Five Things That Suck About the iPhone

I Was There

Let’s get one thing straight from the start of this blog post. I *love* my iPhone. It’s the best cell phone I’ve ever had. I use it every day. It’s one of the best pieces of personal technology that I’ve ever owned. I bought one on the first day that they were available (I was 8th in line at the Palo Alto store and spent the night there) and I bought another one for my wife for Christmas. She loves it too.

That said, great products can always be improved. And while I’m sure I’ll get plenty of Apple fanboy hate mail over this post, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with pointing out the flaws even of the great products.

With that, on with the list.

1. The single worst thing about the iPhone is AT&T;’s edge network. Edge sucks big time. Why is it that I can’t get an internet connection while standing on the corner of Post and Mason Street in the middle of San Francisco, one of the largest cities in the United States? Why is it that it takes eons for pages to load from the West Oakland BART station to the entrance of the tunnel to San Francisco? Edge is slow and unreliable. My EVDO with Verizon for my laptop works far, far, better than AT&T;’s edge network. Yes, the iPhone can use wifi, but there is not always an open wifi signal available when you are out and about. My iPhone works great over wifi at my house — but guess what? Most of the time I want to use my iPhone as a computing device *I’m not at my house*! If I were at my house I’d be using my laptop on a DSL connection.

When I first got my iPhone I thought the YouTube videos were kind of cool. But you know what? I never watch YouTube videos on my iPhone because edge sucks too much to play them.

2. There is no spam filtering on the iPhone. Yes, I know, I could use gmail and have my mail filtered, but I don’t want Google to own my mail and I don’t want to be thomashawk13123239@gmail.com. thomashawk@gmail.com and thomas.hawk@gmail.com were taken a long, long, time ago. I want to use my main email address @thomashawk.com, but that email address is chock full o’ spam at this point. With my MacBook I can at least filter 90% of it out (the 10% that my Mac Mail lets in still is extremely annoying). But with 90% of it filtered out I can at least hunt and peck through my email.

With the iPhone my email is unusable. It loads 25 messages at a time and frequently all 25 of those messages are spam. Apple should come up with some very basic spam filter similar to Mac Mail to deal with at least a chunk of this spam. Otherwise the email functionality on the iPhone is useless to me.

3. There is no cut/paste functionality on the iPhone. Cutting and pasting is very, very, basic to email, web browsing, text messaging, etc. The fact that there is no cut/paste command that can be used on the iPhone makes it a much more difficult device to use. Maybe there is a cut/paste tool on the iPhone, but if there is it’s not very intuitive and I’ve never figured out how to use it.

4. There is no video camera on the iPhone. How is it that my crappy old Audiovox SMT56000 had video and still photos and the iPhone can’t do video? The lens is the lens right? Why can’t that lens also do video? Not that I’d want to do a lot of video on the iPhone, but I do think it would be cool if my wife could send me a brief video snippet of my daughter after she lost her first tooth at preschool instead of simply the photo that she sent.

5. Certain websites work *horribly* on the iPhone. When I first got my iPhone I was super excited about being able to access my Google Maps on it. One thing I like to do is make custom maps on Google Maps of locations that I want to photograph. I’ll make little pin points on the map of neon sites and locations, historic locations, etc. I was really excited about using Google Maps on my iPhone for traveling. By pinpointing certain locations that I wanted to shoot I could easily always whip out my iPhone and pull up Google Maps to see what is near me that I need to shoot.

The problem? Google Maps sucks the big one on the iPhone. I don’t know if this is Google’s problem or Apple’s problem, but Google Maps is virtually unusable on the iPhone. Instead of being able to use my iPhone I have to print out my maps and carry around paper copies.

I’ve had problems with other websites as well from time to time as well.

Now I know that the iPhone will improve in time and I’m 98% certain that my next phone after my current iPhone will likely be another iPhone. But I do hope that Apple continues to make the product better and better and addresses some of these problems with future releases.

What about you? Are there things that you’d like to see your iPhone do that it doesn’t do today?

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17 Comments

  1. Mike D. says:

    Regarding Google Maps, why not just use the built in Google Maps feature? I don’t think you can set up multiple custom maps but you should be able to book mark locations. And I’ll bet that some developer will build some cool enhanced mapping functions using the SDK.

  2. Larry says:

    No Flash support is also a big deal, one I still can’t understand.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Regarding Google Maps, why not just use the built in Google Maps feature? I don’t think you can set up multiple custom maps but you should be able to book mark locations.

    Mike, because then I’d have to set up all my custom maps on the iPhone which would be a total pain. Typically I’m marking dozens if not hundreds of locations that I want to photograph in a city. Doing all that on the iPhone would be a pain in the ass.

    I’d much rather make custom maps on Google Maps with my laptop but then be able to access these custom maps when I’m out and about.

    Also a lot of my ideas for places to shoot come from geotagged photographs on the internet. With my laptop I can simply cut and paste geo coordinates from other photos on the internet into Google Maps. Since I can’t cut/paste with my iPhone it would be a pain to have to manually enter ever geo coordinate into my iPhone character by character.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Regarding #2, Google does allow you to use your own domain for Gmail through Google Apps, though they’d still “own” your mail

  5. Nice list, I’ll add a few.

    1. BT doesn’t support file transfers, syncing, or stereo headsets.

    2. No games! Seriously, when is the last time you had a phone without at least one game?

    3. No way to easily delete a lot of txt messages or emails.

    4.Can’t sync notes! Seriously, are you kidding?

    5. No single mailbox view. So if you have two mailboxes, you have to really click around to check the other box.

    Ohh, btw, gmail will host your thomashawk.com domain if you don’t want an @gmail.

    Larry,
    I’m happy it doesn’t support flash, I hate flash.

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    Ohh, btw, gmail will host your thomashawk.com domain if you don’t want an @gmail.

    hmmmm.. good to know Ben. I’ll have to look into that.

  7. keith says:

    No picture messaging? Which, last time I checked, even the nastiest giveaway handsets have been supporting for the better part of a decade.

    Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  8. Patrick says:

    Bite the bullet and let Google handle mail for your domain. It’s the single greatest move I’ve made with my email, and with the new IMAP features of gmail, it really kicks ass. Spam control, IMAP synchronization across all my computers and iPhone, and a permanent backup of my mail on a reliable Google server – it’s a win all around. There are some aspects of “email privacy” people just need to get over. The bottom line is that even if someone at Google could access your email and read letters from your relatives, order confirmations and flight confirmations, they wouldn’t want to. Our lives aren’t as exciting to other people as we think they are.

  9. Bushi says:

    All true but the biggest BS and number one issue is one that should not exist IMO.

    Crappy blue tooth stack. My god it talks to nothing accept some headsets. There is zero reason for this this the iphone could be, and should be a lean mean blue tooth hub supporting everything under the sun, but especially GPS (come the on are you kidding no GPS on board and no BT support?).
    Be nice if it had IR for older printers but if it at least supported printers that would be a big step forward. Hello, why do I need my laptop to print out a PDF? Gimma a break, that shit is just lame.

  10. Erik Persson says:

    4thing the use of Google Apps for your domain. I’ve been using it since March of 06 and its only getting more awesome.
    I get something like 40+ spam messages a day and have yet to get a false positive. It makes email useful.
    Plus IMAP support.

  11. barrettmanor says:

    If it’s any consolation, most smartphones have crappy browsers as well. One reason I have a smartphone is that I can add extra apps like Opera, which is the best mobile browser out there, IMO. Yes, it uses Windows Mobile.

    I’m with ya on the picturemail. Sprint has blocked that on smartphones. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    On the other hand, I just put the new ROM update on my phone and now have EVDO Rev. A. ZOMG! It’s fast!

    I’m with the others on going to Gmail. If your hosting service doesn’t do a decent job with spam filtering, then do consider moving to Gmail.

    But I’m not here to be a fangurl for my phone. None of ’em are perfect.

  12. Martin says:

    At least, you could just redirect your thomashawk.com mail to your gmail account…

    if you do not want to change the gmail account you already have..

  13. Jeremy says:

    I raced over here from my RSS reader to mention the Apps for your Domain, but “Anonymous” beat me too it. I moved my MX record for my domain over to have my mail through Gmail and have never looked back. I love it, and the spam filtering is phenomenal.

  14. Gmail spam filter is great.
    Re: pageload speeds: don’t hold your breath for 3g – I don’t have an iPhone but the SE K800i I use has 3g: icon on when 3g available / icon off when not: end result – no discernible difference whatsoever.

  15. William Beem says:

    The lack of spam filtering or bulk e-mail delete really annoys me. My e-mail comes from a shared host that does a great job of marking [SPAM] as a prefix header for stuff it recognizes as junk. So why can’t I build a rule to disregard everything with that prefix, or at least route it to another folder? That would be a welcome change.

    Edge is a major depressant, but short battery life would also suck. Right now, I’m rather pleased with my battery life. One of the excuses I heard about not implementing 3G (besides the fact it wasn’t prevalent around the country) was its drain on battery life.

    Speaking of battery drains, I’d really like to have GPS on my iPhone. Integrate it with Google Maps. Let me use it to capture location data for my photography.

    The lack of Flash doesn’t bother me and I understand the technical limitations. Flash simply sucks up too many resources and this is still a portable device, not a desktop.

  16. MalphasWats says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Someone above mentioned that you can use google’s “apps for your domain” to ‘host’ gmail on your own server, I just thought I’d mention that it doesn’t even need to be that complicated (I don’t think AFYD is free).

    I have a whole bunch of domains with various email addresses for different things and I just use the e-mail forwarding options my domain registrar gives me to point those addresses at my gmail account.

    Once it’s in there I can set up rules and stuff to automatically put labels on.

    Another alternative is to configure g-mail itself to check your email accounts in the pop/imap settings.

    I know neither of these options get around the issue of google ‘owning’ your email, but at least they don’t own your email address, you can take it anywhere you want later down the line.

  17. seriously, 5 things are not enough that can be said are bad about the iphone. In fact the list is endless.