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iPhone 3G Gripes

July 31, 2008 by Derek Walter 

The luster is starting to wear off the shiny glass of the iPhone 3G. Forums and general discussion among 3G owners center on a number of gripes about battery drain, buggy programs, and other usability concerns.

Probably the biggest complaintĀ  is battery life. Yes, it is manageable if you are willing to invest in a car charger and keep the USB oneĀ  with you all day for charging sessions at home, work, or that outlet next next to the fourth seat in the third row in class. But it is a pain. While there are some tips for making your battery last, it is one extra layer of managing the device that some might not be willing to make. This hits the hardest at Apple’s attempt to market the iPhone for business. Mobile professionals don’t want to fuss over battery life. And since you can’t pop out and slap in a replacement battery (thanks Apple) some may just pass.

Will someone down at Steve Jobs’ factory please fix the bugs? Safari will crash without warning. Pulling up contacts has an irritating two-to-three second lag. Some of the apps from the App Store (especially the New York Times app) are slow and prone to crashes. It’s starting to feel like I’m using Firefox 3. Hopefully these will not be the trend, and can instead be attributed to an large volume of brand new apps on a newer device. There are prone to be issues. But that doesn’t make me feel better when I’m in the middle of an IM session and the app dies.

Another major complaint that has only begun to irritate me more with use is the one-application-at-a-time restriction. Supposedly there is a plan for a fix through a reconfiguration of server issues. Let’s hope this is the case. In order to be a device that can really be used for productivity, there needs the ability to run a program in the background. Yes, I understand this is a battery life issue (like we need another one of those). But being able to run AIM or Google Talk in the background while checking email (like I can do on my laptop) will make my (and I suspect others) life easier.

The more I type on my iPhone for emails and text messages, the more disappointed I become in the keyboard. I’m in a Catch 22 – I want to type quickly with two thumbs and rely on the predictive text. But I can’t. If I slow it down a bit, things work a lot better. There is no real fix for this, but this is an area that again could keep the iPhone from wider business adoption. I guess it’s time to practice, practice, practice.

What’s happening here is Apple has jumped out of its iComfort zone and is now playing with the big boys of business. Enterprise will not likely ever adopt the iPhone in large-scale measure like corporations do for the BlackBerry, but a lot of small businesses and independent contractors may give it some consideration. And when you look at the big picture, the company is off to a great start. The iPhone is the most revolutionary mobile device, spawning a year’s worth of imitators. But in order for the performance to match the hype, some fixes are due. And soon.

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