my favorite iPhone features. Most of you agreed that the iPhone is a unique, breakthrough device that is years ahead of other smart phones. A few of you said that there is nothing special about it, but one reader said that we should cover both the good and bad things about it. This reader gets his wish in this post, in which we take a look at things that are missing or need improvement in the iPhone.Earlier this week I wrote about
To be frank, there are no deal breaker missing or broken features in the iPhone. It is a very well thought-through device. In typical Apple style, the Occam's Razor principle is followed - giving only necessary functions and not adding bells and whistles. However, some applications on iPhone, email in particular, are still quite raw. As discussed in this post on TechCrunch, the email on iPhone is inferior to Blackberry in a number of ways. People also complain about the quality of the iPhone as an actual phone. However I can't find much wrong with it as a phone - in fact, I like it better than the RAZR that it replaced.
But here is my wish list for improvements and add-ons after using the iPhone for over two weeks. (It is possible that a feature I've noted is there and I simply missed it, but if that's the case please point it out in the comments :) )
10. Bulk Select / Delete is missing
The lack of the ability to perform a bulk operation is always annoying. On iPhone, there is no way to select and therefore delete a bunch of emails or photos at once. I configured the iPhone to get my GMail messages via pop interface. As a result, my iPhone Inbox is flooded with emails. A few times a day I have to manually delete emails one at a time - this is very time consuming. Also bad is that due to the nature of pop protocol, all of my GMail emails (even older ones) are forwarded. So as soon as I delete some, more show up and I just don't think I can delete all of them one by one!
9. Camera does not have zoom
The iPhone has a nice built-in camera, but unfortunately it does not have a way to zoom. Even a basic 2x or 3x zoom would be great, as it is not always possible to get closer to things.
8. There is no cache for YouTube videos, browser pages or maps
Having YouTube on the iPhone is fantastic. Unfortunately there is no way to download videos to play when you are offline (e.g. on a plane). An offline mode should be a natural for iPhone, particularly for videos, since it comes with a 6GB hard drive (at least mine does) - but it is practically empty. A setting to save the last 5 or 10 clips that I viewed would go a long way. The same applies to browser pages.
7. Calculator is way too basic
This one is seemingly minor, but why couldn't Apple put in a decent calculator with advanced math functions. Sometimes it is handy to take a square root of 1324 [Ed: when? :) ] and the iPhone calculator does not do it. Perhaps Apple was concerned that a lot of people would be confused by a sophisticated calculator, but I would bet that iPhone early adopters are advanced enough for it.
6. The speaker is not loud enough
This is one is my biggest disappointments in the iPhone as a phone - when I place a call on speaker, it is not loud enough. Particularly when you dial someone and the phone is ringing, you can barely hear the rings. Since this is a hardware issue, unfortunately there is no hope to get this fixed with this version.
5. Web pages take a long time to load in Safari
It is likely that this is more of a Cingular issue than an Apple one, but people are sure to perceive this as iPhone's issue. This is obviously a really hard problem - loading internet pages over a phone network, but Apple jumped into this and so they need to do whatever it takes to make it faster. To be fair, it is not unusabl - it is just slow. Yet, it seems like there are opportunities to create the impression of better performance, via caching and optimization. It's likely the Apple team is already hard at work on this.
4. Editing support is primitive
The iPhone features a very light document editor called Notes. It is more cute then useful, with its stylish font and glamorous page flips. Instead, it would be good to have Copy/Paste support as well as more rich editing features. A better editor is probably in the works, but for now notes are only good for quick shopping lists.
3. There is no wireless sync
Another surprise is that the iPhone syncs only when it is connected to the computer using a physical cable. Perhaps Apple did this as a trick to get us to charge the phone more often (it seems to take a while to charge it fully, by the way). It would be cool to just put the iPhone next to my laptop and have them auto sync, but for now that's not available.
2. There is no built-in GPS
This is really a shame, since iPhone could have been a perfect navigation device. It already has maps built-in, so it is only natural that it would be able to guide you the destination. Seems like Apple could have taken a big bite out of this market; and it is not clear why they did not. Perhaps because of the cost, or design difficulty?
1. Keyboard needs to be improved
After using the iPhone for some time, unfortunately I have to report that its biggest problem is the keyboard. Firstly, I am surprised that it is not better optimized for Safari. Most of the time I am trying to enter my email or user id into text boxes and an auto complete would be great. It seems odd that Apple missed this sort of thing in a few places, when there is a special button for .com.
But that's the least of my problems with the keyboard. Because the keys are too close to each other, more often than not I type in a wrong letter. This is quite frustrating. As I press a letter, it enlarges - showing me what I just typed - but unfortunately it is always about a second late, since I already typed in the letter. If this was done earlier, perhaps I could have avoided the click. The auto complete that Apple built-in is helpful, but ultimately it does not solve the problem.
Frankly I am out of ideas on how to improve the keyboard, but it definitely needs another pass to bring it up to par with the rest of the device.
While the iPhone has had me ravingn for the past couple of weeks, there are definitely things that need to be improved. This is not a surprise since this is just a first generation device. The really good news is that Apple is known for restless innovation and a drive to perfection (just compare the early iPods with the latest ones).
And the second bit of good news is that a lot of the iPhone is software and software can be easily upgraded. When Apple improves the iPhone, it will roll out new versions of the software and all of us will seamlessly get it. While this is not true for things like GPS and a speaker, it is true for most of the issues I've discussed. This is the greatest thing about having a phone (or anything else) as software - it can be easily upgraded.
If you have an iPhone and have used it for the past few weeks, please share your experiences with us. What are your top missing features or things that you would like to see improved?