iPhone 3GS 32GB "Harsh Review"

Yes, I admit I finally got bitten by the hype as much as I can usually see through it all.  Keep in mind this review is of the "stock" phone, no jailbreaking yet which is what really unleashes the customizability and why I bought iPhone.

I had better things to say about this phone before buying it, and it is a great phone, perhaps the best on the market by far, if not because of the Mac OS port onto the iPhone and all the apps, etc, etc.

With that said Apple needs to stop being so arrogant and forcing its ways on users.  They of course complain that people are jailbreaking their iPhones, and for me it's a must because this phone is an "iCripple".  Let me explain why.

Bad Batch of Hardware?

My phone stops responding for seconds at a time even in notepad, and sometimes it seems like it doesn't want to bring up the keyboard etc..

I've read lots of reports of this, and it is sounding like since I got part of the first batch that like with many technologies, this first batch has a lot of defects.

Some have claimed to have received exchanges from Apple which don't suffer from these issues.

E-mail (POP) check/push response time is less than ideal

First of all, e-mail is one of my primary uses which is the only thing my old Blackberry 7250 did well (it was completely useless for anything else and wasn't exactly fast or ideal for e-mail), but it worked.  I was using a POP account which the Blackberry service retrieved for me.  Sometimes e-mails came in very quickly and other times it took minutes or even hours in my experience (remember I wasn't using my own company Blackberry server, whatever it's called).

With the iPhone push does not work using a normal POP account, which is what I use.  Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and the like are completely insecure and not very wise for business users, especially when Microsoft and Google actively crawl e-mails and communications from their users (a story and complaint for another day).

Anyway, since push doesn't work the only e-mail setting is "fetch every 15 minutes" and that's an eternity.  However, I read there's a .plist file or something that you can edit once you've jailbroken your iPhone and connect to it by SSH/SCP which is nice, you could even change the setting to 1 minute, 2 minutes etc.

My other problem is that unlike Blackberry, the menubar you see at the top with your "bars, carrier and time" doesn't have any visual notification of a new e-mail, nor can you have a popup SMS style e-mail notification either.  This is something Apple better fix because HTC's Android/Dream and especially the upcoming HTC are hot on its heals in more than one way.

Basically the "stock" iPhone is crippled when it comes to e-mail use and Blackberry has a significant advantage over business users or anyone who wants to use POP mail.  Be sure to jailbreak your phone as soon as possible to change the check time down to 1 or 2 minutes (some claim this reduces battery life but many claim it does not, in any case for routine e-mail users, 15 minutes is not an option).

E-mail Client Less Than Ideal/No Identities

Many people like to use a custom setup, perhaps one IMAP box which they use in conjuction with Dovecot and Procmail to dump mail from all their accounts into a single one (usually separated by individual folders for each account).

Where iPhone breaks this is with the lack of "identities" based on the receiving e-mail address, this is a fundamental feature of most modern clients including Thunderbird and IMAP web clients such as Horde.

I haven't looked but, hopefully/maybe there's an "App for that" which can solve this problem, or something that customizes that.

Safari Cannot Remember Passwords

HTC Dream/Android users are laughing, because Safari has no password manager although I've seen some apps in the "App Store" that seem to claim they are plugins for Safari with this feature.

Closed Source Browsing

It seems you cannot even download a zip file through Safari, supposedly Apple's excuse is "security".  This is yet another reason to jailbreak if there's any app or setting to make the iPhone wide open.

Lack of multi-tasking for "widgets"

I detest the name widgets because a widget is what you get in Gnome or KDE, in the Apple world "widget" means "no multi-masking 3rd party software".   In even more plain English, you can only open one "widget" or program at once, and you must close it to get back to your e-mail or open another "widget".  This is not very desirable and something HTC's Hero with a GNOME/KDE esque design might really hurt Apple with.

Battery Life Substandard

This phone can barely make it through a single day of basic web browsing whether you're on WiFi or 3G.  Many users report the same thing and have the same complaint.

I guess this is the price we pay for better graphics and increased performance.

WiFi Issues

Many users, including ones who upgraded report they can't maintain a WiFi connection properly yet they were able to with the previous unit.

iConclusion

That's it for now, I'm sure I'll add to the list.  iPhone is a great phone, but there are some key/core features that Apple seems to have messed up very badly and I don't know if they're going to listen or care, but they should.  It seems advanced/power users are the main adopters and the complaints I've highlighted here are some pointed out by many others which I also have noticed and agree with.  They will likely hold a strong market share because of the Mac OS based phone with so many apps, since what good is a phone with no apps?  But they should be warned, HTC Hero and other upcoming models which are going to be Linux based could be a big challenger, and if one company invests enough or there is common SDK for Linux based mobile apps, this will push Apple into a corner, so they need to be aware of this with how they treat their customers and how they've setup the iPhone from everything to features, hardware and functionality.

I do not condone illegal activities, but it's tough to swallow the insane terms Apple sets out which says you cannot modif your iPhone.  Why not?  We all bought it for a high price, or paid just as much through a 2 or 3 year contract.  This is our hardware, why does Apple have a say in how we can use it?  Apple has crippled the iPhone with a lack of "openess" and ability to do routine things as us power users prefer.  The only alternative is to jailbreak, which basically makes it like a normal portable Mac, which is how the iPhone should have been done from the start.

They should also be careful not to try and prevent jailbreaks in the future, if not for the possibilties with jailbreaking, emulation, SSH server and other excellent features I would never have considered or bought the iPhone and this is something Apple should consider and understand.  If they're going to make a great phone and cripple its abilities down, people are going to find a way to gain access to the main OS and set things as we'd prefer since the iPhone doesn't allow many features out of the box, not even a terminal window etc..


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