Reasons not to buy an iPhone… Yet.
As the initial reviews from real-life iPhone owners began to trickle in, I started keeping a list of some of the problems they were reporting. Not the meta-problems that I already knew about, such as the fact that AT&T is the only supported carrier, or the price tag, etc. — I’m more interested in the little quirks that might not be showstoppers, but which were non-obvious at first and which would make it frustrating to use. The good news is that many of these problems can be addressed in software updates. We’ll have to wait and see how soon those start landing.
Apologies in advance for not providing attributions for these reports — if you’re one of the people who pointed one of these problems, you know who you are.
- By design, there’s no visible file system for the iPhone. This has a lot of ramifications in terms of limitations on other features.
- There’s no support for copy-and-paste between applications.
- Landscape orientation for the onscreen keyboard is only available in Safari. For other applications (namely, Mail) it’s always in portrait orientation.
- You can’t purchase music or videos from the iTunes store, directly from your iPhone. You must purchase them via the desktop application and then sync them to the iPhone.
- The built-in Google Maps application doesn’t know where you are, even though one of the commercials suggested that. There’s no built-in GPS, so it can’t know where you are. You can, however, bookmark certain locations (such as your home or office) to use as starting points for directions.
- You can’t sync via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi; you must use the standard USB cable.
- No support for MMS messaging (only SMS).
- No iChat application.
- You can’t compose notes on the desktop and then sync them to iPhone; you must compose notes directly on the iPhone.
- You can’t record video with the iPhone’s built-in camera; it’s only good for still photos.
Problems with Mail
- There’s no Junk mail filter built-in to the Mail application. This is not a big deal for me as Gmail does a pretty thorough job of spam-filtering on the server side, but it is nevertheless a curious omission.
- You can’t attach a picture to an e-mail message from within the Mail application; you must switch over to the Photo album, select a picture and click the “Send” (or is it “Share”?) button. This presumably also means that you can’t send multiple pictures in the same e-mail message.
- There’s no way to reply to an e-mail without quoting some part of that message. You can’t, for example, select the relevant part of the original message and then click “Reply” like you can in the desktop Mail.app.
Problems with Safari
- The browser doesn’t yet support Flash, so web sites that rely heavily on that technology (such as Homestar Runner) won’t work.
- Safari doesn’t cache pages that you’ve recently visited. If you navigate away from a page and then click the “Back” button, Safari reloads that page.
- You can’t download arbitrary files from web sites and sync them to your desktop for later use.