iPhone's Top 5 Best and Worst Features

Leslie Ayers's picture

iPhone's Top 5 Best and Worst Features

 

Yeah, it's presumptuous to create this list before I've had a chance to review the iPhone myself. But the lucky few cherry-picked by Apple to review the iPhone before it's available to the Apple-loving public on Friday have provided an extensive look at how the phone works - and its various limitations. There probably more than five cool things about the phone - and certainly more than five things that suck about it. But here are my lists of the top 5 best and worst. You know, just to help you decide if it's worth it to spend hours on Friday sweltering in line under the hot June sun in hopes of getting your hands on an iPhone on the very first day.

 

Top 5 Best Things about the iPhone

 

1. Sleek, Slim Design

Apple has packed a lot of phone into a relatively compact, beautifully designed case (4.8 ounces). The software is elegant too: Its only button always brings you back to the home screen, so you can never get lost or be forced to backtrack using a Back button through several layers of menus.

 

Text on Web pages viewed on the iPhone looks tiny at first glance, but you can pinch and zoom in to make it legible.

 

2. The Wonder of the Web

Despite being somewhat crippled by AT&T’s slow EDGE network (see top 5 worst features, below), the Internet display capabilities of the iPhone beat out those of most other mobile phones. Websites reportedly look really good, even though they’re shrunk down considerably. Of course, Flash and Java do not work on the iPhone version of the Safari browser, so you don’t have a totally seamless Web experience. But Google Maps on the iPhone is also quite cool, and can come in handy when you’re in an unfamiliar city.

 

3. You Look Mahvelous

The 3.5-inch display is bright, crisp, and easy-to-see. Reviewers have reported that video, though tiny, looks amazing. (Please forgive the embarrassingly dated Billy Crystal reference.)

 

4. Check Your Voicemail

The ability to listen to voice messages in any order (dubbed Visual Voicemail), regardless when they came in, is going to save a lot of people a lot of time. (And make it that much easier to ignore messages from people you’re trying to avoid!)

 

5. Scratch-Resistant Glass

Sure, the glass face of the iPhone gets smudgey. But it’s easy to wipe off. Scratches, on the other hand, as every iPod owner knows full well, are much harder (or even impossible) to remove, and the folks who have reviewed the phone so far all report that their phone didn’t scratch, even when regularly thrown into pockets and purses with keys and other items.

 

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Top 5 Worst Things about the iPhone

 

1. Life on the EDGE

Being limited to AT&T for wireless voice and data service is a bummer for those who experience spotty service from AT&T. What’s more, AT&T’s creaky old EDGE network (which you must use if outside an accessible Wi-Fi hotspot) makes Web browsing excruciatingly S-L-O-W.

 

2. Please Hold While We Connect You

There’s no one-step way to make a phone call because the iPhone doesn’t have one-touch dialing or voice dialing. Call us throwbacks, but at lease one or both of these features seem essential to any modern mobile handset.

 

3. No On-the-Fly iTunes

You can’t make purchases directly from the iTunes Store. Waaaaa. (On the flip side: Think of the money you’ll save.)

 

Damn that skateboard-riding bulldog is cute! Too bad there are a limited number of YouTube videos formatted for viewing on the iPhone. We didn't list that as one of the top 5 worst features, though, because really, who really cares?

 

4. Limitations on Third-Party Developers

Earlier this month, Apple made a big deal out of the fact that third-party developers can create apps for the iPhone by developing Web browser-compatible apps, and that all iPhone apps can access iPhone features, like dialing a phone number or accessing the address book. But it’s no great shakes for developers, who’d rather see a full-blown software development kit (SDK) and the ability to actually add application icons to the iPhone’s home screen.

 

5. Soft Keyboard Leads to Fuzzy Typing

Those who have so far reviewed the iPhone all reported having a varying degree of difficulty using the onscreen keyboard. It’s very tiny, so if you have large or even normal-sized hands, it can be tricky to press the right letters consistently. And punctuation marks are on a separate screen from letters and numbers, which is fine for text messages but isn't going to cut it for composing business-related email.

 

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What do YOU think are the best and worst features? Do you plan to buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Also, be sure to check MacLife.com on Friday around 7 pm Pacific Time for photos and video of our adventures procuring an iPhone!

 

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mimi

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steveking

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Jeffrey

Instead of making an ASS of yourself why don't you actually wait to review this product after you've been able to play with one instead of making pie in the sky assumptions..... You're coming across like Steve Ballmer or Verizon.... BTW.... to the guy who thinks you can't use this phone outside of USA.... it's a GSM phone.... and I've been with cingular forever now... if I want to use my current GSM phone in another country all I have to do is call in to activate this feature... for however long I am out... and of course pay through the nose while there.

I'm sorry I am being so harsh Leslie... I just think you're being a total ignoramous with this article.

Jeffrey

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Nacho

Thanks for the list Leslie. Like you, I think we have enough data to render a judgment. Keep in mind that I want Apple to succeed in this endeavor, in fact, I believe they will, and have already added much of value to the industry. However, from a regular guy standpoint, who uses a cell-phone daily, here's a few concerns:



1. I don't care about surfing the web right now. I don't think my cell phone is the platform for that. I do think things are going to change and the iPhone will not let us go back, so that the iPhone is a product platform that presages what the bar of cell phone tech will be.

2. I don't need to connect to Corporate servers here or there.

3. I do need the ability to do voice memos. This is a main way to remind myself of something, and since text input is not easy (if possible) to create a message and attach it to an email to anybody.

4. I want to be able to use the iPhone wherever in the world I travel. Flexibility here would have been good.

5. I want to be able to take a picture of and send it to myself or others (same as with voice memos, this is a way to annotate)

6. I'd like to use the iPhone to listen to music and/or watch video while on the airplane.

7. I'd like the iPhone to have a robust planner or calendar that syncs easily with multiple machines (home and office) - keeping them in sync.

8. As with the above, I want a great task mgr. connected to the calendar somehow. This is essential to review upcoming tasks, deadlines, or just for reminders.

9. It would be breat if its Bluetooth would connect to my Macs and sync. It might already do this?

10. A rotating keyboard outside of the browser. Make it easier to type in messages.


These simple things are what I would make most use of as an average user that would like a single device for calling, brief entertainment when I travel, staying up to date with tasks and dates/planning, need connectivity to friends, family, associates. Internet, videos, etc. are fine, but I'd like them more robust if we are going to have them at all. The iPhone right now smacks of so much "planned crippling" I'm not sure it is a good deal. I understand Apple needs to give itself a hefty upgrade path, but they could have served up something far more revolutionary and capturing. Instead it seems that they followed the iPod model: release a very basic unit very highly priced, upgrade and lower price bit by bit. I think the iPhone needed to surpass that model. Great features from the get go, appealing to everybody, moderate price, easily discernible upgrade path.


Thanks!

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Anonymous

1. I don't care about surfing the web right now. I don't think my cell phone is the platform for that. I do think things are going to change and the iPhone will not let us go back, so that the iPhone is a product platform that presages what the bar of cell phone tech will be.
ANS: YOU MIGHT AS I HAVE FOUND THAT I COULD CHECK MY INFO FROM A WEB SITE; VERY HANDY--WHEN CALLING ON SALES PEOPLE
2. I don't need to connect to Corporate servers here or there.
ANS: DON'T TELL YOUR SUPERV. THAT WHEN THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW THE SALES PITCHES FOR COMPETITORS BEFORE YOU WALK IN COLD TO YOUR POTENTIAL SALES PERSON
3. I do need the ability to do voice memos. This is a main way to remind myself of something, and since text input is not easy (if possible) to create a message and attach it to an email to anybody.
ANS: WOULD BE NICE BUT CAN USE ICAL TO SET AN ALARM; I DID AND CAUGHT IT ON IPHONE WHEN ALARM WENT OFF...THE IPHONE IS A SUPPLEMENT TO YOUR COMPUTER; A COMPANION MAYBE? I WAS AMAZED I COULD SEE THE KEYBOARD AND MAKE NOTES; IT CORRECTS YOUR ERRORS,. TOO I COULD CALL UP THE NOTES... VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER THE RAZOR. VOICE WOULD BE NICE, I GUESS BUT THAT WOULD ADD A RECORDER TO IT
4. I want to be able to use the iPhone wherever in the world I travel. Flexibility here would have been good. ANSW: YES, BUT SUSPECT THAT WILL BE COMING--SOMEWHERE I THOUGHT I READ IN ITS MANUAL THAT IPHONE WOULD DO THAT AND YOU COULD CONTACT ATT FOR HELP WITH THAT?
5. I want to be able to take a picture of and send it to myself or others (same as with voice memos, this is a way to annotate) ANSW: ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT SELF PHOTO FEATURE WAS USELESS ON MY RAZOR...BUT IF YOU WANT A PIC OF YOURSELF, HAVE SOMEONE TAKE IT, SYNCH TO IPHOTO AND BACK TO IPHONE..THEN U HAVE IT...IT COST 50 CENTS/PIC TO SEND IT VIA EMAIL;..;.MAYBE IPHONE WILL HAVE THAT EVENTUALLY, BUT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE FOR ME. IT SHOULD ADD AN ATTACHMENT PROVISION TO E-MAIL...WOULD BE HELPFUL
6. I'd like to use the iPhone to listen to music and/or watch video while on the airplane. ANSW: NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND; IT HAS AN AIRPLANE SETTING FOR THIS/INTERNET ALREADY? HAVEN'T USED THAT BUT THINK IT WILL DO VIDEO/MUSIC ALREADY ON AIRPLANE W/O PROBLEMS
7. I'd like the iPhone to have a robust planner or calendar that syncs easily with multiple machines (home and office) - keeping them in sync.
ANSW: YOU WANT WIRELESS? A 100 MILES AWAY? ICAL, WORKS ON MY MAC AS A PLANNER WITH NOTES FOR EACH ITEM...YOU CAN SYNCH IT AT HOME..MAYBE EVEN AWAY FROM HOME EVENTUALLY. NOT SURE CAN SYNCH FROM IPHONE...BUT ONCE YOU SYNCH IPHONE SEEMS TO ME CAN SYNCH ON MAC/WINDOWS MACHINES (THAT HAVE ITUNES)...TRY IT. BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE MACHINE THAT CAN BE USED AT A TIME FOR YOUR IPHONE...BUT, WHEN THAT IS DONE, IF YOU USE APPLE SYNCHING YOU CAN SYNCH THE HOME MACHINE TO OTHERS ON A NETWORK; NOT SURE ABOUT WINDOWS....JUST NOT FROM IPHONE. BUT THIS IS SAFE AND UNDER YOUR CONTROL AT HOME/OFFICE..A SECURITY FEATURE I DON'T KNOW OF ANY PHONE THAT CAN SYNCH FROM ITSELF CROSS PLATFORM? MAYBE I AM OUT OF DATE. THAT HAS TO BE IN THE FUTURE; OR SOMEONE WILL USE THE IPHONE SOFTWARE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN? IS THIS ASKING THE IPHONE TO DO SOMETHING THAT NO OTHER PHONE CAN DO? WELL, IT ALREADY HAS DONE A LOT OF THAT; NOT JUST THIS ITEM..;
8. As with the above, I want a great task mgr. connected to the calendar somehow. This is essential to review upcoming tasks, deadlines, or just for reminders. ASNW: WELL, GOSH THERE YOU GO AGAIN..USE ICAL, IT HAS MANY CRICKS AND CORNERS AND WHEN YOU SYNCH *(MY EXPERIENCE) THEY DO THEIR JOB ON THE IPHONE AND REMIND YOU EVEN WITH NOTES YOU ADD. THE ALARM ON ICAL WORKS ON THE IPHONE FOR REMINDERS.
9. It would be breat if its Bluetooth would connect to my Macs and sync. It might already do this? ANSW: NOT SURE BUT IT HAS BLUETOOTH
10. A rotating keyboard outside of the browser. Make it easier to type in messages. ANSW: YES, I BET THAT IS IN THE SOFTWARE WORKS. I AM ALREADY UP TO THREE UPGRADES IN SOFTWARE FOR THE IPHONE.

In general, your comments verge on the same thing you and others have mentioned about Leslie not having an iPhone. You may have been fooled by criticisms and not having an iPhone you believed tham. If you have an iPhone try some of the above.

Best,

Anon.

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doohikee

The UI, the way you interact with the phone is the big seller to me. It's gorgeous. Any device that makes listening to music, making calls, and browsing the web simple and elegant is doing something special right there, especially when you consider the other mobile devices on the market today.
And yes, sure it doesn't have 3G and there's no SDK, and you can't buy songs on it or expand the storage. Clearly, it's not perfect. But, is there or has there ever been a perfect mobile device?
To me it does exactly what it's supposed to. It gives people tired of the clunky, crippled devices out there today a much better option: a sleeker, easier to use, feature-rich device.
Apple never tries to tackle everything in one bound. But what they do tackle, it's safe to say that they do it remarkably well.
That's my take on the iPhone. I look forwards to checking it out in three dimensions.

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Anonymous

only one thing actually

having to wait through a toyota commercial to view TEXT!

hmmm, maybe this site isn't for me afterall....

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Shuturface

CLICK THE "SKIP THIS AD" BUTTON!

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Anonymous

Sorry....what does 'your an idiot' mean? Anybody?

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Anonymous

guess wut! it means ur 2 dumb 2 figure it out!! ohh burn!

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Otto Ruefrak

The features that I find myself having a hard time getting past is the lack of hard drive space. $600 gets me 8gb, of which 700mb is taken up by the included software. If I were to put a few movies on there, and a couple of albums, I'd be out of space already. How hard is it to include a microSD slot, or something along those lines? Any kind of additional storage space would be greatly appreciated.
The other thing that seems to bother me is that while it seems to do all of these great media features, according to the early reviews, the iPhone isn't that great at being a phone. Whether it's due to AT&T's network or rather it's Apple's lack of focus on the actual phone functions, you'd think that a product called the iPhone would be, above all else, a great phone. It's a great internet browser, a great iPod, but not so great at making phone calls.
Of course, I'm one of those people who likes his phone to be just a phone, a camera to be a camera, and an iPod to be an iPod. I like things that do one thing and do them really well. But that's just me.

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Leslie Ayers

The lack of storage space was something I was going to mention, but for me personally it's not an issue because I don't have a humongous media collection, and I'm actually looking forward to being forced to rotate music and video files on and off the phone to have a little variety.

 

I agree that the fact that it seems somewhat difficult to just dial a number is a bit off-putting! The slowness of the EDGE network is a pretty huge obstacle as well, and I'm still scratching my head as to why Apple didn't opt for AT&T's high-speed wireless data network. (I suspect it was because the data service would have been that much more expensive, but why no at least give customers an option with two different hardware models? Or maybe that's what they plan to roll out in short order toward the end of the year...)

 

~Leslie

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