James O'Neill's blog

Windows Platform, Virtualization and PowerShell with a little Photography for good measure.

I-phone... I don't like to say I told you so.

I-phone... I don't like to say I told you so.

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Aargh. I just broke one of the cardinal rules. Never say anything you don't beleive to be true.

I love to say "I told you so".

I read Chris Case's break-up note to his I-phone with great amusment.

I wonder if Ben (who has left a void in a village somewhere to become my blog stalker) will berate him for the violence of saying "that it's best to sever ties now while we still both have our dignity and I have not smashed you on the sidewalk in frustration"

 

Comments
  • The fact that his blog post drew 171 comments when I looked, says it all! People will fight to the death over something that may or may not be better. And they say football fans are passionate?!

    I just about remember the rules of Human Computer Interaction from my college days, and I'm certain the iPhone breaks most of them. Having to stare at a phone to use it is backwards technology in my view!

  • You told us so? What did you tell us?

    The only post I know of where you talked about the iPhone was your "End of an era. Apple is no longer a computer company" post.   Was there a post I missed...?

    I don't recall you predicting that Chris Case would end up returning his iPhone, or that people in general would.  Of course, anyone could have predicted that sometime after launch you'd be able to find *someone* who didn't like their iPhone.  Does that mean anything?  If so, do web anecdotes about people who've uninstalled Vista to run XP, or who've abandoned Vista for Linux or the Mac mean something too?

    Or do you have a more general point?  Are you claiming that people in general are unhappy with their iPhones?

    Anyway, I'd love for you to "tell us so" a little more clearly.  Make some predictions about the iPhone.  And, while you're at it, tell us what you think of people who bought one.

  • Have a look at http://blogs.technet.com/jamesone/archive/2007/06/08/mobile-phone-round-up.aspx

    I thought something I said was posted here but it must have been a comment somewhere else, basically, from what I can tell never having used one is

    * It can't do anything my free-on-a-contract smartphone doesn't do (and Windows powered phones have been doing for 4-5 years).

    * It costs a fortune but it is beautiful. But as various people point out the UI is pretty lousy for a phone (touch screen PDA/Phones don't work as well *as a phone* as phone with a 4x3 keypad).

    * It's madly overhyped.

    What do I think of people who bought one ? I think there are a good many who'll look at it in 6 months and go "That was *so* July". The ones who bought it because it was thing to be see to own. Do I mock them or pity them ? Neither really. Some people will get swept up the in hype and buy something they're just different from me ...

  • I'm not sure whether I find the fact that labrats are willing to spend $600 on a phone that doesn't give you everything that you want from a phone.

    I emptied out my "manbag" last night and realised just how much electronic kit I carry.

    * Personal entertainment system (not an ipod either - something superior !)

    * My PDA that is used to synchronise my contacts, and act as an ebook reader & internet access via hotspots

    * My mobile smartphone, which replicates my PDA

    * My blood meter - being a T1 diabetic this is essential

    and then ....

    * BT Headset

    * Wired Headset - for when the other one fails .. more often than not

    * Several large USB memory sticks

    * Micro USB cable for charging the phone

    * USB cable for charging the PDA - why doesn't it charge via micro USB ?

    * A cable for charging the entertainment system.

    * The cable for transfering the data from the blood meter to the laptop

    So surely one single device would be better, and in reality that will be my smartphone, where I can listen to music, watch movies, read ebooks, surf the web, read my e-mails and make phone calls; but do I really need a camera ?

    With so many manufacturers trying to outdo each other it's going to be difficult over the next two or three years for the end-user to decide what they really want to buy; phone companies are looking to create increased profits through charging for new technologies. Data is set to become the next biggest growing market after texting has settled down; then couple this with the ability to make phone calls via VoIP when you are within range of a wireless hotspot - Remember Rabbit.

    So whilst the bean-counters from both ATT & Apple are happily rubbing their hands together in Fagin'ish glee, and the designer is gathering awards the users have realised that it's a phone where Apple have bundled a BSD & Symbian run ipod and mobile phone hybrid,

    What if I don't want itunes does this mean I can take Apple to the European Union for forcing software on me that I don't want - memories of other recent cases with the EU ... Don't answer that one ...

    I'm not going to hype any phone software, firstly because the symbian software on my Sony Walkman annoys the hell out of me as it constantly freezes, and secondly my WM5 on the smart phone at times appears to be so smart that it will do what it wants without regard for my own desires and fails to remember the settings that I actually want. But the design is good, even the sliding keyboard which I thought I would hate - don't think I can return to a normal text pad now especially as predictive text is a pain.

    Oh well, don't look at what you have, but look towards the future and the potential - if you have an iphone

    Maybe until the market has settled down, and smart devices have improved their functionality, battery life and memory I'll just look for a phone similar to the one I had 6 years ago, that gives me great battery life, makes calls and sends texts

    On the other hand, like many others I can't help wondering when Microsoft will release a Zune phone that will rival the iphone

    Arthur

  • Oh go on, call iPhone users "Smug, preening tossers".   You know you want to.  :-)

    More seriously, if you choose the criteria, it's easy to weight things so that your own favorite wins.  So sure, when you do a feature-list comparison, your smartphone may well come out ahead.  Unless, that is, "People like using it" is on the feature list.

    Here's an informal survey via Google:

    (windows "I <X> my phone") OR "I <X> windows mobile":

     650 love

     9,250 hate

    "I <X> my iphone":

     30,900 love

     18 hate

    Of course, it's not exactly a scientific poll (although there *are* some proper scientific polls out there that seem to indicate extraordinarily high satisfaction with the iPhone), but since your post began with a web article, it seems fair to stick with that level of research.

    But maybe you're right and these people who've used a product you've never used are all just deluded hype-swayed sheep.  All you need to do is *educate* them and they'll understand that Windows Mobile is great.  And, like a disposable fork that's free with your take-out, a free/cheap phone that comes with your calling plan is excellent value, too!

    And if you don't convince them, well, *then* you call them tossers.

  • Strictly - the I-phone wouldn't be classed as a phone in the Windows mobile world since it has a touch screen but no buttons. Can you dial a call on the iPhone one handed ? No.

    Can you add memory to it to make it a decent on-the-go music and video device - no.

    Can you connect to corporate e-mail using Blackberry's agent or Microsoft's - No.

    Documents editting, or GPS ? Not sure but I don't think so.

    Voice control ? Don't think so either.

    Third party software - not good right now.

    So what have you got - just about the most expensive PDA/phone on the market. It doesn't work well as a phone and it doesn't work well as a PDA but it is very, very pretty.

    Does that make the typical Iphone buyer a "Smug preening tossers", or a "deluded hype-swayed sheep" ... maybe. They may just like shiney pretty things. They may want a phone which is the latest fashion accessory.

    What's interesting though is something Arthur hints at. When we first had prototypes of the smartphone I wanted to know why we weren't selling it as a Microsoft branded product (answer: analysts at the time said this would make the carriers very uncomfortable - they'd be much happier selling phones with their own brand made by HTC). Maybe an Apple Branded phone shows that the world might accept a Microsoft branded one. But we'd have to match the competition for industrial design.

  • It is possible to operate and dial from an iPhone phone one-handed, provided you have a thumb (I think this goes for the Windows devices too).  I don't know if that fact would allow it to be classed as a phone in the Windows Mobile world or whether "real" buttons are the deciding factor?

    I also understand that software is coming to allow connection to corporate Exchange email too; I guess you can always use VPN and OWA in the mean time.

    Document editing? You could always use a web service like Google Docs and Spreadsheets from the Safari browser to allow you to edit documents/spreadsheets on the go - not much good on an airplane or out of coverage though but you can use the 'notes' application then.

    As far as I know, voice control, GPS and real buttons are all absent.

    In the long run, I think it has to be good that Apple has brought a fresh approach to this phone/music player/pda device in a market where the devices have been slowly increasing in functionality but have not had the 'wow' factor to date that the iPhone is having.  Despite the great hype, these things look different and exciting, perhaps that's why they are selling like hotcakes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN1ngdB3S5g

    Once all the hype and debate settles down, I'm sure there is plenty of room in the market for the device, 3G, buttons or not.

  • Making claims about the usability of something you've not actually used (and apparently haven't even seen used) is a risky proposition.

    Your claim that you can't use an iPhone one handed just makes you look silly. It would have been more plausible to have claimed that you can't do the pinch zoom action for zooming one-handed, but even there, you'd be wrong (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfItpe6TeLs).

    Lack of memory expansion would matter if it didn't have much storage on board, but 8GB of Flash is more memory than most phones out there have even with the largest SD card available installed. (It's also more storage than most personal computers had a few years ago, and more than some of the iPods people buy today.)  Most phone users don't need multiple memory cards any more than most camera users do.  My digital cameras all have the memory cards in them that I bought when I got them.  Eliminating memory expansion makes the phone smaller, lighter and more robust.  It's a design trade-off, and it'll annoy a few, but not a significant number.

    Also, the iPhone works great with my email and calendaring solution, but then I use standards-based solutions rather than proprietary ones.

    But it isn't a one-size-fits-all world. You and I probably wouldn't buy the same car (perhaps you'd pay thousands more than I would just to have a car that has the particular "driver feel" you like), or the same computer, and so there is no reason we should like the same phone.  If I like my iPhone and you like your phone with Windows Mobile, we both get to be happy.  And I *am* happy, very happy, with my iPhone.

    Ultimately, I think I'd enjoy reading this blog more if you spent your time talking about what you love about the Microsoft products you use than sniping at non-Microsoft products you've never used.  For one thing, it's much more informative to see you talking about things where it's clear that you know what you're talking about.

    And when you do resort to character assassination on the users of other products, I'm left wondering whether that's the only way you have to rationalize their behavior (you just can't understand why they are so damn *happy* with the things they use, and so characterize them as smug bastards), or whether you just have so little to say that's substantive that you're resorting to hurling insults.

  • I guessed when you were trying to goad me into being rude to all iPhone users that you'd bought one :-)

    It puzzles me that Apple users seem to be so insecure (does Vista selling d more than Apples entire installed base within 5 weeks of going on the Market make you feel like an opressed minority or something ?). Users of PCs and Windows get all kinds of insults (even the "My mail is standards based yours is proprietary" ones). But say anything against Apple and fatwas get issued.  

    The "I'm a PC / I'm a Mac" ads were not "I'm a PC user / I'm a Mac user" ads. The item which said "Macs are smug, preening tossers" was a commentry on the "Look at me, look at me, look how beautiful I am" nature of Apple equipment, not of the people that use it. (But if the cap fits ...). I've never called people who buy PC's "A bit rubbish" or Mac users "Smug" much less "bastards" - a quick search shows the word doesn't appear in any post on this blog.. I think I have to call "Substantiate or withdraw" on this: give me a link to where I've "resorted to Character assassination"

    Indeed aren't you the one hurling insults here. Who introduced "Hype Deluded sheep" and "Smug preening tossers into this thread ?" Not me. And when I refered to that previously It was after saying

    "Odd as it may sound Microsoft people don't dislike Apple. iPod's market penetration among Microsoft employees is probably higher than the population as a whole. Ask many of us what hardware we'd choose to run Vista on and a lot would prefer Apple to Dell, HP, Toshiba and the rest. Apple's industrial design is some of the very best out there.

    Apple punch above their weight, and nowhere more so than in their advertising. 23 years after it aired the "1984" commercial for the launch of the Mac is still seen as one of the great commercials."

    I bought an iPod nano as a gift for my wife precisesly because it was a beautiful artifact So I can't really insult all Apple buyers / users en-bloc can I.

    But here's the thing. We got the nano *because* it was a beautiful thing (and Apple engraving it was really the icing on the cake.) But we could have bought a music player that did the job better and cost less.

    And it's the same with the iPhone. It's a very expensive, very beautiful device. But is it any good as phone ? When it's 6 months old and been bashed about in pockets and bags and dropped a few times and is no longer the height of fashion are people going to regret their contract commitments ? I've thought from the outset that some would get swept-up in the hype and regret it later. And the post I linked to shows that. But the idea that every single iphone user will is absurd. The device *is* overhyped. That doesn't mean it is lousy.

    Of course if you work in a business which wants to edit office documents, sync with Exchange or Lotus notes, manage the device's security , remotely wipe it, develop line of business apps for it, input data to it or a bunch of other things, it's a poor choice.  And those kinds of people (not you) are the target readership.  

    If you want to carry this on you know where to reach me. But I'm not going to carry this thread on here.

  • I don't really want to add too much more oxygen to the whole iPhone debate here, but...

    Your statement on using the iPhone one-handed is false (apologies in advance if it turns out you're thumb-less), some of your other ‘facts’ are vague and you didn't 'tell us so' as the thread title implies.

    "Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a sales or marketing strategy of disseminating negative (and vague) information on a competitor's product."

    http://blogs.technet.com/jamesone/archive/2007/01/21/a-guide-to-fud-thanks-to-canon.aspx

    "If you catch me doing it, then you have my permission to ridicule me."

    On the topic of 'character assassination':  in this thread (and in another) you yourself call your blog reader/poster and apparent fan of Apple and Google products 'Ben' a stalker and say he's 'left a void in a village', both I think you'll agree pretty good examples of character assassination…

    I hereby formally request permission to 'ridicule'... ;)

  • Ok Russ. Permission granted.

    As I've said to Melissa by mail the whole one handed comment was just plain wrong of me. I was thinking of the scenario where you've got the phone in one hand and you're doing something else and not looking at it as you (for example) quick dial a number. You can't do that with a touch screen device - you need tactile feed back. Obviously the device is narrow enough to hold with the fingers and operate with the thumb. What I think of as "one handed" isn't actually anything to do with not needing both hands.

    Not sure which facts you think are vague. Does it have voice command ? Does it have a Blackberry Softclient, or Exchange Active sync ? Does it support corporate requirements like PIN policy and remote wipe ? Can I take the memory out to print photos from it ? Does it have GPS ? Is Chris Case wrong that you can't dial a contact just by pressing buttons ?

    I've expressed an opinion that the device is both beautiful and overhyped. Do you think it's ugly or underhyped ? I've also said that the hype means people are buying it as a fashion accessory even it doesn't meet their needs for a phone. [Which isn't to say every user is a "Sheep" as Melissa seemed to think. Sheep buy iPhones does not imply all Iphone buyers are sheep].

    As for Ben, he has bombarded me with comments, and seems to check here on a minute by minute basis to see what replies are posted. The behaviour is peristant and troll like - and when I didn't agreee with him that I should not post about my near "air-rage" incident he contacted my manager and said it was "like reading into the mind of the 'Vinnie Jones' of the IT world ". It's getting stalker like and I called it as I saw it.

    I don't think he ever posted anything about Apple. He did post that Google wasn't just a search company to the vast majority of people, and that the existance of Google Apps made Google as impactful as Microsoft. If he really thinks that I'm sure there a few villages which would give him a job - though you're right just because he calls me "Vinnie Jones" I shouldn't call him a Village idiot.  

    I notice you're anonymous too. A monosylabic first name as a handle. Do I need to check in the server logs to find out if your IP address matches Ben's ?

  • James, I'll give you the benefit of doubt this time.  I'm not 'anonymous'; your comments section only requests a name and url.  As I don't have a URL, should I really have to post a national ID card number, mothers maiden name, DOB and sort code into that field before you'll accept my posts?

    Seriously. in reply to your questions, I really didn't think you needed to ask, but the 'facts' (not counting your apparent confusion over using the phone one-handed) you quoted which are vague are "Documents editing, or GPS ? Not sure but I don't think so. Voice control ? Don't think so either."  I did try to help clear them up for you the following post.

    In reply to your other questions; I DON'T think the iPhone is ugly and I DO think it is overhyped (as I previously stated).  Now, that said, I'm not sure I'd own one; I really don't have strong feelings on it either way.  I'm not even going to start on the GooglePhone... Personally, I like Nokia and struggle with other phones because I find the Nokia's usability is unbeatable.  I'm perfectly sure and more than happy to accept that thousands of others will disagree.

    Melissa's car example was spot on; lets say Rolls Royce - they are expensive and do pretty much what a Fiat Multipla does.  Heck, the Multipla even has more seats and better fuel economy but still people want to buy Rollers.  (to save any confusion later, I am not saying/implying that the iPhone is somehow the Rolls Royce of the phone world!)  Likewise, I bought my wristwatch because I *like* it.  I could have bought one far cheaper with dozens more features but this one fits my needs in terms of function AND style.  I think fashion and personal choice come into most decisions - the cars we drive, the clothes we choose to wear, the phone we use.  If that wasn't the case, then we'd probably all drive 'safe' Swedish estate cars, wear denim overalls and have digital calculator watches that double as a TV remote!  Vive la différence!!

    If iPhone buyers are all getting swept along by the hype, just buying the latest 'shiny thing' or it's considered 'so July', after your quoting the great Vista sales figures, I'm sure you can see how easy it would be to take those self same criticisms and turn them straight on those very Vista buyers... that was so January!

    I'm not going to post anymore to this thread because as far as I'm concerned, I think it's all been said/answered now; the iPhone is done!  I suppose the topic had to raise it's head here someday, it's been everywhere else.

    My closing gambit is that the blog is getting to be quite 'negative' reading lately and, like Melissa, I'd far prefer reading it if you got back to some *positive* topics.  This whole thread seems to be founded on a bit of a swipe at the iPhone; you have to accept that posting FUD, negative, sniping or contradictory threads is just opening the blog up for some critical comment back.  On the other hand, I like reading about your getting started with Powershell, tweaking WinPE and I'm always interested in any Microsoft advice, tips, release news, insider gossip and the like.  Perhaps it's our (readers) fault for not giving much feedback or comments on these posts.  This iPhone thread is so last month!

  • OK, Russell. Fair points well made. My Nokia experience is five years out of date (it came to an end with the 7110 - not a great phone), but going from Nokia to the Horrible Ericsson T39 I know what you mean. I'm pretty happy with Smartphone usablity - and couldn't go back to a phone which doesn't do e-mail; I don't want to carry a phone and blackberry or  a phone and a music player (no Zune for me), or a phone and GPS unit I daren't leave in the car. All in the Smartphone works well for me. And I can edit my presentation in the back of a taxi - I think there is a third party solution to allow that on (some) Nokias

    I took the thread to Melissa off line but we all agreee about cars. Brand values and looks are a valid part of the decision making process. We also seem to agree that phone is both beautiful and overhyped. Some daft people out there have got so swept up in the hype they've bought the iPhone even though it doesn't work for *them*.

    It's not the first time I've got myself in trouble with people who extrapolate this way. I did the same on a camera forum. I said that some idiots who want a camera see Sports photographers with £10,000 Canon lenses and hung about with Canons 1D series bodies and go and buy a Canon - even if a Nikon, Olympus or Pentax would work better for them.  I got accused of calling all Canon buyers idiots. Obviously this isn't true. A specific class of idiot tends to gravitate to this product.

    When a product is overhyped it gathers idiots. Chris's post is an admission that he was daft and swept along by the hype. All I ever said (and not on here as I though) was that there were people like that.

    You'll be pleased to know I'm just sorting out a powershell post.

  • I agree with Melissa's comments above.  I also want to add that variety in phones is something I've always appreciated.  I think choose of phone has more to do with what you're planning to do with it, and what the customer goal is than what company made the phone or its software.  I would probably ask questions like:

    -What do you plan to DO with the phone other than taking calls?

    -Does screen size matter?

    -Are you already an ipod user (to me any ipod user who also has a cell phone will LOVE the iphone - if only for the sake of consolidation)?

    -Are you open to new ideas?

    -Is your focus Excel or Cover Flow?

    I personally don't like small screens - so the only Windows Mobile phone I would use would be the IPAQ Phone - comparatively priced with the iphone.  I also prefer touch to the control used on most windows mobile phones for selecting options in menus.

    I definitely loved the point that the arguement about the lack of expansion options - did not even consider that most cell phones would not NEED an expansion slot if they offered 8GIGS of memory out of the box LOL -

    On the other hand, Apple could have offered more memory since the focus was on the ipod improvements and IPODS - not other cell phones - offer much more memory than iphone.

    Long live variety - for the CUSTOMERS sake.

  • Absolutely, variety is good. Inovation is good.

    And I find form factors interesting. *IF* you want a phone size device and you want a big screen then the only way to do it is to get rid of the buttons, and have a touch screen. (Not quite true, Ericsson experimented with a button flap which used the touch screen underneath and could be folded out to use the whole screen.)

    Having watched several videos, but not tried a device (it's not available in Europe yet), I don't think Apple have come up with a miracle cure for the lack of tactile feed back in a screen which makes work less well when it comes to placing phone calls on the move.

    Long live variety and freedom of choice - but Apple don't give you any on memory do they ? You can't choose to buy the device with the size of memory you want (none at all if all you want is a phone), and then put a cheap third pary upgrade in.

    Although it's expensive 8GB DOES give you all the space you need, but not flexibility - you can't put your camera's memory card in the device to mail a picture you've just shot,or pop the memory that has your carry-with-you photo album can you pop the memory card out and put it someone else's reader / photo printer.

    OK. This thread is going to run out of time shortly.

    So lets summarize a few things.

    * The iPhone is a beautiful and innovative device.

    * It is overhyped.

    * It does seem to have aspirations to being more of a lifestyle device than simply a phone

    * It is trying to be something other than a great Telephone (its role model is not the Nokia 6310)

    * It's not trying to be a corporate communications device (its role model is not the Blackberry either).

    This does divide people into two camps. The "I just want it to be good at making calls and doing communications. I don't care about the photo album" brigade who won't get on with it - Chris Case being a prime example. Any of those people who buy an iPhone should be branded "Fashion victim" "Sheep" etc.

    The other camp is the "Who'd want to live with anything as limiting as a pure play phone" who genuinly like the whole iPhone experience: and as such are emphatically NOT fashion victims / sheep etc.  

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