5 Things I Hate About the iPhone 3G

The iPhone is a wonderful gadget, but while there are things we love, there are things we will undoubtedly hate about it.

Argh! Where is my charger?!? And why doesn’t my old charger work?
Power is a real problem with the iPhone 3G.  I find myself charging the unit overnight every day.  I use it for my alarm clock, so the first thing I do upon opening my eyes is grab the iphone and look at Twinkle/Twitter and FriendFeed to get my mind working.  Once I am ready to leave for work, I pop it into my car charger.  Every once in a while I’ll check email or Twitter during the day, but just in case, I have my AC charger on hand.  On the way home from work, its back into the car charger.  The thing is, I have a Mini Cooper that I purchased with an iPod adapter that worked great with my Nano and then with my iPod Touch.  It turns out that with the iPhone 3G, the power scheme went from firewire based to USB based and now that $500 accessory no longer works.  There is an adapter that will be coming out soon to rectify this. 

Sigh. Safari crashed again.
Something has to be done about the stability of the platform.  With everyone rushing to write apps for this, it’s amazing how many people are talking about issues that keep them from using those apps.  The browser crashes, the apps crash, a lot of people (myself included) have to wipe the damn thing to start over because the apps won’t start up at all.  There are some really serious bugs here and I know that engineers at Apple are working to fix these things, but it just seems like this is a sign that the product was rushed out the door to meet an artificial deadline.

The SDK is Mac only. Why can’t Objective-C come to the PC world?
As a sysadmin-developer who uses many scripting languages, this is just another language to tackle.  But Objective-C is a real bear.  I have a Mac Mini that I am using to this purpose, but it would be nice it there were alternatives.  Projects like Camelbones are trying to help in this space, but I fear it’s the type of thing that won’t be much more effective than Wine on Linux: a promise that is a nice ideal, but which will never catch up.

GPS is nondirectional. Camera takes too long to snap shots. Video – WTF??
Simply because the device promises so much, we are so surprised when it doesn’t deliver everything we could imagine.  We forget quickly that device convergence is a new thing and this is the best representation we have of it so far.  There have been firmware updates to address some of these things, but more does need to be done and I hope that the device will continue to evolve in the coming year to something we can truly call the UberPhone.

No background processes and notifications. My horrible looking Blackberry does it and has a smaller CPU.
Something that mystifies me is how my old, weak Blackberry 8700g can handle background processes and notifications, yet the iPhone itself cannot.  I hate my Blackberry because of its terrible old terminal-style interface.  But I have to give credit:  Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk, Ramble, Enterprise messenger, and more are running on this little device and those apps can all notify me of an incoming message or change in status.  But my more powerful iPhone cannot.  This speaks greatly of how memory hungry the interface is and how CPU intensive the individual applications are.  What I would like to see is having the SDK encourage a small core of code that can live once the application’s front end closes, waiting for the chance to speak up  when it has something new to say.  Then clicking on the icon in the home screen connects to that core of code and displays what the updates are.  This requires the ability to choose which ones will autostart when the iPhone boots, and which ones are to die when the app misbehaves.  Apple’s upcoming notification scheme is a great idea to make background notifications work in the shortest term with the least amount of variety among developers, but I foresee a MobileMe style meltdown coming – how soon we forget.  In typical Apple style, this solution provides the least amount of control on the developer’s part and the most control in Apple’s corner.  It is this lack of control on the developers’ behalf that keeps those weak parts from evolving into a better solution.

So in posting these two articles, I have to say that after two months with my iPhone, I both love and hate it.  I would not want to be apart from it, but there are moments where I literally have to stop myself from throwing it through the drywall, remembering the dollars I plunked down for it.

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4 thoughts on “5 Things I Hate About the iPhone 3G

  1. The 3G coverage is something AT&T can eventually fix by adding more towers. Remember, we're only two months into the experience. With the 2.1 firmware, the 3G reception seems to be better, and I'm actually able to get it around my house… when I'm not using Wifi, that is.

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