Additional iPhone Review: a Few Qualms

Ok, in 24 hours of use, my iPhone review uncovers a few more limitations. I could have titled this “Things my Treo 650 will do that my iPhone won’t.” I think of the Treo as a pretty poor user interface. So, when there are things that it will do that my iPhone won’t, that’s a disappointment.

The most frustrating limitation is the complete lack of a mechanism for selecting text. Clicking and dragging (i.e., putting your finger down and dragging) universally implies scrolling the screen. If I type a half a sentence and decide I want to erase it, I have to bang away on the delete key. I can’t drag my finger across the text to highlight it, then press delete.

Likewise, I can’t copy and paste. I have both a competant email program and Google Maps on my phone. If someone emails me an address, I’d like to be able to copy and paste it into Google Maps, but I can’t find a way to do that. Ditto for phone numbers. On my Treo, it would automatically highlight anything it thought was a phone number, and I could just tap it and call it. The iPhone does that some, but not much. Plus, it’s pattern matcher is broken. It saw an IP address on a web page that was and it offered the xxx.yy.zz as a link I could tap and call. Presumably because that’s 7 characters. What if it was an international number? I’d rather the pattern matcher be too generous than too restrictive. Since I don’t have decent editing abilities, though, this feature is not that useful.

I have to give credit where credit is due, though. The user interface is (predictably) amazing. My 4 year old can pick up my phone, take pictures, go into the gallery, look at them, and then go take some more. He loves to flick his finger across the screen and change pictures. With one or two demonstrations, my 4 year old mastered the photo gallery. That’s pretty amazing. There are few software companies in the world that can produce anything a 4 year old can master at all.

The bluetooth might as well not be there. The only thing I think you can do with it (and I haven’t checked) is use wireless headsets. You can’t move data on and off the phone with it at all. With my old Nokia (and even with the stupid Treo) I can snap a photo and then send it to my laptop by bluetooth. That’s a lot faster and simpler than having to use Wi-Fi or EDGE to compose an email to myself and email the photos to me. It’s dumb that I have 2 bluetooth devices right next to each other (my iPhone and my MacBook Pro) and they can’t exchange information via bluetooth.

It’s not quite like an iPod. You don’t get to see the 8G of disk space as a drive on your system. You can’t use it like a USB drive.

I have an AppleTV and the iPhone has a limitation that the AppleTV has, too. I don’t like this idea of synchronizing with my laptop’s iTunes data. I want to be able to have stuff on my iPhone (or AppleTV) that doesn’t exist on my laptop. I mean, if I’ve got 8G (or 30G as in my Apple TV), that doesn’t mean I want to duplicate all that data on my hard disk. In my case, I have something like 14G of digital photos stored on external firewire hard drives. I don’t always have the drive connected. If I sync my iPhone or Apple TV and the drive isn’t connect, iTunes says “gee, you don’t have any photos any more. I’ll just tell the device to delete all the photos it has”” That’s dumb.

I want it to act more like my iPod shuffle. I can plug the shuffle into my computer and it doesn’t necessarily delete all the songs on the shuffle just because they’re not in iTunes any more.