iPhone, Palm, or Blackberry? - Or - Why We Love the iPhone but Don’t Actually Use One
A lot of talk lately about the new Palm Pre PDA/Handheld. Stuff Magazine claims it might be THE phone to kill the iPhone. Not that one cares or should care about such things… except that Apple dominates right now in so many areas and still manages to suck ass in a lot of the areas they dominate in. Case in point: our dead iPods that DO NOT come with replaceable batteries. (I have a 60 gig iPod that will not even turn on anymore that is only 2 years old…. sad little thing.) Once an ipod hits the 2 or 3 year mark they just stop working and won’t recharge. Buy a new battery you say? Yeah, great idea. Except that Apple doesn’t offer that. So you either throw it away or call Apple to see what you CAN do. They tell you that for $168 they will “fix it” or send you a “refurbished and reformatted” ipod. They DO NOT guarantee that they will send you YOUR ipod back. So that’s that. Your ipod is history.
ipod pricing has come down so much that you can now buy the same ipod that you paid $500 for two or three years ago for $200. That’s not a bad thing. But it does make their $168 fee to fix your dead battery or give you a refurbished replacement a negligible solution. Now you might as well buy a new one. And get used to it. Because you’ll be doing that every 2 or 3 years. Great idea guys. Now that’s innovation.
A buddy says to me the other day, “dude can I use your charger for my ipod again?” I’m like “what? you just used it last night…” He’s like “yeah I know but it only holds a charge for an hour or less now… do they have a new battery I can get for this?” “Nah man. You send it in for $168 for them to send you some used one…” “But I only paid $150 for this new,” he says. “yeah, welcome to the world of the ipod.”
And that’s just the grand finale rape scene that leaves you weeping when you exit the theatre. Forget about all the kicking biting scratching punching and beating you take before that trying to use the damn thing.
A friend says to me a few weeks ago while looking for a song, “God I hate scrolling like this! It drives me crazy. Isn’t there any other way to find a song or an artist?” “Nope. Nice huh?” Looks cool, but they cost three times as much as they should and will drive you absolutely crazy if you try to use it. Hey wait a minute! That sounds like something else… what is it??? oh that’s it. Apple computers themselves. But let’s not even go there yet.
So I call Apple one day. “Hey there. I probably loaded about ten new albums into iTunes this weekend and I want to be able to see those new albums on my ipod after I synch. How do I do that? “I’m sorry sir. You can’t.” “What?!!! You’re telling me that there is no way to sort according to most recently added so I can see the newest music that I have on my ipod???!” “No sir. Good idea though. We haven’t come up with it yet.” “O.k. well then take it. It’s yours. Consider it a freebie.” Crazy fucks. Have they never used an ipod themselves? Do they keep a list of the newest music they loaded in on their iPhone or something? Or perhaps scrawled on a piece of paper in their pocket?
[truth be told we did create a solution, a lame one, but this will do till they let you sort your music on the ipod in a variety of ways AND even let you create customized sorting configs as they SHOULD. Here’s the fix: You will have to create ENDLESS playlists in iTunes on your computer called “New Music 1, 2, 3,” etc and then drag your newest music over there. That's the best they got. But even that sucks because the ipod DOESN’T LET YOU SEE WHAT THE NAME OF THE FREAKING ALBUMS OR ARTISTS ARE IN PLAYLISTS!!! All you see is the name of a song!!! So you just have to scroll and scroll and scroll through these freaking playlists clicking on each song every few seconds to see who it’s by or what album its from... it is truly an abomination in functional engineering, despite its technological advances.
So the iPhone... yes oh yes oh yes. just typing the name of it gets me drooling. Sure I want one. Is it not the coolest thing since a convertible BMW with Techtronic transmission and turbo power? Hell yeah it is. But its fraught with problems in functionality for power users. So they end up with Blackberries or Palm devices still. Wannabe hipsters and newbies to the handheld world are flocking to get their hands on iPhones. And for good reason. They’re cool as shit and have tons of nifty features. Now granted, most of them are just tricked out innovations taken from Palm (see forum dialogues below) but still, there is nothing like your first double-fingered view-expand on an iPhone. A truly chill-producing experience.
So what's the problem? Why do the majority of longtime handheld power-users still use Palm devices or their beloved Crackberries? Well mainly because they actually do practical things with their handhelds besides talk on the phone, surf the net, or show their friends how cool their phone is. In fact you almost never see people holding the most powerful Palm out there, the TREO, showing it off. Because they're too freaking BUSY -- USING it. They don't have time to show you photos from their trip to Disney last week or a blurry photo they snapped that day they spotted Al Pacino in the park. Though the Treo holds and records thousands of photos and videos and mp3s too, it just isn't the main use for the device. [mine also currently holds 16 bi-level dictionaries for 8 different languages, a voice recorder to capture new songs I hear in my head, a world atlas and maps, a metronome, amortization calculators, the internet, Facebook, texting, endless storage using portable and swappable SD cards, a GPS, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and 168 file folders about just about everything I need access to when on the go.] [Note: iPhone’s feature plenty of these and more. for the record.]
Here’s the glitch: For most power-users of handhelds, they need real-world, business-related, practical tools to surf through their baddass entrepreneurial life. Not a fancy looking gadget. Though blackberries now look as cool as anyone could possibly want. (I wish the Treo looked as cool as Blackberries do now… sigh). But alas there is a reason why the Treo still remains the most expensive Palm-based handheld on the market these days, coming in at a steal for $500. Twice the cost of an iPhone. But worth every penny.
And that’s because one can basically do anything they’ll ever need with the Treo. Of course it looks like the new Pre discussed below is going to shoot it out of the water. But it appears that Sprint has a lock on it for now, which means that those of us with other services are SOL for the time being.
Speaking of SOL, that reminds me of when a good friend went out and bought his new iPhone and got all excited only to learn that he was then stuck with ATT phone service forever and got transferred to Europe for his job and now cannot actually use his iPhone… That’s Apple in a nutshell. Nothing wrong with ANY company dominating a market if they’re awesome and deliver the goods. But deliver the freaking goods already.
A caveat for diehard Apple lovers: this is not a diss on Apple. I used to LOVE Apple. My very first three computers were Apples. And I will be the first to admit that Gates and crew stole Windows from Apple. Windows is just a cheaper less stable version of Job’s and Wozniak’s brilliant software ideas. Gates and company were shrewd and some might even say very intelligent businessmen. Jobs and Wozniak were brilliant visionaries who didn’t see these shysters coming and got a royal screwing out of many of their brilliant ideas. Duly noted. I also freely admit that for music and graphics and design and video and most other professional applications I would never and don’t ever go PC. They also just offer a more stable environment without all the crashes and hiccups that Windows is so famous for. Granted. [Windows WAS getting better until the disaster they currently call “Vista.”]
BUT I will say this and then back to the Handheld issue: I often find myself in the position of being hired to help people choose and purchase new computer systems for their home or office. And besides the triple the cost price point of Apple computers, the machine has two other major drawbacks: one, all the software is proprietary and expensive and by the time aforesaid client has pimped out their computer with everything they’ll need to actually use it, they’re looking at dropping at least 4 G’s. Which is about 3 times the cost of a Windows based machine.
The other major drawback is this little issue: what happens if there is something wrong with your Apple computer? Will a tech come out to your home or office and fix it? Nope. Not a chance. YOU will have to go to them. Can you imagine? In 2009? Taking your computer in to get looked at and waiting for a few hours or days to get it back? I’d rather have hot lava poured down my throat and swallow than lose a whole day of work. Or five as the case might be. Imagine all these poor innocent people trekking their computers to a store to get it fixed and leaving it there and not being able to work… when with a Dell PC for example you can actually just give them a ring and a guy shows up in a van the next day and completely fixes your computer for you no matter what’s wrong with it. That’s what life in the 21st century SHOLD look like. I will trade all the bells and whistles and cool looking interfaces in the world ala Apple for the ability to KEEP WORKING on my computer and not have to drag my ass off to some store because Apple hasn’t managed to master the art of customer support.
A good friend of mine has a “power” problem with her Apple notebook right now. The Apple geeks can’t fix it without her spending hundreds of dollars. And now they are telling her she will need a whole new motherboard or something crazy. So she’s resigned to dealing with it or buying a whole new laptop. So the machine keeps crashing all the time or just shutting down right in the middle of her work and she loses it all… I feel bad for her – what can one even say to console someone in this predicament?… I had a similar issue last year and a Dell technician came out to my apartment and had the entire power section of the motherboard replaced before I was even out of my bathrobe. For free. I offered him a bagel and a cup of Joe to go. The least I could do.
We live in a hard-working multi-tasking gone-mobile world and we need our computers 24/7. Not just when Apple can get around to fixing them. A room full of so-called “Apple Geniuses” is absolutely no use if one cannot get access to them without wasting their whole day. That means COME TO US. Period. Or go back to watching your Star Trek reruns and shut the fuck up about offering good customer service.
Poor little Boo Boo Kitty, another friend of mine, made the switch to an Apple and the first day she was so excited by “how cool” it looked. But in order to actually use the machine, she was at the Apple Store on Fifth avenue in NYC everyday for months… she finally gave up and went back to a turbo-charged Dual Processer Quad-Screen PC that covers half her wall and has been happy ever since. Primarily for two reasons: one, because there was just too much that the Apple couldn’t do that she was already used to. Like run Outlook effectively as a power-user. And two, the “Geniuses” at the Apple Store couldn’t figure out how to help her. So they regretfully but gladly refunded her just so they could get rid of her.
Some of us, in fact most highly effective ambitious ass-kickers, work live and breathe out of a little something called Microsoft Outlook. Not that we think it’s the shit. (Because it’s not. There are plenty of fixes they need to make in Outlook! And often times we the users seem to know more about running the app than the technicians in India you get on the phone…) It’s just that Outlook happens to be the best out there right now. And Apple has so many known glitches with being able to run Outlook properly that it’s only a matter of time before someone either goes postal in some Apple store or they simply switch back if they are accustomed to using Outlook to manage their busy schedules.
I would be lost without my Palm. I’m out of town more than in town and even when in town I would have no clue what the day expected me to do without Outlook running on my Treo. Nor would I be able to have access to an ever growing database of thousands of contacts and respective files associated with those contacts. One day I will retire to a big ranch out west… my heart longs for the day when I will no longer live out of a little metal electric device in my hand all the time…. but that day has not yet arrived. So I live in and out of something called Outlook run on a Palm handheld.
(Apple will try to get you to switch to Entourage to replace Outlook, but google that nightmare app and you’ll see that people hate it so much that it’s a wonder that they still bother to make it.)
Which brings us back to the iPhone and handhelds in general. Google the phrase “Apple iPhone does not sync with Outlook” and you’ll get the picture fast enough. The iPhone is just not quite setup well enough yet to truly sync with Outlook seamlessly. And without being able to sync your handheld with your computer you’re screwed. You CAN JUST use your handheld as your main scheduling and database tool… as many do… but what if you have a major database task that requires a few hours of work? Are you going to do all of that on your iPhone? No. You’re going to do that on your computer and then want to sync your phone to it. And what about scheduling? What if you have ten twenty thirty forty scheduled events, to dos, appointments, repeated events, etc each week? Are you going to do all that scheduling on your little iPhone? Nope. You’re going to want to do it on your computer OR your handheld — and do it interchangeably — and then sync it to your handheld and have it all seamlessly appear there. With NO duplication (that takes a smart program – Palm has it mastered. Apple doesn’t.)
What if you want to take a look at someone’s file you’ve been working on for a week while you’re on the phone with them up on some mountain top? Did you do all that on your handheld? Hell no you didn’t. You did it on your computer. A lot of typing, a lot of copying and pasting, and note-taking while on the phone perhaps etc… and you did all of this on your computer. And THEN you sync it to your handheld device and voila their entire file is right there next to their name on your phone while you’re standing on some beautiful mountain. Go ahead, email it to them wirelessly from that same handheld from 4000 miles away so they can review it and get back to you while you climb another peak. It’s possible. But without Outlook none of that is possible. Not seamlessly at least. Not yet…
And lets not forget the most important issue. BACK THAT SHIT UP. In other words, if you’re doing all your scheduling, event planning, database management, etc on your phone only and you lose it on said mountaintop, then what? You didn’t sync to Outlook on your computer because you own an iPhone. So you lose it all… “oh well” seems to be the answer I hear from most people after they’ve gone bald from puling all their hair out.
Personally I hope it is sooner than later that the iPhone either becomes as functional for business users or Palm gets as kick ass and cool as the iphone. I love the look of the iPhone. Though I can’t tell you how many people abhor that weak excuse of a touchscreen thing they call a qwerty keyboard. That’s going to have to change too. Touchscreen qwerty keyboards just don’t do the trick if you text and type all day on your handheld. Unless you are a dwarf and have really small fingers. I hear dwarfs love typing on the iPhone. They’re the only ones though, so far.
Bottom line, if you sit behind a desk all day and primarily work from a computer, you can probably do just fine with an iPhone when you’re occasionally out on the town. It looks cool. It’s a fine phone, plays mp3s like an iPod, even offers you maps, the internet, email, texting, photos, and video. But if you’re running all over the world and need to be reminded what your next appointment is and don’t want a giant laptop hanging on your back, then Palm or Crackberry is still the way to go. For better or worse. Functionality my friends is still the key. One day Apple will get that.
Perhaps all of this is for naught and the iPhone will one day come together and be the baddass kick-butt device that newbies, techies, business people, and power-users all collectively dream of… I hope so.
Or perhaps the new Palm Pre will take a bite out of the iPhone so they aren’t so nauseatingly ubiquitous. See some forum posts below from YouTube regarding the iPhone versus the Palm Pre. Interesting stuff….
otterboxiphone (10 hours ago) Show Hide
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Hmm, I love my iphone and itouch but they are not simple to use. It’s good for tons of stuffs except for business-related activities (calendar, to do,…). Palm is better from this standpoint, I have to admit.
TOTALLY agree! iPhone is cool. that’s for sure. But for business apps –real life stuff — PALM is still the way to go. Too bad because i would love to have all the practical application of PALM with the cool features of iPhone in ONE PHONE!!!! Why can’t ONE company comprehend this?
wyguy1209 (15 hours ago) Show Hide
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i have an iphone and i LOVE it. but im happy for plam. FINALLY i phone to keep up!!! or even beat the iphone. the reason im happy because now apple will have to create the next iphone to be better than the pre. so…the next iphone will be a great upgrade and then palm will create something better. Consumers win!
p3t3b2 (16 hours ago) Show Hide
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Look at it this way, if Apples patent is certified Palm can simply change the name pinch/zoom to squeeze, Although I am not sure what Palm calls theirs. That is how narrow Apples claim is, that is one example. Basically Apple was not given a patent on multi-touch, they were give a very narrow patent on a certain swipe not swiping and zooming in general.
zsmorr92 (17 hours ago) Show Hide
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I did see that, Palm could literally do tiny little tweaks to the Pre and avoid most of Apple’s arguments. Apple however cannot escape palm’s. I’m gunna buy some palm stock in hopes that Palm does win this.
p3t3b2 (17 hours ago) Show Hide
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Go over to engadgetDOTCOM and read their in-depth analysis, Apple has been overstating what their patent(s) actually cover. Upon further review of the engadget article it is clear that Apples multi-touch claim is very narrow and that Apple infringed on many of Palms patents with the iphone. IF Apple decides (no indication yet only speculation) to press forward with a lawsuit they have much more to lose.
zsmorr92 (18 hours ago) Show Hide
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Its not over yet my friend, iphone infringes on many of palm’s patents as well, this will be a war of epic proportions lol. Only one problem being that palm is so close to extinction that apple MIGHT be able to drive them to the grave… I wish palm luck, I too will be buying this phone.
igor86SRB (21 hours ago) Show Hide
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omg i must buy this phone ! xD
Wankerlito (1 day ago) Show Hide
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it’s official folks the patent has been awarded as of January 26 2009 and wow I’m really amaze how palm dared to copy most of the features the iphone has. Hahahaha. So what will happen now?