iPhone Annoyances (Part 1…more to come)
There is so much hype about the iPhone 4. I studied a lot of reviews. I bought one. Did I make a mistake switching from Blackberry to iPhone?
I decided to write a review from a business user’s perspective. More specifically, from the perspective of a small business user, a long-time Blackberry user, who recently switched to the iPhone 4.
To get straight to the conclusion for those of you with attention deficit disorder: If the iPhone is your first SmartPhone, you will be tickled to bits. It does lots of cool stuff and does it pretty well. There are also lots of apps to make up for shortcomings.
If you are a business user coming from Blackberry to iPhone, and your primary needs are email, contacts, calendar scheduling, and synching to your PC (especially if you use Outlook), you will likely be very frustrated. Most simple tasks like entering a calendar appointment task take longer to perform on an iPhone. Some of the things you took for granted on a Blackberry (like default reminders for calendar appointments) cannot be done on the iPhone.
I am a longtime Blackberry user. I used my smart phone primarily for business and to communicate with my family. My laptop computer, Microsoft Outlook, and Gmail are the centre of my universe. I am in a small business environment without Exchange Servers and an IT department.
Most of the articles I see out there are filled with a bunch of cool things the iPhone can do but do not really focus on the main core items:
- Is it a good, efficient, phone that lets me readily call contacts?
- Can contacts be easily maintained and synced with a desktop computer?
- Can calendar appointments be entered efficiently and synced with a desktop computer?
- Can you easily and efficiently send and receive emails?
- Can you efficiently send text messages / instant messages?
- Can I keep a handy to do list for items that don’t really belong as calendar appointments?
- Does it have a decent battery life and is it easily and quickly rechargeable or are spare batteries available?
- After you have satisfied those core needs:
- Does it have a good web browser?
- Does it have a decent camera?
- Are there a lot of useful apps readily available?
Most of the reviews I read made the iPhone sound like a slam dunk choice over a Blackberry.
I switched to an iPhone 4 from my beloved old Blackberry Curve:
Why did I switch from my beloved Blackberry Curve to a new iPhone 4?
My Blackberry finally broke where the charger plugs in and it was not worth fixing. It owed me nothing. I went out looking for the next great SmartPhone. I was seduced by the sexiness of iPhones good looks and members of the Apple cult were tugging at my brain. Still, prior to switching I did a lot of homework and reading reviews. The problem is that most of the reviews seem to be done by high-school students and not business users.
Am I happy?
Not really – I got a phone that is a top-notch web browser and has a second-to-none screen but other than that I am pretty pissed by how it handles most of my business needs. Oh, it looks nice too – still the best looking phone out there.
- Keyboard (not as bad as I thought but the autocorrect becomes very annoying)
- Battery life not great
- No BBM Blackberry Instant Messenger (WhatsApp App softens the blow a bit)
- Any holster, even the raved about Otterbox sucks compared to the one handed case of use of Blackberry holsters
- There are a lot of things you can do one handed with a Blackberry – with an iPhone, plan on using two hands
- Voicemail password – you cannot simply enter one like you can on a BlackBerry
- Can’t delete multiple messages simultaneously. This is just plain dumb. I can manage my inbox at least 10 times more efficiently on a Blackberry.
- Slower to navigate through emails (even with the threaded view)
- In the end, you will want to set up a gmail account and do everything through there
- It takes at least 3 times as long to enter an appointment on an iPhone than on a Blackberry on average
- Can’t drag a calendar appointment from one time to another
- Calendar lets you enter appointments in the past, even with reminders, with no warning that the event is in the past. This is dumb – I can’t tell you how often this feature on the Blackberry saved me from entering an appointment in the wrong time/day/month/year…
- Can’t tap on an empty time slot in calendar to start opening an appointment that would show the correct time
- Can’t enter default reminders for appointments
- Can’t set default appointment lengths ??
- Can’t accept .ics calendar entries – Blackberry does this with no problem. If someone sends me a meeting Invite from Outlook, it will only go to my main outlook calendar and not to the calendar that syncs with Mobileme
- Not setting automatic alarms in calendar.
- Not being able to click on appointment time and enter appointment – have to use scroll wheels.
- Calendar does not default to current day. For example, if I was last looking at tomorrow, it will default to look at that day when I reopen the calendar
- There should always be a search box at the top. The little magnifying glass at the top right is almost impossible to reliably hit without hitting the add a new appointment button. Maybe put the magnifying glass at the left. A widely unknown workaround is that you can just tap at the very top of the screen to get a search box
- The search box should stay persistent even when you are scrolling through contacts – it scrolls off the screen
- Can’t sort contacts by company for example: I have the names of 5 local policemen. I have them in my Blackberry under Company “Police”. In the iPhone, I wanted to look up “Police” but it is not there. You have to use the search function. This is a very basic and MAJOR oversight for any business user.
- Any easy way to add another contact from the same company?
Syncing issues with MobileMe and Outlook
- Syncing from iPhone changes the sort order of Outlook contacts to lname fname and removes company.
- Synchronizing to Outlook not as fast or as good as Blackberry. I even subscribed to Mobileme which made life a bit easier but still took a long time to set up. It gets very confusing by establishing multiple calendars on your iPhone and your Outlook. If you are like me and want just one main calendar with everything in it, it is not nearly as simple as it should be.
- Should be a way to look at the properties of a photo to find out the date and time it was taken. All this information is captured, just no easy way to see it without downloading it to your computer or perhaps another app you really should not have to add on
- Digital zoom only available in still camera not video camera.
- Digital zoom is basically a waste due to quality loss – same as sending the old unzoomed version to someone and having them “pinch-out” to enlarge.
Please comment on whether you agree with some of these shortcomings and suggest ways to get around them. I will be trying to add to this article in future posts.