Top 10 Reasons Why I Haven’t Bought an iPhone 3G

August 1, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Mobile, Review

  1. The line: I spent 4 years living in England, the rumored birthplace of queuing.  I know the rules of standing in a line, and I respect a good queue.  It avoids people trampling on each other, and that’s a good thing.  But, when a line is 1/4 mile and 3+ hours long, count me out.  I can’t think of a single reason why I’d wait in a line for anything longer than 30 minutes, except for maybe medical care or food, following a major disaster.  A week after the iPhone 3G came out, I stood the line in front of the Apple Store very briefly with a friend before discovering that it was still hours long, and the chances of getting a 16GB model were slim to none.  We left in favor of brunch. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to play with friends’ iPhone 3Gs, and I’m happy I didn’t wait longer in line.
  2. You can only use one app at a time: As if the queues in front of the Apple store weren’t enough, once you get the iPhone home, you’ve got to line up your apps too.  That’s right, you can only use one 3rd party application on your phone at a time.  I gave up on PalmOS because it is a single threaded operating system that only allows you to use one application on the phone at a time.  I was excited for the iPhone 3G because I assumed that with the launch of the App Store, Apple would launch a device that enabled several apps to run at the same time.  Unfortunately, it’s one at a time.  Until this changes, some of the coolest mobile apps out there won’t work as well on the iphone as they do on other phones.  Being able to keep one app open while checking another app is a valuable feature, especially when you’re cutting and pasting information between applications.
  3. No copy and paste: Speaking of cutting and pasting, you can’t copy and paste on the iphone.  TechCrunch reports that Proximi has an app called MagicPad, which is awaiting approval to launch from the App Store.  But, MagicPad won’t enable you to copy and paste from one application to the next.  The main ways I want to use copy and paste on a phone is to copy from my browser or email and paste into my calendar or contacts.
  4. Built-in battery and abysmal battery life: 3G speeds, massive data streaming, and multimedia applications are a battery suck for mobile phones.  That’s why so many “smart phones” are still huge… They’ve got big batteries.  The iPhone 3G looks much more elegant than any of the other mobile phones on the market, but the battery life leaves something to be desired.  Most mobile phones have a removable battery, which means that if you’re a power user, you can swap in a spare battery if your phone goes dead. iPhone 3G has a built in battery.  So, if your battery goes dead, you need to find an outlet and wait for the phone to re-charge.  That’s especially inconvenient if you’re a road warrior or want to use your iPhone for all of it’s features – phone, music, applications, GPS, etc.  Also – anyone who has had a laptop for a couple of years knows that battery life decreases over time. The same is true with mobile phones.  I worry that after a year or so, battery life on the iPhone 3G will dwindle and replacing that battery (which requires monkeying with the hardware) will likely be expensive and time consuming.
  5. Reported performance problems switching between many apps: I’ve heard reports from friends that when you download a large number of apps from the App Store (say 15) and open and close them throughout the day, the iPhone 3G goes a little nuts – blanking out parts of the screen, showing jumbled lines of text, etc.  To correct this, you’ve got to soft reset the phone.  This really only impacts power users, but it sounds like enough of an issue that I’d like to wait for a fix.
  6. No turn by turn directions: iPhone 3G has integrated GPS but no turn by turn directions, which means that you can’t use it as a GPS while you’re driving.
  7. I have a Love/Hate Relationship with Multi-Touch: Multi-Touch is cool, but sometimes, I just need a keyboard… In bright daylight, it’s tough to see an LCD screen.  The iPhone 3G’s “Multi-Touch” technology does not provide sensory input that allows you to feel what keys you’re pressing.  It requires you to actually see the keys.  I much prefer a QWERTY keyboard, though I would rather have a screen the size of the iPhone.  I’d love to see someone come up with a jelly case that incorporates a real keyboard on the back of the iPhone – so that I can look at the big, beautiful screen as I touch type.
  8. Tethering isn’t possible: Most 3G smart phones allow you to ‘tether’ your phone to your PC – using your phone as a modem.  iPhone 3G does not.  This means, that you’ve got to buy a separate card for your Mac or PC to enable it to connect to AT&T’s network.  Wireless cards are cumbersome… I’d rather use my phone.  Apparently, I’m not the only one. Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that “tempers flared” when a tethering application that was briefly being sold on the iPhone App store was quickly taken down.
  9. Removing the SIM card voids your iPhone 3G warranty: I work in the mobile industry and am constantly trying new phones.  To do this, I swap my SIM card out of one phone and into another.  Apple says that taking your SIM out of your iPhone voids your iPhone warranty.  Frankly, swapping my SIM should be my prerogative.  If I own several phones, I should be able to use whichever one I want – depending on the circumstances…. If I’m at my client site (Motorola), I may want to use my Motorola Q9H (smart phone), but if I’m going out for a night on the town, I might want to swap to a smaller, more portable phone that fits easily in my pocket.
  10. The iPhone 3G is locked to AT&T: You must use your iPhone with an AT&T SIM card.  I’d like the option of paying more for an iPhone to unlock it so that I can use it with a pay as you go SIM card when I’m overseas (to avoid overseas roaming rates).  I still use my AT&T SIM to check messages when I’m abroad, but it seems silly to pay $2/Minute to make a local call when I’m visiting London.

P.S.  8/4/08: #11 (which should actually be #1): The Daily Mail (authority on all things tabloid-worthy) just published the following article which claims: “Apple to launch the iPhone ‘nano’ in time for Christmas.”

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  • Jeff Yulinda

    I have issues with the multi-touch screen. Yes, a keyboard on the back would make something so great, even better.

  • [this is good]
    You must use your iPhone with an AT&T SIM card! Thats all. I hate it:(

  • Jeff Yulinda

    I have issues with the multi-touch screen. Yes, a keyboard on the back would make something so great, even better.



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