As you’re all aware by now, some of the staff at WWD have gone the iPhone 3G route – and are still happy about it. But we don’t have any sort of official “iPhone only” policy, and we’re a diverse bunch. Speaking for myself, I’ve taken a long, hard look at iPhone ownership, and decided against it. Here’s why.
1. 3G Coverage – I’m in that big middle part of the country where, apparently, all the technologically backwards people live. None of the major carriers have anything like comprehensive 3G coverage out here. With the iPhone, that means I’d be paying 3G prices for a device that didn’t get 3G speeds – not much of a bargain.
2. Missing Flash – I’m not a huge fan of Flash user interfaces; I use Firefox add-ons to disable most of them in my browser. But there are a few spots on the web where Flash is an essential part of the site functionality, including Grand Central, which I use to manage all of my phone numbers. As long as there’s no Flash on the iPhone, that’s a deal-breaker for me.
3. Apple Control and Censorship – It’s bad enough that Apple is managing the App Store as a tightly gated software portal with apparently arbitrary rules and poor developer communication. It’s bad enough that they have a “kill switch” that lets them remove any software from your iPhone at any time. But now they’re getting into content censorship as well. The notion of having a computer where Apple dictates, now and forever, what software I can install rubs me intensely the wrong way.
4. Gadget Regret – As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got some history with gadget regret. I’ve learned over the years to step outside the reality distortion field and ask whether I really need a new toy. With the iPhone, the answer is currently “no” – the amount of money it would cost, balanced against the amount of difference it would make for my ability to enjoy life or bill more, makes it a bad deal for me.
5. The SDK NDA – Apple appears to be bending over backwards to make it tough for developers to build useful iPhone applications. Besides their control issues on software delivery, they’re also still keeping the iPhone SDK under a restrictive NDA. This goes beyond closed source to closed knowledge, and strikes me as a bad idea and one that I do not care to support.
So, no iPhone for me. For a phone, I’m still happy with my old, beat-up, not-very-smart Nokia. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you’re thinking of plopping down the money for an iPhone I’d urge you to think carefully about whether it’s really a device that will make your life better.