Problems with the iPhone 3G

I’m still in the process of authoring a blog post on what it was like to move to an iPhone 3G after nearly 6 years of using Windows Mobile devices.  My most recent phone was a Motorola Q9H which was running Windows Mobile 6.0.

However, in the meantime, I’m getting super frustrated over the crazy bugs and problems I’ve been having with the iPhone so I wanted to spend a bit of time venting.  While Windows Mobile is not perfect by any means, the iPhone is definitely getting a lot of undue accolades in my opinion.  There are features and scnearios that work fantastically such as GPS integration into Google Maps, Yelp, etc, and not to mention the obviously superior web browsing experience.  However, the things that don’t work well, are absolutely horrible.

This writeup is in no way trying to compare Windows Mobile to the iPhone.  Instead, this is isolated feedback on the iPhone 3G.

In no particular order, here are my gripes:

  • The UI and Application performance is horrible. There is unacceptable lag in so many scenarios, but the most glaring one is with the Contacts application.  Even after updating to the new 2.0.1 firmware, it can take up to 4 seconds for the Contacts application to load.
  • Why does it have to “backup” my iPhone everytime I dock and sync with iTunes?  Even better, why isn’t this configurable?  This is made worse because these “backups” can take as long as an hour for me.
  • When the first generation iPhone launched last year, Steve Jobs stated:

“…iPhone’s battery life is longer than any other ‘Smartphone’ and even longer than most MP3 players… We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity. There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can’t wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers starting just 11 days from today.”

When the iPhone 3G launched this year, he said:

“If we compare this to WiFi, we’ll see 3G approaches WiFi speeds. We’re also really proud that we’re doing this with great battery life — standby time is 300 hours.  2G talk time is up from 8 hours to 10 hours. 3G talk time… other phones have 3 – 3.5 hours, we’ve managed 5 hours of 3G talk time, which is an industry-leading amount of time.”

I have no idea how the Apple Engineers have their phones configured, but there is not way I’m getting this type of battery life.  With 3G, push email, bluetooth and Wifi turned on, I can barely get through half the work day with a single charge.  I’ve had to resort to either 15 min email sync’ing on the “fetch” setting, bluetooth off and wifi selectively turned on.  I can now last a full day now, but as a contingency plan, I bought an iPhone 3G dock for my office.  Goodbye $40.

  • I get continued errors about applications not being able to install or update, and when that happens I get obscenely useless errors messages. Here’s the latest gem I get from iTunes:

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  • iTunes still has horrible performance after all these years.  It doesn’t like the fact my music was on a network share, so much so, that there would be a noticeable lag between keystrokes in the search box.  Did I mention I have a gigabit ethernet network at home?
  • I get random crashing from applications.  At first I thought this was the fault of the 3rd party application developers, but the biggest offender is Safari.  If Apple can’t even get it right, then how can 3rd party developers?  Something is amiss either in Apple’s hiring competency for developers or the iPhone OS is pure crap.  Either way, the end-user loses.
  • Apple gets continually praised for making things “easy to use”, but the iPhone is an counter-example, and a big one at that.  There are weird UI inconsistency exist all over the place, one example is between SMS and Email.  For SMS, why is there no way to delete a message when you’re viewing it like there is with email?  You can only “clear” the message thread, but this leaves an entry in the SMS inbox.  To delete it you have to do it from the inbox.

This is all I can think of off the top of my head.  Stay tuned for a later post on specifically commenting on an enterprise user like myself going from a Windows Mobile device to an iPhone.  That’s where it will get interesting.