Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bill and the Reality Distortion Field

This is a direct copy of my recent post on

iphone-os-preview-hero20090317.pngSo the iPhone is getting another long awaited update. This time, they've addressed more wish-list items, such as copy/paste and MMS messaging, sending iPhone users all over the world into fits of fanatic rejoicing.
The list could have ended there, however it goes on to include a whole bunch of new features many had almost given up waiting for, including:

- Some sort of A2DP the details at this point are still vague- but I'm severely disturbed that the "quintessential music phone" didn't even support this until now
- Voice memo, finally in a native integrated application
- A landscape keyboard that works not only in Safari, but in any application
- Turn by Turn navigation apparently not native, but they will finally allow third parties to access and offer such applications- most likely they will be carrier-controlled turn-by-turn features (ala Telenav, etc)

There are more, but these are the ones that have been on most people's wishlist since the first iPhone. Why these features didn't exist until now is anyone's guess, but better late then never I suppose. The funny thing is, these aren't new or revolutionary features... in fact, things like Telenav, A2DP, MMS, and Voice Memo are available on virtually every standard issue phone you can buy, even the ones that are free on contract. And features like Copy/Paste and universal keyboard input methods (as well as working push email, another thing they claim will be improved in 3.0) are available on virtually every device that can be called a Smartphone.

While I'm happy to see Apple finally catching up, the press coverage and enthusiastic fans' response to it leaves me with an odd feeling.
To quote a disgruntled reader:

I don't believe the press how they are all so positive about some company that is actually fixing their mistakes months after the release of the product!

Could you imagine that i.e. Nokia would put their flagship phone on the market without it having MMS, copy/paste or multitasking? I don't think that the press would like that at all, but in the case of iPhone everyone is treating this failure as some success. What are the Apple marketing people doing to your heads?

Am I the only one, who finds this very late "fixes" rather embarrassing and incompetent?

I'd chaulk this one up as another example of Steve's infamous Reality Distortion Field.

I'd like to also point out that there are many things the iPhone is still lacking after this update, and although Apple has some sort of excuse for each one, I'm not buying any of them:
- Tethering Apple claims the carriers won't allow this, however why do other "Smartphones" allow this without a problem?
- Voice Command Not sure what the excuse is on this one, although you can purchase third party apps if you really want this feature. Still sort of lame that its not integrated.
- Background processing Apple claims it eats up to 80 percent of the iPhone's standby battery life, so they left it out. I call shenanigans on this one, as Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile do this without a problem, and average better battery life than the iPhone. If this is true, it is the fault of the OS for not knowing how to process background threads efficiently.
- Video recording Anyone's guess, however I'm guessing that the company is more interested in keeping things simple and user-friendly. Still, plenty of plain old camera phones offer editing features.
- Flash support For a device that claims "the real internet" is in your pocket, its surprising that they are one of the ONLY Smartphones not to offer some form of flash in a browser.

As far as Apple's excuses go, does anyone remember when Apple said they won't allow third party applications because they make the user experience unstable (back in iPhone 1.0)? Look at the App Store now. Its sort of amazing how once they found a way to profit with the concept, it was OK to allow third party development.

The bottom line as far as I'm concerned, is that this a very worthy update for iPhone users and I'm happy Apple is finally supporting all this. Perhaps not to the extent that the rest of the media world and Apple fans are, however I possibly missed drinking the same Kool-Aid as everyone else.