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51 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 11228 10-Jan-2007 15:08
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 The Steve Jobs reality distortion field expanded at today’s Macworld and encompassed the humble mobile phone. Apple fan boys are going gaga, queuing up to sell their kidneys in order to get on Apples pre-order list.

It may be a lustly bit of kit and many will no doubt desperately want one, but I’m holding fire until a few wrinkles get ironed out. Here’s my thinking.
 

$#@!! Built-in battery
You’d have thought Apple would have learnt from the outcry surrounding the whole iPod battery debacle but nope. Non-user-replaceable batteries are part and parcel of the iPhone.

Is it just me or is this a monumental design blooper???  Every other cellphone on the market has a swappable battery for a very good reason. Giving the consumer the ability to swap out a flat battery in order to keep on talking is a must. Could this omission come back to haunt Apple?
 

Form factor
Being asked if "that’s an iPhone in your pocket or are I pleased to see me?" May excite some, but for day to day use, holding a curvy rectangular slab to your ear (I’m  assuming that like me, you don’t want to impersonate Star Trek’s Lt O’hura by wearing Apples funky Bluetooth earphone) isn’t very ergonomically satisfying. 

Capacity 8GB was a lot of memory about 5 years ago, but nowadays its pretty feeble and really only good for joggers and gym bunnies who don’t want to take their more expensive hard-disk iPod walkies. Now an iPhone with a hard drive would be too cool for school  

Ta-ta-ta touch me – I wanna be dirty! There’s no debate, the iPhones touch screen and gesture based interface is pretty way cool. Unfortunately it’s also a finger print and scratch magnet. Might a clamshell design that protected the screen have made more sense? 

Carriers Because it needs some customised stuff such as a specialised voice mail, the iPhone is sold exclusively in the US by Cingular. Should Vodafone decide they don’t want to splash out on a similar set up locally, kiwi Apple fanatics may never get the chance to own one. 

S-L-O-W It may do the web, e-mail and have widgets, but once you’re out of sight of your WiFi network (which lets face it for most us is going to be 99% of the average day), you’re back to GPRS mobile data (Vodafone New Zealand doesn’t offer the slightly faster EDGE option) which means WWW becomes the world wide wait and e-mail once again feels like snail mail.

Come on Apple – Come on Stevie J - how about some 3G goodness?



[Moderator edit (MF): split into multiple paragraphs for easier reading]
[Moderator edit (MF): moved to Mac OS... Isn't the iPhone running Mac OS X after all?]


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Nate wants an iphone
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  Reply # 57480 10-Jan-2007 15:10
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Umm... welcome to Geekzone.





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  Reply # 57481 10-Jan-2007 15:21
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Email and many java apps work fine over GPRS - even the latest BlackBerry Perl is GPRS only. The speed is not a big issue.

I'm sure 3G will come but IMHO it's obvious why Apple haven't gone down the 3G/HSDPA path just yet. Firstly Cingular are only in the process of rolling out HSDPA in the USA and don't yet have a fully complete network. Secondly HSDPA is on the verge of having it's first 14.4mbps devices available. Chipsets supporting 7.2 and 14.4 are not currently available in large quantities and I'm sure Apple would love to have the latest and greatest rather than being limited to 1st generation HSDPA speeds. And thirdly the USA and Australia are using HSDPA @ 850MHz whereas all other countries are using HSDPA @ 2100MHz and soon to be 900MHz. Like the HSDPA speed issue chipsets supporting triband HSDPA are not a mass produced item and therefore Apple would have trouble launching a device remembering that a product such as this has probably been complete for quite some time before it actually makes it to market. There is nothing wrong with launching a 1st generation device supporting GPRS only remembering that the entire US market that this product is aimed at supports EDGE. I'm sure any such 2nd generation devices will support 3G and will be available worldwide.






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Master Geek


  Reply # 57483 10-Jan-2007 15:34
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True - I guess 3G would also consume battery goodness like a weight watchers seminar attendee at a pizza hutt.... This said though a fixed (e.g. sealed battery has to utterly suck)

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  Reply # 57488 10-Jan-2007 15:45
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patdude123: True - I guess 3G would also consume battery goodness like a weight watchers seminar attendee at a pizza hutt.... This said though a fixed (e.g. sealed battery has to utterly suck)


Why does a sealed battery suck? Cellphones aren't like digital cameras where people tend to carry around a spare. Maybe in the old days with a Motorola brick but certainly not now.




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Master Geek


Reply # 57498 10-Jan-2007 16:15
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No but a lot of smart phone owners have a spare battery at home in a charger that they swap out - having the entire phone sitting in a charger for however long it takes to charge is just plain restrictive. The other question that also begs to be asked is what happens when the inevitable happens and the battery begins to wear out? Do we send the phone back to Apple and cough up some money that we'd otherwise not need to spend if the iPhone had been designed properly?

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  Reply # 57499 10-Jan-2007 16:22
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you can buy third party ipod batteries at DSE for $40 including tools to do the job. Why would this be much different. I think its great - they took a traditional cellphone, threw it out the window, and designed something pretty cool from scratch.

Well done Apple. Despite the sheer number of people who dont like it (who can just not buy it might I add), I think its great to see the classy design work that everyone *knows* Apple is good at, applied to this kind of device.

8GB is heaps of storage for a device like that. Its only 11mm thick. Really, if you want more storage for music, you would probably be looking at having a full size regular iPod as well.







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  Reply # 57500 10-Jan-2007 16:30
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the iphone is meant to be rolled out in "Asia", which includes NZ in 2008


By then they may not even decide to realise it here, or itll be as smooth as a babies bottom :p



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Master Geek


  Reply # 57504 10-Jan-2007 16:59
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8Mb equals a tiny percentage of my total music library and then there's the browser cache, e-mails, widgets and all the detritus one accumulates on a smart phone. Where's the flash memory expansion slot??? Other plain phones have them, why not the iPhone????

Aside from it being stuck in a charger because I cant swap out the battery it's also rude to charge a premium a product where the battery has been built in to keep manufacturing costs down. Based on todays currency rates sourced from XE.com, you be paying at least NZ$867 for an iPhone, which makes it a high end cellphone. No one in their right mind want to resort to pulling it apart to replace a battery and so they shouldn't. No other phone I've ever seen suffers from this "design glitch"

it may only be 11mm thick, but at roughly the same size as an iPod, its not going to be comfy in the pocket or purse or held up to your ear for any extended period of time.

In short as a gee wizz device, it has bling and some serious cool factor. Under real world conditions as a phone it blows chunks.




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Master Geek


  Reply # 57507 10-Jan-2007 17:04
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The iPhone uses some clever customised network backend stuff for their advanced voice mail service, and Google will need to customise their map applet for NZ... Vodafone will are the only GSM game in town and will need to re-work their back end to support the iphones features. If they decide not to then it may never see the light of day over here....besides As a GSM device it'll work very s-l-o-w-l-y with webpage rendering and large e-mails. Worse still, it simply  won't work at all a good amount of the time given GPRS's propensity for dropping connections.


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  Reply # 57508 10-Jan-2007 17:10
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I agree that we will have to wait and see whether there are any 'real world' drawbacks with this thing, but let's look at some of the great features.

- Fully featured Safari browser - no more stripped down mobile version
- User control sensors for rotation and phone use
- Full iTunes integration - compare that to any other phone

The network speed just isn't a big deal for now - mobile access to iTunes can come in the next version. Fundamentally Apple have redrawn what is possible and refused to compromise - breathtaking!



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Master Geek


  Reply # 57509 10-Jan-2007 17:14
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I agree that it is a ground breaking step and we'll have to wait for the dust to settle, but I really struggle to see the point of a fully functioning browser when it'll it take an age to render anything over a GPRS connection

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Reply # 57510 10-Jan-2007 17:15
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A mobile device, regardless of what brand or manufacturer, has limitations. For example CPU speed needs to be kept down otherwise the device heats up to much and uses too much power - and people don't like mobile phones that last half a day, right?

Because of this some features are always reduced on a mobile device. I want to see the "fully featured Safari" playing embedded media, or a flash game, or loading a Java aplet.

Also there's the physical limit on the screen. It's very annoying reading some websites and having to scroll left/right andn up/down. That's why browsers such as Internet Explorer Mobile, Opera, Access NetFront have an "one column/smartfit/smart rendering setting, that will "reflow" the content to fit the screen and prevent horizontal scrolling.

Let's see how it works before saying it's the salvation from the damnation imposed by other solutions...





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Reply # 57511 10-Jan-2007 17:19
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patdude123: 8Mb equals a tiny percentage of my total music library and then there's the browser cache, e-mails, widgets and all the detritus one accumulates on a smart phone. Where's the flash memory expansion slot??? Other plain phones have them, why not the iPhone????

If you want to carry your entire music collection, perhaps the iPhone is not for you. Dont forget that smart playlists can let you automatically sync say, only 5GB of music, and make it tracks that havent been listened to in 3 days. You will always hear fresh music, and never have to worry about changing the music yourself. 5GB of my least recently played music comes to 3.4 days of 24 hour a day music. If I listen for 8 hours a day (which I dont), thats 9 days before I will hear a song twice. That still leaves 3GB for user data (which is shed loads, really). If you need more than 8 hours a day of music, and more than 9 days worth of unique songs, then a converged device likely isnt for you - dedicated devices such as an iPod and a phone would suit your needs much better.

Aside from it being stuck in a charger because I cant swap out the battery it's also rude to charge a premium a product where the battery has been built in to keep manufacturing costs down.

 

I have a Windows Mobile PDA (Treo 700wx), my battery lasts between 24 hours and 3 days. It has a removable battery, just like my Apache which came with two batteries, but I almost never used the 2nd one. I have a car charger, and a charger at work, and one at home, im never far from power.

Based on todays currency rates sourced from XE.com, you be paying at least NZ$867 for an iPhone, which makes it a high end cellphone. No one in their right mind want to resort to pulling it apart to replace a battery and so they shouldn't. No other phone I've ever seen suffers from this "design glitch"

 

Audiovox Thera - launch price, $2000. In 3 short years, you couldnt get $100 on Trademe for it. Makes a $40 battery replacement look okay to me. HTC Falcon - fixed battery. Treo 600 - fixed battery (I think). Theres a few to get ya started. Its not a design glitch - clearly they have done this on purpose - the removeable battery didnt just fall off the drawing board.


it may only be 11mm thick, but at roughly the same size as an iPod, its not going to be comfy in the pocket or purse or held up to your ear for any extended period of time.

 

People with Windows Mobile and Palm devices have been making this saccrifice for quite some time. Its a good trade off for me, because of everything else the device achieves for me.

 

In short as a gee wizz device, it has bling and some serious cool factor. Under real world conditions as a phone it blows chunks.

 

Easy - dont buy one. Its clearly not the right phone for you. Im sure millions of people around the world will buy one, and be happy with it.









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  Reply # 57512 10-Jan-2007 17:31
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ytep thats the big test alright - shockwave and java....

Nate wants an iphone
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Reply # 57516 10-Jan-2007 17:59
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"8Mb equals a tiny percentage of my total music library and then there's the browser cache, e-mails, widgets and all the detritus one accumulates on a smart phone."

Don't you mean 8GB?  




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