I Don’t Hate My iPhone

I don’t hate my iPhone because I don’t have one. I have a Treo. The PalmOS is showing its age, and it doesn’t synchronize that well with the Mac, so I’ve been thinking about replacing it, and the iPhones are awfully beautiful. And all the cool kids have one. Maybe I should reconsider, even if it meant leaving Verizon, the only mobile service provider I haven’t hated with a passion?

Last month I needed to replace my iPod, so I bought an iPod Touch, which is basically an iPhone minus the phone, but with all other functionality including wi-fi connectivity. It’s lovely and I like it very much, but I am very glad it’s not my phone. I like plenty of things about it, but I don’t need to add to the iPhone gushing. Instead, I now have some solid answers for everyone who says they are shocked I haven’t rushed out to buy an iPhone.

  • The battery life is terrible, even for a smartphone, and the battery is not replaceable.
  • The virtual keyboard is inferior to a real one. Everyone says that it’s great once you get used to it. I’m used to it. It’s not great. I can type much faster and more accurately on the Treo’s keyboard, and unlike the iPhone, when I’m typing, I can still see the whole screen. The iPhone’s screen is larger and better than the Treo’s, but I can see more of my email as I write it on the Treo than I can on the iPod.
  • Typing on it is tedious, even beyond the lack of a physical keyboard. The auto-correction feature is better than the Treo’s when it works, but it often doesn’t. You cannot edit its list of completions and corrections and you cannot enter shortcuts (for instance, to convert “rkf” to “Regards, Ken Ficara”). The iPhone is the worst of the major smartphones I’ve used for typing. The Treo is better and the Blackberry is much better.
  • I like buttons. I don’t want to have to look at my phone to answer it. I like being able to ignore calls without even having to take the phone out of my pocket.
  • You’d think that syncing with the Mac would be a breeze, right? Wrong! In some ways it’s worse than the Treo. For instance, the Treo keeps changing task categories when I sync, so that “Send invoice to XYZ corp” ends up in “Music” while “Fix tuning on G harmonica” ends up in “Work.” The iPhone does not have this problem — because tasks don’t sync at all! Calendar and contacts syncing are unreliable especially via wireless, photo syncing with MobileMe is horrible, and true push email is available only with Apple’s own email service.
  • Despite the fact that you can watch YouTube videos, you cannot watch Netflix Instant or Hulu videos on the iPhone or iPod Touch. Apple wants you to buy video from iTunes.
  • Despite the fact that it’s a wi-fi client, it cannot talk at all to my desktop Mac unless it’s plugged into it.
  • You can’t cut and paste. Hello! This is going to be fixed in the 3.0 update. It really took three major releases of the operating system to put in cut-and-paste? We’re lucky they included vowels in 1.0!

There is a new version of the Treo out, but it’s only available on Sprint at the moment. When the time comes to replace my current phone, I will most likely buy a Blackberry.

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4 Responses to I Don’t Hate My iPhone

  1. egretplume says:

    Losing my easy Palm syncability has been the hardest part of switching to a Mac for me. The kinda-sorta-synced thing with my Palm drove me so crazy I am carrying a paper planner around. I am keeping lists of things in a notebook application that syncs to iCal and my iPod, but of course that’s read-only. I don’t want to swap my 120G iPod for a 16G or even 32G iPhone, and I don’t want to leave Verizon, either. Like you, I cannot fathom why there is no task program on the iPhone, nor why its camera has no flash.
    Everyone I know who has an iPod loves it, but I can’t talk myself into it, so I really appreciate this post.

    • ken says:

      You might want to look at The Missing Sync, from Mark/Space Software. The synchronization software that ships with the Mac is so bad I assume it’s intended to make you buy an iPhone, but with third-party software it’s not that bad. The task category issue is the most significant problem I’ve had; the Treo actually syncs better with the Mac than it did with Outlook on my Windoze machine at my old job.

      And yeah, 16GB is enough for me (they don’t make an iPod big enough for my whole collection) but you point out a few other ridiculous shortcomings of the iPhone. (Also, no video.)

  2. kizlj says:

    yay, I’m not the only one! I vastly prefer my Palm and am cranky it’s basically on its way off into the sunset. They can pry it out of my hands when it is cold and dead.

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