Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why the iPhone 3G is rubbish!

Well I bought an iPhone 3G around 1 month ago so I have 1 month experience of using it so I think I have a good idea of it's capabilities.

First lets start with the positives.

The things I like about the iPhone:-

  1. Web browser. This is probably one the best parts of the device. It is usually quick and the zoom features and rendering engine are quite good.
  2. The phone. Of course a big part of the iPhone is the phone, is it any good? Yes very much probably the best phone experience I've had with any phone (although don't upgrade to v2.1 as since I've done this the phone just hangs up randomly while talking to people even though I have full signal)
  3. iPod built-in. The iPod is good. Apple doesn't have that stupid circular "wheel" to control the volume. There is a separate button for this.

The things I don't like about the iPhone:

  1. Web browser. I know I put the web browser as one of the good things about the iPhone but there is no support for Flash/Flash Lite or Silverlight and Apple (currently) don't intend to support either of these in the future.
  2. No support for forwarding SMS??!!??
  3. No support for MMS.
  4. No way to save attachments to the device via emails.
  5. No voice recording.
  6. No video recording support for the camera.
  7. Camera is only 2mp.
  8. GPS chipset sucks (even though it is SiRFIII, which is proven and works great in other devices). When you do get a satellite lock it only lasts for a couple of minutes then its gone again and I've tried this in various locations here in the UK and abroad. I have many GPS devices, phones, receivers and they all work once locked on. My older external GPS receivers maintain a lock-on while the iPhone loses it's lock.
  9. No sat nav software. Even if the GPS worked, what good is it without any kind of satellite navigation software for road users. You can use the Google maps application built-in that comes with the iPhone but it is certainly no match for software such as TomTom. In addition Google maps require the maps to be downloaded (tiles) on the fly, so if you have no radio, you lose you're way!
  10. iTunes - rubbish - I know iTunes is not part of the iPhone, but I could devote an entire blog post on its short comings
  11. Synchronization with Outlook. No support for notes. The iPhone has its own notes store, which has no relationship with outlook.
  12. It is also not possible to sync with an address book that happens to belong on exchange server in addition no support with syncing with offline emails that are part of an exchange server. However it is possible to sync with an exchange server OTA although I could never get this to work with my exchange server which is hosted with external access over HTTP.
  13. Images in emails are downloaded automatically, there is no configuration to turn this off.
  14. Long URLs are truncated in mail making them appear friendly when they might not be. The register has an article on this here:
  15. Only a max of 200 emails can be downloaded to the device until you scroll all the way to the bottom of the list then request another block (I think something like 10 or so). So even though I have 8GB of space it is a painful task to get my entire mailbox downloaded to the phone. Rubbish.
  16. There is no search facility in the mail program. I can't even filter by date or person so finding emails is a task in itself.
  17. The accelerometer (automatic adjusting of the screen in portrait or landscape depending which way up the device is) is ok for some features of the phone such as viewing pictures but when using the iPod software for listening to music I find it very irritating as when the screen is in landscape mode you lose pretty much all the features such as controlling the volume, skipping the track etc. Turning the device back to portrait is the only solution which is minor but just irritating. There is no configuration to turn this off.
  18. Connectivity. As I travel a lot I go from areas where EDGE, 3G are not available so when I previously had a connection, maybe 3G, reconnecting via a different protocol such as GPRS in this case just doesn't work very well. Getting emails and browsing the Internet takes forever and it is quicker to turn the device off then back on again.
  19. Contacts, why can I not search by contact name???? You can tap the letter of the persons name (small A-Z listed on the right hand side of the list) and focus to navigate to that area of the list. The contacts list pretty much always locks up for a brief moment on load which is irritating. Upgrading to 2.1 doesn't fix this.
  20. Email. There are options which allow you to configure the device to poll a pop3 server periodically - which is fine the smallest unit is 15 minutes. But it just doesn't work. You have to load up mail and hit 'request mail'. And why can't I set the device to poll my pop3 server every 1 minute I have an unlimited data plan.
  21. Locking the device. What is this all about. Every time you turn the device on you have to slide this button from one side of the screen to another. This is fine, but why can't I turn it off?
  22. I know the iPhone is a touch device, but why is there no hard button for hanging up or answering. It would be good to have these hard buttons in addition to the on screen touch ones - just a minor irritation.
  23. Security hold which allows you to bypass the PIN security number and gain access to features of the phone. See here:
  24. Jason Langridge shows a comparison of push email between WM and iPhone here:
  25. No copy and paste functionality.
  26. The OS is single-task based, so coming from a multitalking desktop environment to the iPhone platform is painful.

There you have it, my comprehensive list. I have since retired the iPhone from my arsenal of devices. Maybe the iPhone will be a major player in future versions, we'll have to wait and see.


Anonymous said...

Most of these shortcomings are now fixed

Anonymous said...

but it's still rubbish

Anonymous said...

The iPhone is one of the leading phones on the market. Most of these problems no longer exist. There is no other phone that does all the things that you stated on that list.

Simon Hart said...


Most the small things on the list has been addressed in the lastest OS 3.0 of iPhone. But the bigger things still suffer due to architectural design flaws in the platform to which Apple will need to do quite a bit of refactoring to fix.

There are plenty of smartphones out there that satisfy that list.

I've simply stated facts so other people thinking of spending $1000 on a phone are not disappointed in it's capabilities when they receive it and will know what it is capable of.

Anonymous said...

your toolbox it would be fine , otherwise forget it..
I now have a £10 nokia, works fine

Anonymous said...

Lack of features?
I think most of these issues are covered in the 3GS. I think that there is way more positive things about it than negative. I have an iPod Touch at the moment and it has less than the iPhone and I have had no issues with it, so dude, I think this is all aimless trolling.

Simon Hart said...


I never knew it was possible to 'troll' you're own web site.

Also please note that this article was written back in 2008 shortly after the '3G' was released. This article does not talk about the features within the '3GS' version of the OS.

This article was not just about slating the iPhone. I wrote it because anyone who knows anything about technology will know the iPhone is not a good example of a smartphone. The people that don't, now do :)


Anonymous said...

iPhone 3GS has everything! All your disadvantages aren't there!

Anonymous said...

you dunt know wot your on bout, iphone rocks!!


DnA1409 said...

The iphone is all a big hype.

The phone does not act as a very good smart phone at all and the only people that seem to 'love it' are the less technical minded who dont use a smart phone to its full potential.

And Simon is right about itunes, rubbish! Why should i have to install apple software on my computer to add files etc?

Apple sucks...

Anonymous said...

"The phone does not act as a very good smart phone at all and the only people that seem to 'love it' are the less technical minded who dont use a smart phone to its full potential."
What a load of rubbish.

Pete said...

I enjoyed this, very funny:

Note this video contains swearing..

Simon Hart said...


Thanks for that it is very funny - although not for kids as it contains profanity.