iPhone iPhud

The Macalope’s not sure why he’s bothering with this, but Robert Scoble links favorably to a list of supposed items that are wrong with the iPhone and then adds his own items.

If the Macalope may respond…

  1. “How do you operate your phone under a table at a meeting”? This is exactly why Apple’s design is better than Microsoft’s. The five jackasses who need to do that — instead of paying attention to the meeting — can keep stroking their Blackberrys under the table.
  2. A closed system is disappointing, but it does have the advantage of more tightly controlling the user experience (well, at least one could argue that) and may have been a cost of getting the Cingular deal done (not that anyone’s doing handsprings over that). So this point has some merit.
  3. Cingular-only in the U.S. is a drawback but, hey, you wan’ an iPhone or not? Eh? Apple ain’t got all day, buddy. Got decisions to make. Time’s a-wastin’.
  4. Ah, it’s vaporware. Yes, it’s nice that no other company in the industry announces products before they’re ready to ship. Cough. Like one Scoble used to work for. Cough. Quite frankly, for some of the stuff he’s written in the past, Scoble should be barred from ever using the term or linking favorably to a piece that accuses anyone other than Microsoft of announcing vaporware.
  5. Both Kedrosky and Scoble list the iPhone’s price as $599. Cute. It starts at $499, bitches, and please point to another device with the same feature set that costs less at either price point.
  6. Apple lists the battery life while playing video at 5 hours, not the 2 Scoble claims. Several commenters called him out on this and he said he’s “going off of what people are telling me here at CES” (not that they might have an axe to grind) but will correct it if someone provides a link because he can’t be bothered to go to apple.com/iphone. To be sure, it won’t really get 5 hours, but 2? Ooh, those grapes they’re serving at CES are sour.
  7. Apple went with the largest carrier in the U.S. (Cingular) and the most ubiquitous technology (GSM). It’s not an everything-to-everyone device that uses every niche technology including your personal favorite. You were expecting something else from Apple? It also doesn’t have a floppy drive, PS/2 adapter or DVD/RAM. Sorry!
  8. As David Pogue points out, the camera also benefits from the ability to frame your picture in a large screen. That’s at least a draw without even getting into what you can actually do with your picture after that.
  9. Scoble complains that at “$600″ it should have GPS. Please point to the device that has all the features the iPhone has and GPS. What about an FM tuner? A compass? Little tweezers and a toothpick? Speaking personally, the Macalope won’t buy a “$600″ device unless it has a corkscrew.

Finally, Scoble doesn’t mention the thing that kicks every other phone and the Zune’s butt up and down the street: the interface. All anti-iPhone arguments that do not mention the interface should be considered trolling.

UPDATE: In comments, Scoble says he still intends to buy an Apple iPhone, so you can temper your reading of the above with that. He also says that if Microsoft had shipped this phone we’d be deriding it as the worst phone ever shipped. Again, the sourness of those grapes, but the Macalope would posit that Microsoft is inherently incapable of shipping this product at this time. If they were, it would have (or should have) been the Zune.

Comments
  • Ken:

    The closed system bites. I can understand the closed iPod system; I mean, that only has a few control options, etc etc, but this seems to be a full fledged computer. Perhaps things will change by WWDC. In 2008. Or something.

  • Pat:

    Cingular “at launch.” Please…be patient. Access to other networks is sure to come. The Razor and Rockr were Cingular only “at launch” as well.

  • Well, the long-winded and extremely boring man from Cingular was quite clear. This is a multi-year exclusive contract. Not forever, but for quite some time.

  • Drasty:

    I’d buy it if I had the cash and wanted to switch to Cingular. So I’ll wait until it comes to other providers and costs less.

    Re: Scoble’s complaint about the camera’s low megapixel count and lack of flash—if you want to take “great” pictures, why are you using a cell phone? I doubt that many people actually need to make poster-size prints; this should be fine for 4×6 prints. And a flash tends to wash things out, anyway.

  • The device is an astounding achievement, but I do believe the lack of GPS is a mistake. How is one to find the closest coffee shop if you aren’t sure exactly where you are in the first place?

  • Bob Jones:

    Scoble would be bloggasming about the iPhone if it somehow managed to escape from a Microsoft research lab.

    Considering the pains he has gone to gloss over problems in Microsoft products (reset everyday!) I don’t find him bitching about flaws (both real and imaginary) in an Apple product to be surprising.

  • Hans:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that location awareness via AGPS will happen either before launch or for the holiday season as a means to get some more press attention. Jobs has to want it given his excitement over maps, Cingular/AT&T probably wants to provide it via some weird standard as another way to lock in to their network, and I’m sure Google’s brought it up more than once.

  • I don’t think Cingular and Apple will get along for very long. The monotone man also announced that Cingular is now AT&T, too. AT&T has a long history of getting their own way. I’ll put a few bucks on the table and say the exclusive partnership will only last as long as the Stevemeister decides it will. That will be based on how hard AT&T makes it for Apple to do things the Apple way.

    I picture His Steveness saying: “Hey, you want a piece of the action from the coolest toy in the world? Well it’s mine, frigtard. If you don’t want to play nice with it, maybe Sprint will.”

    As for the lack of GPS, dang. I’m also kinda ticked that it won’t play vinyl records, doesn’t have a built-in stapler or three-hole punch. No infrared meat thermometer. What’s up with that? It doesn’t come with a set of adaptors for my Amiga, the list goes on and on. Where is the RS-232 cable supposed to plug in? Man. And why isn’t the camera an SLR? Just one lens? How prosaic.

  • Neven:

    “The device is an astounding achievement, but I do believe the lack of GPS is a mistake. How is one to find the closest coffee shop if you aren’t sure exactly where you are in the first place?”

    By looking at a street sign. How does one NOT know where one is if one is presumably near a Starbucks? Do they have those in the High Sierra camps of Yosemite?

  • PZ:

    Yeah, and he forgot to mention that you don’t get a Zune access pass with it, either. Stupid iPhone.

    As to the cost–apart from the very good argument that there’s no other comparable device at ANY pricepoint–I just love this quote from the Penny Arcade forums[1] (posted before the prices were announced):

    >> This thing is going to cost three arms, fourteen legs, and a testicle.

    > Sold.

    [1] http://www.penny-arcade.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1073844269&start=361

  • Bob Jones:

    It has bluetooth, buy a bluetooth GPS if you want to have on-demand access to nearby starbucks without having to look for a sign.

  • *Total Here-say and Conjecture*
    To the missing GPS…ummm…doesn’t it? I thought I heard something about it automatically knowing where you are when you use Google maps. Plus I’m fairly certain that law was passed awhile back that ALL cell phones have to have some kind of location service (so something GPS-like) so that 911 could know where you are calling from. Privacy guys were all over it.

    As to the points, the only thing that makes point 5 at all true is your last unnumbered point. A treo costs $250 with a two year plan (anyone comparing the price of an unlocked, plan-less treo to the price of the iphone should also be considered trolling or at least wildly ignorant) and can do all the the bullet points listed for the iPhone. Add a 4GB SD card and you’re at $100 less for a device with equal amounts of storage and that can indeed do all the things they showed the iPhone doing.

    But as you said, this doesn’t take into account the amazing interface of the iPhone. A treo, while capable, often feels clunky and clumsy to use. On the other hand it has a tactile keyboard and is open to third party software. The tactile keyboard is a big deal. I’ll give apple the benefit of the doubt until I can use it, but touch screen interfaces have, historically, sucked. A lot.

  • All the complaints sound suspiciously similar to the complaining I heard when the iPod was announced. The name was horrible, it didn’t have enough features, and it was too darn expensive. After all, who wants to spend that much on something that only plays music?

    Go back a few years before that to all the complaints and criticisms when the iMac was introduced. Why it didn’t have a floppy drive! Horrors!

    Heh. I’ll be saving all this stuff to trot out in five years when the next great Apple “leapfrog” product is introduced to the naysayers.

    This is going to be huge.

  • Drasty:

    Bob Harris has some more legitimate complaints about the iPhone (or whatever Apple might call it if Cisco follows through with and wins the lawsuit).

  • My $00.2 is that the closed system is a big bad thing. Controlling the user experince is a misnomer here because thats like saying OS X should be closed to control the user experince, it just doesnt fly. There is not a device in this market that cannot have software installed and Apple is missing the boat of all the amazing os x type applications that would be developed for this thing.

    I hope we at least get dashboard widget type applications, something, anything.

  • Keep in mind, I’m still going to buy an iPhone.

    But, it is interesting the discussions that have been going on.

    >>Bob Jones.

    Yeah, you missed that I’ve also praised the Apple device (and will buy one with my own money, which is the best kind of praise I can give a device).

    On the other hand, if Microsoft had shipped this you’d be deriding it as the worst cell phone ever shipped. So, I guess, we’re even.

  • The Macalope didn’t miss your praise (“I’m not exactly missing it, Bob…”), he thought the post linked to above was a retraction. He’s updated this post with your feedback and some comments.

  • Dhrakar:

    Groveberg is, I believe, correct in that the iPhone will have a GPS. Legally, all phones have to have it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Location-based_service for E911. Just because Apple did not mention a feature, does not mean that the feature does not exist. My bet is that in June, once the phone is through any shennanigans that the FCC throws for the certification, that Apple will release some sort of SDK for it. Hmmm…. I wonder what else happens in June? For that matter I seem to remember somebody talking about Top Secret new features in Leopard. Coincidence? I think not :-)

  • Dude,

    It’s Scoble. He’s never given a diseased rat’s rectum for accuracy or correctness. He’s all about being first. It’s not just Apple. When he worked at Microsoft, he regularly hung Microsoft employees out to dry without bothering to email them or call them first, then, invariably would issue some half-assed apology with some lie about “I’ve learned my lesson to check my facts before posting”.

    Scoble wouldn’t know a well-written, properly researched post if it bit him in the ass while hitting him in the head with a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. His only function is to be a mindless mouthpiece for the “blogosphere” and anyone who gives him the time of day while mouthing the correct buzzwords.

    I’m surprised he wasn’t more wrong, to be honest.

  • rahrens:

    I’m just going to throw in my two cents about GPS. Yes, cell phones, as mentioned above, are required to have it.

    If anybody bothered to watch the SteveNote, I believe he DID find the nearest Starbucks, after having mentioned that the iPhone knows where you are, and even demonstrated Google Maps zeroing in on the Moscone Center, after which he found that poor Starbucks that got his order for 4000 latte’s. Woulda been a bit hard without GPS, doncha think?

    AND since it’s got Google Maps actually USING GPS, it would seem they’ve unblocked it for use for other than 911 use, too, huh?

  • I thought I heard something about it automatically knowing where you are when you use Google maps.

    Yeah, ditto.

    I believe phones can triangulate their position from mobile phone masts instead of GPS satellites. And sometimes it’s more accurate than GPS. I’m guessing iPhone uses that. I’d like to know if that feature relies on Cingular network enhancements, I hope not.

  • Scott:

    Cingular is a problem for me. It doesn’t matter how good or bad Cingular’s contracts or service (I have no experience with them) or how awesome the iPhone is. My entire county (and California counties are huge) is in what Cingular refers to as a “partnered area”. I can’t get a Cingular contract where I live and if get one another area and use it in my “partnered area” I’ll loose my contract.

    I guess I’ll have to wait a few years. :(

  • Mike:

    Re: GPS

    In the Starbucks demo, Jobs had Moscone West pre-entered as a favorite location. So that doesn’t really provide evidence that the phone is location aware. Still, if it exists in some form in the hardware, perhaps the software will let it free at some point (even if it’s only based on triangulation rather than GPS…but it seems like that would require Cingular to send info back to the phone…).

  • KG:

    I like Scoble, but wow! That was funny, not to mention spot on. Macalope does it again. Nice work.

  • Those who said that cellphones have to have GPS — that’s right, sort of. They have to be able to provide their location for E911 services. My understanding from researching this a few months ago was that Verizon and Sprint opted for super-cheap GPS chips that work ok; Verizon is now selling a service based on GPS location. Cingular opted for building cell-tower triangulation, which works relatively well in the most populated areas; I’m not sure if it meets E911 terms in remote places, however.

    In any case, the iPhone will absolutely have to have a location-aware component and tech, because it has to be able to send that information to an E911 operator automatically. Whether Apple and Cingul—AT&T, sorry…will rely on it is a different question.

  • Ok. There is a slew of job positions being posted on apple’s site for iphone engineers. There is still six months to ship date. Apple is listening in on all the comments. There will probably be a number of other models coming soon. They are going to go for europe and asia markets. that area will be 3G and maybe CDMA. jeez they have to start somewhere! This thing is way more revolutionary that just a a cell phone…it’s a new way of looking at communication in a very portable platform with a unique multi-touch interface and has OS X. give them some credit folks!

    Like Domenico Bettinelli said: This is going to be HUGE. We are forging into new territory. When i bought an ipod in 2001 lots of folks didn’t see what a cool and great device it was. it was am music player and a hard drive and it had other cool things. Then iTunes came in and changed everything…. i wonder what else Apple has planned for the iPhone landscape ;-)

  • Neo:

    Since 9/11 all US cell phones are mandated to have GPS support for 9-1-1 call locating.

    Only recently has any cell phone used GPS for anything other than emergency locator functions, e.g. finding nearby diners or movie houses or your “homies” according to the BOOST mobile ads.

    Where you at, dawg?!

  • Bill Woody:

    On the other hand, if Microsoft had shipped this you’d be deriding it as the worst cell phone ever shipped. So, I guess, we’re even.

    Oh, puhhhlease…

    We deride Microsoft for shipping crappy user interfaces because Microsoft has a history of… (drum roll, please…) shipping crappy user interfaces. If Microsoft were to suddenly start shipping quality products with consistent user interfaces that were well thought out and easy to use, most of us who deride Microsoft would suddenly have a heart attack.

    Then start buying Microsoft product.

  • Emily:

    Oh, you know what the Treo can’t do? RUN TWO PROGRAMS AT ONCE.

    I fucking love my Treo and that makes me crazy on a pretty regular basis. Accidentally hit the phone button, oh, all my search results are gone. Gah.

  • Chris:

    Perhaps the location-awareness isn’t GPS which we all know and love, but something much simpler.

    Over here in the UK, GSM mobiles can query the cell transmitter for the area’s postcode. For example, my decade-and-a-bit old Nokia displays the four characters of the current area’s postal code below the network operator name. This seems to be a standard GSM feature.

    At least here, the first 4 characters of the postcode are certainly enough for a service such as Google Maps to get a decent idea of the locality.

  • hodger:

    Apple really blew it with the Cingular deal. It is normal in international markets for contractually subsidized phones to still be unlocked so long as the contract guarantees the carrier their money. Sure, make me use Cingular. I already do. But I use unlocked phones and have several other SIMS I need to use throughout my business year and travels. Apple could have swung this but probably had to get in bed with the evil carrier to get the product to market. Sad. I want one but Apple slammed the door in my face. Perhaps some of Apple’s subsequent phone products can once again favor the user instead of the shareholders.

  • James:

    Thank god someone isn’t afraid of singing praises to that fat fucktard named Scoble. I bet the big bloated M still pays him to talk shit. I wish he’d just stop blogging, eat too many beefy burgers so he can clog his arteries, and then get sued for knowingly stating false information to mislead the public.

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