Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I love my IPhone, but...

There are so many things from a design and features perspective that keep holding this device back (at least for me, anyway). Having owned, used, and supported numerous smart phones for the last 6 years, I can definitely see places where some improvements can be made.

Don't get me wrong--this is a good device. There are some fantastic concepts here, but even Apple needs a little help now and then.

1. I think the foremost feature missing from the IPhone is Adobe Flash. We live in a Web 2.0 world--a world depedent on interactive Flash applications. It's not like the device doesn't have the capability to run Flash--the IPhone 3GS is arguably one of the most powerful devices currently on the market. The reason is that Apple sees Flash as a competitor to its own QuickTime/h.264 technologies. Flash means that developers can bypass the App Store, which further would loosen Apple's stranglehold.

2. The next big hitter is the App Store. The App Store is one of the greatest innovations in the mobile device market--it's a place where the Microsoft Windows Mobile platform totally missed the boat. It's great to be able to go to one spot to find all of the software available for the platform. Of course, having that the *only* place from which to get content seems very restrictive and very un-internet-like.

3. Cut and paste. Yes, "Cut and Paste" now works--sort of. I can't believe the massive oversight here. Every smart platform before it had this type of "feature." I had Windows CE and Windows Mobile 2003 devices that could do this. Apple had the gall to herald it's coming to the IPhone like they'd revolutionized the market. Its implementation isn't that great (a triple-tap to select a paragraph or functionality in all Apps would be nice), so there's places where its intuitiveness could be improved.

4. Where is smart dialing? I'm spoiled as a Windows Mobile user here--the phone dialer on the IPhone is absolutely awful. Even non-smartphones have a better auto-filtering interface. Most phones filter the contact list automatically as you type in either letters or numbers. Not the IPhone. You either have to go to your contact list and search or go to the Search screen to hunt up a contact. Too many steps.

5. The ability to call someone directly from anywhere in an SMS message. It's great that I can copy the text of an SMS, but in order to initiate a phone call to someone with whom I'm texting, I need to scroll to the top of the window and press the "Call" button. Let me tap (or double-tap) the user's name anywhere in the SMS message and prompt me to call from there.

6. Select multiple messages for delete in Mail. So, I can search for messages; that's great. What if I want to mass delete all messages that meet a certain search criteria (such as a particular subject)? That would be nice. You can't even single-delete messages from a Mail search, much less select multiple messages.

7. Folder expand/collapse in Mail. As an Exchange ActiveSync user, I can see and retrieve content from any of my Outlook folders without having to individually select folders for synchronization. I dig it. But what I don't dig is the fully-expanded view of all my folders. I have about 150 folders in my Outlook tree. If I want to go to "Sent Items," it takes several swipes to get there--and then I usually have to swipe back up.

8. Speaking of Mail navigation, don't give me what appears to be a scroll/position bar on the right side of the screen when I'm scrolling through folders without the ability to click/drag it. That's just plain frustrating.

9. "Invisible" Bluetooth. While it does display a small icon next to the battery, it would be nice to see a low-power blinking LED to remind me that it's on, since a lot of my apps run full-screen and I lose the on-screen icon. All of my other phones had a little blue light that flashed whenever Bluetooth was activated. Throw a guy a bone, please, Apple.

10. Ability to password-prompt for app removal. I can't tell you how many Apps have been uninstalled inadvertently by my kids. You require a password to buy something from the App store; require one to remove the app as well.

Anyone else have features they'd like to see native to the IPhone?

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