'd effortlessly with Outlook (didn't require the horrible software program known as iTunes). I also had several versions of the Palm Treo which was very easy to use, sync'd extremely well, expandable memory, had an mp3 player (3rd party application) and could open and write to Microsoft Office documents, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint! It also had a huge following in terms of available programs that I could use to fill whatever whim / need that surfaced.
Here are a list of the problems I've found:
Problems: Songs in the iPod can't be used as Ring Tones You must buy from a limited amount of songs on iTunes ($.99) and then convert them to Ringtones ($.99) The iPod through iTunes only has automatic sync. I can't manually choose / drag and drop songs, videos, pictures, etc. Can't create new photo albums on iPhone No copy / paste feature - Important when texting a friend a phone number No 3rd party applications (I know this is a cliche now, but its still very important) Calendar doesn't automatically set appoints to remind you (you can manually choose it, but what happens when you forget?) The Notes program doesn't communicate with notes in Outlook (what happens when I need that information elsewhere?) There is no To Do List (i think the very first phones had this)
The iPhone could be the best in the market, once it is open to 3rd party applications and/or Apple get's time to elaborate on the features. The SDK (Software Development Kit) will be available in February and it shouldn't take developers long to release software that will fill in gaps in Apple's phone. It will also give bigger companies time to add powerful features / programs like GPS, Voice Commands, Office Documents, etc. Even if they aren't available for free it can only help the users.
As I said in the beginning I'm starting to like my iPhone. (Either I've been impressed or I set my expectations lower. ) I've learned to deal with its shortcomings and just recently found a program called iPhoneRingToneMaker that can take any of my mp3's and turn them into ring tones. (It only cost me about $15) Now that's what I'm talking about! Why bow to Apple who wants you to rebuy your music and then pay them to make a ringtone (only to be shorted on the selection)? This just proves the benefits of having 3rd party developers - creativity!
I was impressed by how quickly the iPhone browses the internet (Edge & WiFi) and how it can read Word and Excel documents sent to me. (You can't edit them, only view them.) I also really like the idea of Visual Voicemail - When people leave you voicemails it shows you their name along with a few buttons so you can play or delete the message. It makes it much easier than having to press and hold 1 to dial ATT's voicemail system. You also setup your voicemail greeting right there on the phone.
The iPhone is a very slick phone and by mid next year it will definitely be a competitor to current PDA / SmartPhones. In the meantime I would only recommend it to people who have "dumb" phones - which, after a quick glance at a bar a few nights ago, is an ever declining group.
Update: The 3G iPhone has improved on a number of these issues while the iPhoneRingToneMaker has gotten better because it now sends all ring tones into iTunes so they can be easily sync'd with the iPhone.