MobileInfocenter

Editorial: 10 Rounds with the iPhone

By: Tim Carroll
July 4, 2007

Author's note: I do not own an iPhone. This is not a review. This is an editorial/opinion piece based on the dozens of iPhone reviews and hundreds of users comments that have appeared on the net since the device was announced. Every effort has been made to ensure accurate descriptions of iPhone's operation. If iPhone owners would like to point out any technical inaccuracies, feel free to post them in the Comments section below.

iDay has come and gone, and the first iPhones have made their way into the hot, grubby hands of gadget geeks and Apple cultists. It's an important phase: how well is this svelte little beauty going to bear up under the hypercritical gaze of enthusiasts without the patented Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field surrounding it? In the words of the Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray:

"After the relentless buildup of the past six months, the temptation to trash Apple Inc.'s new iPhone is pretty much irresistible. If only I could."

But Mr. Bray shouldn't fret: PIC is more than happy to give in to temptation. Six months ago when Steve Jobs claimed to have "revolutionized" the phone, we put the so-called "God Machine" up against Palm's Treo and concluded that while formidable, it's not the perfect device and could be beaten. Now that we have fresh, unbiased opinions coming in, it's time to see whether or not the Treo still passes muster. Let's take a walk down memory lane...

It's an epidemic!

Apple iPhone vs Palm Treo500,000 freaking first-weekend sales. That's the number being floated by analysts after the iPhone's massively hyped launch. You can practically hear the AT&T execs laughing all the way to bank: half a million new two-year contracts in two days is a massive coup for them that no doubt has Verizon feeling mighty foolish. (Verizon, if you'll recall, reportedly rejected the iPhone, for fear of giving Apple too much control over their subscribers.)

But this was to be expected: with all the iPhone mania in the press and Apple's own genius marketing, the launch was always going to be huge - attracting not just Apple fans and gadget lovers, but eBay scalpers as well (current going price: $16,000 AUD.) Interestingly, a few sites have reported that most Apple stores still have plenty of stock. Were Apple hoping for a sellout? Who knows, but by any measure it was still a great launch for them and AT&T. It will be interesting to see how sales fare once the craze calms down.

I'm saying all this to point out that we're not here to debate the success of the iPhone - because no one could deny it was a good launch but simply to see how it stacks up against Palm's best efforts. Let's get started.

Phone

With all the bells, whistles and doodads that are part and parcel of the modern cellphone, it's sometimes easy to forget that you have to use these things for talking, too. Fortunately for all of us, it's easy to declare a winner in this category: it's the Treo by a wide margin, almost purely by the virtue of one simple thing: buttons. Real, honest-to-god physical buttons that you can feel without needing to look. Touchscreens are fantastic in fact, I can't see myself ever buying a device without one again but they are not the be-all and end-all. iPhone in particular is going to require two-handed usage more often than phones with buttons. This is a completely unavoidable situation on a control surface with no tactile feedback. No getting around it.

Plus, dialing a contact on a Treo is as simple as tapping out a few letters, whereas on the iPhone you'll need to 'flick' through page after page to get to the number you're after. Yes, you can skip to a certain alphabetical section of your contacts, but that's still not as precise or as quick. Visual voicemail is very impressive, but not enough to compensate for the other problems. Finally, only Apple could come up with a phone that requires two steps to hang up from another app and then call it "revolutionary". Next, please! Treo 1, iPhone 0.

Messaging

Treo 700p keyboard iphoneHere's another easy choice, and partly for the same reason as last time: real keys are simply easier to type on than virtual ones. But there's more to it than just that: stunningly, iPhone doesn't support MMS, a messaging feature that has been around for ages now. Want to quickly fire off a picture to a friends phone? It's email or bust, pal. Big kudos to Apple for implementing threaded SMS, a feature pioneered on the Treo, but they still come up short. Treo 2, iPhone 0.

Email

This one's a little more complicated. Do we judge the Treo purely on it's built-in Versamail - which has copped a lot of flak for instability issues - or do we expand the field to include third-party email applications like the excellent Chattermail? To keep things simple we'll use Versamail as our comparison. iPhone's email is visually impressive, and has features like in-line photos that leave Versamail in the dust. It's also compatible with POP3, IMAP and Yahoo push email, so consumers the main target market will find most of their bases covered.

Of course, iPhone users still have to contend with a virtual keyboard. Plus, for the business user, it's hard to go past a Treo, which can be configured to do any kind of email you want. And if you don't like Versamail, then you have other options. If you don't like iPhone's implementation, you're stuck with it. So while iPhone's email is visually impressive, it's still not as functional as a Treo which is why this round goes to Palm. Treo 3, iPhone 0.

Web

And now the tables turn. Listen up, Palm: Blazer is a joke. It was pretty good a couple of years ago, but nowadays is just not up to scratch. iPhone on the other hand gives us a stripped-down version of Safari, a speedy and well-designed desktop Web browser now optimised for a small screen. But this ain't no Pocket IE or Opera Mini: it renders full web pages and meshes them with intelligent touch-controls to give us what is unequivocally the most impressive mobile web browser to date.

There's no Flash, there's no Java. But that's true of pretty much every other mobile browser as well. There's no 3G, which is a crushing omission for such an advanced device, but wi-fi is in there as compensation. All in all, features like the realistic rendering, smart zooming and smooth landscape switching set a new benchmark for mobile Internet that will be hard to match. iPhone 1, Treo 3.

Camera

The cellphone camera is a wonderfully useful thing to have. While you wouldn't want to use one to capture important pictures wedding, birthdays, stuff like that they're great for those spur-of-the-moment situations. Palm's cameras to date have been woeful; the Treo 680's camera does a great job given that it's only got 0.3mp to work with, but in this day and age the idea of shipping a VGA camera on a smartphone is ridiculous. Even the more advanced 1.3mp cam in the 700p and 755p is average at best. iPhone, on the other hand, has a pretty good 2mp camera. It looks pretty terrible in low light situations, but then very few mobile cameras don't. Of course, you can't MMS those pictures to your friends... but that's not the camera's fault.

Apple iPhoneThe strangest omission is the lack of any kind of video recording functionality. Were Palm's video recording of any real quality I would give this round to the Treo, but since all Treo videos are limited to a maximum resolution of 352 x 288 they're usually not worth taking anyways. iPhone wins. iPhone 2, Treo 3.

Media

If you're willing to shell out for additional software, then I'd hesitantly give this round to Palm, for which you can bolt on useful stuff like Bluetooth A2DP and even an iPod interface if you're so inclined (see mOcean); which can stream a large selection of internet radio stations; and CorePlayer which can play the world's most popular video format, DivX.

But out of the box an iPhone blows the Treo out of the water, and it's mostly due to two things: a large screen and iTunes. I personally can't stand iTunes, but I know I'm in the minority there; most seem to find it more than acceptable, and it's hard to argue against the simplicity of its syncing process. Palm instead relies on third-party music syncing with clunky nightmares like Windows Media Player, and since the transfer speed is so slow you're usually better off going through the cumbersome process of inserting and removing SD cards in order to copy files with a high-speed card reader.

iPhone's iPod functionality is visually stunning, with the supremely useless but eye-pleasing Cover Flow demonstrating just what you can achieve with graphics on a mobile device if you make the effort. Like many things on the iPhone, it looks so pretty you can't help but want to play with it. It's odd that Apple hasn't included any kind of background playback controls - apart from play/pause and next via the earbud button, but that's not a dealbreaker. I've never liked the way the iPod handles playlist creation and 'flicking' the touchscreen to get through your library could get frustrating in the long term, but overall it's just a better media player than the standard version of Pocket Tunes that Palm includes with the Treo. iPhone 3, Treo 3.

Usability

Make no bones about it, Apple's new multi-touch technology is indeed revolutionary. But as we've touched on earlier, touchscreens are the not always the best way to input commands. The iPhone is going to require two hands to use in most situations. That's just not good enough to best the Treo's combination of touchscreen, hard buttons, exposed keyboard and intelligent one-handed d-pad navigation.

Treo 755pAs stated earlier, to hang up a call from another app in the iPhone, you have to first switch back to the on-call screen and then press end call and try doing that without looking. On a Treo you press the red button. To switch apps on an iPhone, you'll always have to navigate back to the Home screen first, whereas on a Treo you have all the major functions one button away. These also double as a way of turning the device on, so even when it's switched off it's easy to get what you want with one press/ (You may also have to press the center button to unlock the keyguard, depending on your settings.) Not so with the iPhone; first you'll have to turn it on with the top-mounted power button, then slide your finger across the screen to unlock it, then press Home, then open whatever it is you're after. Unnecessarily cumbersome. Apple should employ a tap counter.

Palm OS can't claim total victory: Garnet is ancient and has well-known instability issues, but these are a lot rarer on the newer 680 and 755p Treos, to the point of being a non-issue. Overall it's still the most user-friendly mobile OS. Oh, and last but not least, iPhone can't even copy-and-paste. Like MMS, it's a stupid omission for such an advanced device. Point to Palm. Treo 4, iPhone 3.

Extras

The iPhone comes with a pretty good built-in software package that should satisfy the needs of most average users. But you shouldn't expect to get anymore out of it than what's already included; you'll be stuck with iPhone-compatible web applications as your only source of extra functionality. Given iPhone's gorgeous UI and powerful OS (a stripped down version of the Unix-based Mac OS X), it's an egregious kick in the face for smartphone fans. This thing is begging for third-party support, and the Mac developer community is an asset that Apple is foolish to waste.

It may be that Apple will eventually open up the iPhone in fact, I'm almost certain of it but for now it just screams wasted potential. A Treo on the other hand offers an app for almost anything you may conceivably want to do with your phone, from call recorders to games to note-taking apps to shopping lists to diet assistants to password keepers. Don't like the built-in phone app? Replace it with something jazzier like DialByPhoto. Don't like the PIM apps? Replace them with something more powerful like Agendus or Datebk6.

No contest, Treo wins. Treo 5, iPhone 3.

Hardware

By all reports the iPhone is a solidly built device with a surprisingly good battery life, although you're still not going to get more than a day out of it. It features WiFi, Bluetooth and an array of intelligent sensors that will adjust the brightness, lock the screen and rotate the picture. It's got a handy Treo-style silent switch, a large screen and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and it's thin. In short it has everything that Treo owners have been clamoring for for years. Palm should be embarrassed. Although the Palm has the edge on speed having had 3G for awhile now and the benefit of physical buttons, it's not up to the same standard.

Apple's hardware has always been of high quality and specifically designed to inspire gadget lust. iPhone is no exception and kills the Treo stone-cold dead in this category. iPhone 4, Treo 5.

Syncing

Itunes PalmI'll keep this short: Palm Desktop and Hotsync have always been reliable workhorses for me, but they are outdated and don't fully meet the needs of modern mobile devices. iTunes on the other hand looks modern, syncs video, photos and music effortlessly and is can sync your PIM data with Outlook, probably the most popular desktop PIM software. As mentioned earlier, I have no great love for iTunes, but it's definitely a superior syncing solution to the Palm Desktop. iPhone 5, Treo 5.

Price

$600 with contract is a lot to ask for a phone. Especially a first-generation product. To put it bluntly, it's exorbitant. You can get a Treo 680 for free nowadays on a contract, and with that you could get an 8GB SD card, a sweet pair of wireless headphones, all the best third-party Palm OS apps and still not pay as much as you would for an iPhone.

Feel free to challenge this in the comments, but this little black duck sees a Treo as better value for money. By far. iPhone 5, Treo 6.

Biased Treo Fan Declares Superiority Shock!!

Regular PIC readers will have seen me make these points at one time or another ever since the iPhone was announced, so my conclusion won't come as much of a surprise: when you break it down category-by-category the Treo still has a slight edge over the iPhone.

This could change in an instant: Apple could announce tomorrow that they're opening up the iPhone to third parties, and it would instantly neutralize Palm's biggest advantage. Apple are also more likely to issue patches and new features than Palm; their track record with things like the 700p ROM update is hideous. And eventually, that exorbitant price is going to come down.

But that's all hypothetical. In the here and now, the Treo is still the best smartphone available: user-friendly, fully featured, expandable and as versatile as you want it to be. It may crash occasionally. It's not pretty. It's not going to stop people in the street. But it's still the more useful and productive device with better value for money. And that's what really counts. -Tim

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Astute readers will note...

freakout @ 7/4/2007 2:05:16 AM #
...that it's actually 11 rounds. But 10 sounded better.
RE: Astute readers will note...
PacManFoo @ 7/5/2007 1:11:00 PM #
You wrote this? That explains a lot!

PDA's Past and Present:
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T, TX
Handspring - Edge, Platinum, Deluxe
Sony - SJ22
Apple - MP110, MP2000, MP2100
RE: Astute readers will note...
freakout @ 7/5/2007 7:06:40 PM #
It does, doesn't it. Like how it's so stunningly insightful, with my lustrous language illustrating a spectacular word picture that speaks to the soul of the smartphone fan, moving them in ways they never before thought possible. Thanks Pac! I'll count on you to nominate me for that Pulitzer.

You're crazy.

moofie @ 7/4/2007 2:06:38 AM #
Pass what you're smokin'.

You prefer freakin' PALM OS 5 over the iPhone's interface? And you think VERSAMAIL is superior to Apple's Mail implementation?

Wow.

Just, wow.

There are a number of reasons I'm not ready to jump to an iPhone yet, but none of them are because the Treo is in any way well-designed. Palm has been resting on its (moldy) laurels for way too many years now.

Once Apple gets a Pocket Quicken workalike, and IFF AT&T isn't horrible (yeah, I know, but I can wish, can't I?) I'm done with Palm.

(Unless Palm can fix it. Let's see...AT&T giving good customer service, or Palm getting its act together. Nevermind, I was wrong. We're still screwed.)

RE: You're crazy.
freakout @ 7/4/2007 2:56:52 AM #
You prefer freakin' PALM OS 5 over the iPhone's interface?

Yep. I gave my reasons: the iPhone's purely touch-based interface (and one non-reprogrammable button) mean that it will take extra steps to get things done. It also means that for the most part one-handed usage gets thrown out the window.

If they released an iPhone with buttons and some way to navigate other than the touchscreen, I'd be much more receptive. But they haven't and they didn't, so as far as functionality goes, PalmOS wins.

And you think VERSAMAIL is superior to Apple's Mail implementation?

Actually, I don't. Like I said, stuff like rich HTML and in-line photos means iPhone's email interface leaves Versamail in the dust. It's old and unstable. But Versamail is compatible with more kinds of email - it'll even do Blackberry if you want it to - and you can easily swap it out for a better third-party application. Plus, of course, the Treo has a real-life keyboard that is just easier to type with. And those are the real selling points for email in my mind, not pretty pictures.

RE: You're crazy.
funkonaut @ 7/6/2007 1:54:33 PM #
freakout, Do you even use the phone on your Treo? The sound quality is horrible. I ditched my Treo 650 for an iPhone last Friday and don't miss the Treo at all.

You can't hear anyone on the Treo unless you install VolumeCare, and you can't interrupt the person you're talking to because the Treo phone is only half-duplex! It's like talking on a CB radio.

It's one thing to be biased. It's another to be a blind, ignorant fanboy. I've lurked on this site for years, but I just can't take the site, nor Palm's actions, any longer. Time to evolve, Tim.

RE: You're crazy.
SeldomVisitor @ 7/6/2007 1:58:07 PM #
When you say the TREO is half-duplex are you talking about a speakerphone mode?

RE: You're crazy.
funkonaut @ 7/6/2007 2:12:50 PM #
Nope. Ever try talking to someone while they're talking? They just keep on talking and never hear you until they're done talking. That's because the Treo doesn't allow you to talk while receiving voice data. Same issue with the speakerphone. It's only a half-duplex device (which is an odd thing to do to a phone).
RE: You're crazy.
SeldomVisitor @ 7/6/2007 2:15:03 PM #
Good lord, is that right? The regular phone part is half-duplex?

Wow - I didn't know that - I thought that was a "feature" of speakerphone mode only.

RE: You're crazy.
cervezas @ 7/6/2007 3:02:47 PM #
funkonaut wrote:
the Treo phone is only half-duplex! It's like talking on a CB radio.

That's BS. I've never experienced that on four different Treos I've used. The microphone is disabled when you listen to someone on speaker so that they don't hear their own voice echoing back at them, but standard usage is full-duplex. If the Treo had a half-duplex radio, how would the fancy full-duplex docking stations for Treo work?

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog
RE: You're crazy.
freakout @ 7/6/2007 9:14:10 PM #
It's one thing to be biased. It's another to be a blind, ignorant fanboy. I've lurked on this site for years, but I just can't take the site, nor Palm's actions, any longer. Time to evolve, Tim.

"We got another one!"

Did you actually read the article? The iPhone has a lot of good things going for it, which I praise it for, but as a phone it falls short and it doesn't take a genius to see that. Comments like "time to evolve" are just dumb. Evolve to what? A device that can't do messaging properly, a device I can't expand and a device I can't use my cool Bluetooth headphones with? Quit being so short-sighted; it's about more than graphics.

Do you even use the phone on your Treo? The sound quality is horrible. I ditched my Treo 650 for an iPhone last Friday and don't miss the Treo at all.

It's true that the now three-year-old Treo 650 had poor voice quality. Not so much of the new 680, which is greatly improved. And if you'd bothered to read a few iPhone reviews, you'd see that it's voice quality isn't anything to write home about either. Plus from what I hear it's on America's worst cell network...

You can't hear anyone on the Treo unless you install VolumeCare

Hogwash. That's true for a lot of older people who are half-deaf, but I've never had a problem hearing people on mine. And again, it was most prevalent on the three-year-old Treo 650. Quit livin' in the past, man...

RE: You're crazy.
msalzberg @ 7/7/2007 1:11:03 PM #
If [b]you[/b] had bothered to read a few reviews, you'd know that the iPhone's audio quality has been highly praised.

Check out this review:

http://www.wirelessinfo.com/content/Apple-iPhone-Cell-Phone-Review/Audio-Quality.htm

Then again, you wrote a review of a device you admit you've [b]never even touched![/b] Please, do us a favor, and write about what you know (if anything).

RE: You're crazy.
freakout @ 7/8/2007 5:01:11 AM #
From Engadget, one of many sites to make similar observations:

As GSM handsets go, the iPhone's voice quality can only be described as "unremarkable." Not bad, but not particularly stellar, either.

And it's not a review, dopey. It's an editorial. An opinion piece, that clearly states at the beginning that it's based on the fresh new opinions that have been popping up over the net ever since it was announced. Perhaps you should learn to read?

RE: You're crazy.
jessewclark @ 7/18/2007 7:34:00 PM #
Yeah, you're crazy.

It's arguably fair to critique the iPhone on the basis of missing features: no removable battery, no MMS, etc. But any criticism based on the touch-screen interface is hogwash if you haven't given it a fair try. Saying something is hard to use, when you haven't used it, is odious.

I personally use Palm products, and I have not used an iPhone. That makes my opinion of its interface invalid, too. So pretend your criticisms have any merit, I'm going to go through your points, and any of them that mention the usability of the interface I'll ignore:

1. Phone:

All your comments are based on the usability of the interface. If I want to know your opinion of the usability of the interface, my first question will be "have you used it?" Oh, you haven't? Then I don't care. You get no vote here. Score: Treo 0, iPhone 0.

2. Messaging:

Hmmm, critiquing those touch-screen keys again, are we? Your opinion doesn't count. But the MMS thing is a valid gripe, an actual criticism based on objective data. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 1, iPhone 0.

3. Email:

You yet again mention a keyboard interface you've never touched. Again, irrelevant. You give the iPhone props for features, but give the score to VersaMail because it's compatible with more kinds of e-mail systems. Personally, VersaMail is the reason I don't use e-mail on my Palm at all. But I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you personally actually use VersaMail on a regular basis. In which case you're basing your call not just on objective data but also experience. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 2, iPhone 0.

4. Web

Unlike your confounding defense of VersaMail, you rightly excoriate Blazer. Like VersaMail is to email, Blazer is to the web: they are the reason that I *don't* use features of my Palm. You base your critique on actual data, such as Safari's ability to render full pages. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 2, iPhone 1.

5. Camera

Your vote appears to be based on the specs of the cameras, which is as objective as you get. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 2, iPhone 2.

6. Media

Interestingly, here you mention both objective data and personal experience, and then give more weight to the objective data. You don't like iTunes and the iPod interface, but you acknowledge it as an asset to the iPhone. Remarkably even-handed. Data trumps experience. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 2, iPhone 3.

7. Usability

You know, I'd bet money that you're the kind of guy who discounts the opinions of people who say they prefer Windows Mobile when they've never tried the Palm OS. Be honest, have you ever expressed that opinon? You simply don't get a vote on usability if you've never used. Your vote doesn't count. Score: Treo 2, iPhone 3.

8. Extras

I'm grudgingly giving you this one, because the standard I've established is that data is what counts. You're right, there are more apps for the Palm. In fact, I would have an iPhone right now if PocketQuicken were available for it. But it isn't. I bet that there will be some kind of personal finance software for the iPhone soon, and on that day I'll bury my Palm and never look back, but as it stands today, you make a good point. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 3, iPhone 3.

9. Syncing

You point out that the iPhone has several syncing features Palm Desktop lacks. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 3, iPhone 4.

10. Price

People can argue over this forever, but this is completely a judgement call. Your vote counts. Score: Treo 4, iPhone 4.

So, if one ignores the opinions that are based solely on opinions, the phones come out even. But at this point, I'd like to turn something you touch on lightly into a full category of its own:

11. The Future

Apple has a cutting-edge desktop OS that gets updated regularly with new features. Palm has a rickety, rheumatic desktop OS that seems to be entirely stagnant. With that in mind, rate these sentences on a scale of believability from 1 to 10:

"The iPhone OS will probably enjoy regular updates and improvements."

Personally, I'd give that an 8 or 9.

"The Palm OS will probably enjoy regular updates and improvements."

I'd give that between 3 and 4.

I'll grant that there's a high degree of subjectivity in this analysis, here. But the companies' track records at keeping their software current are objective fact. If one is going to base future predictions on past performance, the future belongs to the iPhone. And that puts the score at Treo 4, iPhone 5.

Anyway blah blah blah I can't believe I spent so much time on this. Somebody shoot me. Enjoy your Treo, man, what do I care? Life's too short.


I'm CRAZY!!! Somebody stop that madman!!!!!!!!
freakout @ 7/18/2007 7:54:23 PM #
Dude, it does not take a genius to work out that a virtual keyboard will not be as functional as a real one. There are many obvious reasons, but I'll just leave it at two simple words: tactile feedback.
RE: You're crazy.
SeldomVisitor @ 7/18/2007 7:56:29 PM #
Walt Mossberg disagrees with you.

==========

BTW, given all the very valid objections, etc, to the "article" in question, it isn't YOU who are crazy but Ryan for letting that "article" get "published without a heavy editorial hand.

RE: You're crazy.
freakout @ 7/18/2007 8:06:30 PM #
Good for Walt Mossberg! Perhaps he enjoys staring at his screen like a lobotomised chimp while he dials phone numbers!

I, however like to do things like type periods without having to bring up a second keyboard.

Biotchslapping freakout to be an Olympic sport in 2010!!!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/19/2007 12:31:59 AM #
Final standings in the World freakout Biotchslapping Championship 2007:

1) ?
2) ?
3) ?


Give it a rest, Kiddies. The facts are that he wasn't qualified to write this type of "article", but the article still generated a lot of discussion on a site that may soon no longer have any PalmOS products to discuss. Until those who complained loudest start submitting articles (or at least regular commentary) to Palminfocenter, the biotchers and whiners need to S T F U. Period.

TVoR

RE: You're nuts! Crazy in the coconut! Frontier psychiatry....
freakout @ 7/19/2007 1:12:31 AM #
Qualified? Qualified?

You've got to be kidding me!!!! Anyone with even an ounce of common sense and critical thinking capability can tell that an entirely virtual interface is going to cause problems.

I mean, thanks for the latter point - it's sorely needed - but seriously. The only qualification you need to see that the iPhone ain't perfect is an IQ in double digits. I realise this precludes most Apple fans, but still...

RE: You're crazy. Like a fox.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 7/19/2007 2:12:05 AM #
Qualified? Qualified?

You've got to be kidding me!!!! Anyone with even an ounce of common sense and critical thinking capability can tell that an entirely virtual interface is going to cause problems.

I mean, thanks for the latter point - it's sorely needed - but seriously. The only qualification you need to see that the iPhone ain't perfect is an IQ in double digits. I realise this precludes most Apple fans, but still...

Timmmmmmmmmmmmmay, you're starting to get as punch-drunk as PalmOS 5. Anyone who has used high-tech equipment over the years is all-too-aware that how things appear on paper often has little bearing with how things function in reality..

While for some people a virtual keyboard is an unacceptable compromise, for many individuals these devices are used primarily to display data rather than to input data, so any reasonable compromise made to maximize screen space is appreciated. Furthermore, the Treo keyboards are by no means the paragon of virtuous data input methods.

On paper, it may seem that the iPhone's virtual keyboard would be a clumsy kludge, but people who have used the iPhone frequently comment that it's actually not that bad. Until you've actually had the opportunity to use the iPhone , remain unqualified to make the judgments that you made in your article.

Remember, Timmmmmmmmmmmmmmay: It's okay to cry. Let at all come out, Timmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmay...


TVoR

Punch-drunk as Palm OS 5. You mean 'legally dead'? ;)
freakout @ 7/19/2007 2:32:20 AM #
See, the thing is, I'm not saying that the iPhone's keyboard is bad. As so many have pointed out ad nauseam, that kind of judgement can only be made when you use it. This is the distinction that everybody misses: I'm saying that there are obvious disadvantages to any interface that lacks tactile feedback and permanent access. And that you can safely say without ever having used one.

Sure, it's not that bad. Is it as good an input device as a real keyboard, even a relatively cramped one like the Treo's? Nope, and it never will be. Silliness like having to pop up an alternate keyboard just to type a frickin' full stop is a perfect example (amongst many).

And crying is for girls. Boys don't cry. If The Cure said it, it has to be true. :P

RE: You're crazy.
abosco @ 7/19/2007 10:34:24 AM #
>>See, the thing is, I'm not saying that the iPhone's keyboard is bad. As so many have pointed out ad nauseam, that kind of judgement can only be made when you use it. This is the distinction that everybody misses: I'm saying that there are obvious disadvantages to any interface that lacks tactile feedback and permanent access. And that you can safely say without ever having used one.

I've pointed this out so many times, but I'll say it again. That "obvious disadvantage" of no tactile keyboard comes at the advantage of extra screen real estate. You can fit more data on the screen of the iPhone just because it has a larger screen, attributed solely to the soft keyboard. So, the argument is - would you rather have a hard keyboard and small screen or a soft keyboard and large screen? You say the large screen is nice, but there is just no beating the hard keyboard. Meanwhile, you haven't actually used the soft keyboard. Do you understand why people actually got upset about your editorial? Until you actually use it, you cannot make that judgment call in that the extra screen real estate isn't worth not having a hard keyboard, period.

TVoR said it best (yes, it physically hurt to say that) in that you remain unqualified to write this type of article.

(For the record, I have written for PIC before.)

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + S710a

RE: You're crazy.
hkklife @ 7/19/2007 11:12:28 AM #
For me personally, I'd gladly give up both my 700p and my TX and pay close to iPhone prices for something that was basically a Palm TX with an integrated EVDO radio, no exteranl antenna, a removable battery of at least 1800mAh & 2gb of internal flash (and, of course, was as least as fast & stable as, say a 755p).

I prefer the Treo keyboard over Graffiti 2 if both devices are 320x320. But 320x480 or greater + Graffiti 1 would be preferable over any keyboard. Of course, stroke-based character input is NOT the wave of the future or the key to mass-market acceptance. After the raging success of the BlackBerry & Treo thumboards, I cannot help but think that one of the things that led to the downfall of the conventional PDA was a lack of cheap Treo 90-style devices. The average consumer never could grasp either G1 or G2.



Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: You're crazy.
SeldomVisitor @ 7/19/2007 2:55:01 PM #
> ...For the record, I have written for PIC before.

Totally irrelevant.

Noting that someone cannot fly by flapping their arms does not require one to be able to fly by flapping one's arms first.

RE: You're crazy.
abosco @ 7/19/2007 3:08:36 PM #
>>Totally irrelevant.

Noting that someone cannot fly by flapping their arms does not require one to be able to fly by flapping one's arms first.

I brought it up because of this comment:

>>Until those who complained loudest start submitting articles (or at least regular commentary) to Palminfocenter, the biotchers and whiners need to S T F U. Period.

By his listed qualification, I can bitch all I want.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + S710a

RE: You're crazy.
abosco @ 7/19/2007 3:09:30 PM #
And actually, so can Mike Cane!

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + S710a
Know what also helps? Correct tags!
freakout @ 7/19/2007 5:15:38 PM #
This site so needs an edit function. Let's try again.

Don't know how many times I need to ask this, Bosco - did you actually read the goddamn article?

I can see perfectly well the advantages a large screen provides. That's why iPhone is a beter internet device and a better media player. But a large screen means jack shit for productivity, and the elimination of any kind of buttons whatsoever makes for a more clumsy interface. AND IT ALWAYS WILL.

Ugh. Don't know if the caps and the bold will actually help, but we can all live in hope.

(Oh, and if you consider calling people a retard to be insightful commentary - i.e. every word that came out of Mike Cane's mouth in this thread - then it's no small wonder that you keep letting this point fly straight over your head).

RE: You're crazy.
abosco @ 7/19/2007 6:01:12 PM #
>>But a large screen means jack shit for productivity, and the elimination of any kind of buttons whatsoever makes for a more clumsy interface. AND IT ALWAYS WILL.

Uh huh, so you can get the same work done with 160x160 monochrome than you can with 320x480 16 bit?

In your piece, you're making a load of judgment calls. Judgment calls that ACTUALLY REQUIRE USING THE DEVICE. Don't you understand? You can't sit here and rabidly defend your opinions without more supporting evidence than, "well I found a review that said so." That doesn't cut it.

>>Ugh. Don't know if the caps and the bold will actually help, but we can all live in hope.

(Oh, and if you consider calling people a retard to be insightful commentary - i.e. every word that came out of Mike Cane's mouth in this thread - then it's no small wonder that you keep letting this point fly straight over your head).

More-so to the point, I will not tolerate you sitting there and calling me an idiot. The majority of these comments are people telling you that you lack any credibility whatsoever (and they're completely correct). I'm not going to bother listing whatever credentials I have to be criticizing you, but realize that you'll never understand what the iPhone offers as an advantage until you use one. Evidence? You said the iPhone has a clumsy interface. You're a ****ing moron. You're wrong. Its interface is its biggest advantage. There's my first real insult to you. Enjoy it.

Have fun defending a dying company, pushing dying products with a dead operating system. A lot of people said OS/2 had so much more functionality than Windows ten years ago, and look what happened.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + S710a

RE: You're crazy.
freakout @ 7/19/2007 6:07:15 PM #
Just 'cause Windows 95 won that battle didn't make it better Bosco. Better marketed, maybe.

Rather than carry this on myself, I'll let The Best Page In The Universe do that for me. Have a read sometime:

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone

Enjoy shooting huge sticky wads over your toy.

RE: You're crazy.
abosco @ 7/19/2007 6:10:50 PM #
Maddox stopped being funny about three years ago. That was around the time he stopped thinking of creative things to write and started bitching about companies that he didn't like. Sony, Apple, Orbitz, zzzzzzzzzz...

Boring. Try again.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + S710a

Future editorials
freakout @ 7/19/2007 7:21:43 PM #
Stopped being funny when he started disagreeing with you, you mean? :P

Just to keep fueling this pitiful fire because it amuses me so:

Evidence? You said the iPhone has a clumsy interface. You're a ****ing moron. You're wrong. Its interface is its biggest advantage

Yep, the interface which you can't touch, can't feel, and must stare at to make sure you're hitting the right thing. The phone that doesn't have a hang up button. Wow Apple, thanks for revolutionizing the phone!!!! Where would we be without your stunning vision? What's next? Cars without wheels, maybe? Or perhaps mice with only one button! (oh, wait...)

Anyhoo, if you hated this article, you're really not going to like what I have planned for the future. Topics will include:

Why Vista Will Save PCs
DRM Is Good For You
Apple's Negative Effect on Modern Product Design
Mac Users Scientifically Proven Bad In Bed
Governments Should Filter The Internet
Small Penis Syndrome: An Objective Analysis of Republican Voters
Buying An Apple - Your Guide to a Second-Class iLife
Steve Jobs: Kitten Abortionist or Puppy Fiddler?

360 comments ain't nothin' on what we've got planned....

Hugs 'n kisses, Bosco.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: You're crazy.
MrWise @ 3/18/2009 9:53:24 PM #
Yep, the interface which you can't touch, can't feel, and must stare at to make sure you're hitting the right thing. The phone that doesn't have a hang up button.

Actually... Douchebag, the top left button, if you press it once, will end a call, or forward to voicemail a incoming call. I'd say RTFM, but you obviously have never used a iPhone.

Or perhaps mice with only one button! (oh, wait...)
If you go into the settings on a apple, you can set it up so you can right click without using any wacky keyboard shortcuts. Again, you are a moron, go back to kindergarden, learn to use google. :)

Anyhoo, if you hated this article, you're really not going to like what I have planned for the future. Topics will include:

~~~

Yeah, okay, we all get it, the writer of this article is a troll. Go back in your cave.
RE: You're crazy.
MrWise @ 3/18/2009 10:54:08 PM #
I have to admit, I probably know alot more about the Treo 680, 750, Centro, and several other iPhones seeing as I'm a Technician who works with these phones on a daily basis. I also at one point and time used to work for iPhone tech support. (And now a iPhone owner)

Phone:
No tactile feedback. That's interesting you point that out as a "requirement". I prefer the touchscreen alot more then clunky buttons because it's faster. Ironically you point out that it takes so much longer to type out a contact. I always use favorite contacts. If your going to point out that the treo has speed dial, by the time you hold down the shortcut, and waited a few seconds, I'm already in my call.

iPhone: 1

Messaging:

I can type much faster on a keypad that requires me to touch with my fingertips vs. my fingernails. It's just a matter of learning what part of your finger touches the screen. iPhone already supports mms since day 1. All you had to do was send a email in the (telephone number)@(carrier email), and it works! In fact you can even add under a contact the email for that, easy! I already know why MMS wasn't added, you need to write in drivers to parse all sorts of media files like jpg's, png's, gif's, bmp's, and so on. MMS will be integrated in iPhone 3.0 software. (Which is by the way, going to be free for iPhone users!)

iPhone: 2

Email:

I've used Versamail, it's crap, it doesn't always work, and for the most part I always look for workarounds to getting email to function correctly, this usually involves third-party programs like "Express Mail", obviously a indication of how poorly Treo's function.. even after having a phone out for years! The iPhone on the other hand, handles practically everything, VPN, RSA, POP, Exchange, IMAP, whatever. It's in there, and there's no silly second party apps you need to get it working.

You make the point that there are other email apps for Treo, well that's true with the iPhone as well! And moreso, I can download any email application I like on the go, as long as it's below 10mb in size. Not so with the Treo...

iPhone: 3

Web: -skip- iPhone: 4
Camera: -skip- iPhone: 5

Media:

A2DP will be supported on the iPhone 3G with the iPhone 3.0 software, your lack of interest in iTunes is understandable because you know nothing of how to use it. However, it's worse when your trying to put music on a Treo, you can shove a cdrom into your computer, and iTunes will automatically import, and when setup right, will be copied onto your iphone automatically.

The idea of taking apart your Treo, taking the memory card out, finding some way to get mp3's either by buying, or ripping them yourself, and then putting the Treo back together with the memory card is both unrealistic, and cumbersome. Then again.. if you have a Treo, chances are you will never use it to play music. I think on that alone you can say the Treo doesn't compare.

iPhone: 6

Usability:

Reading this made no sense to me, you've pointed out already your a staunch believer in the swis army knife of big bumpy buttons all over a phone. The keyboard in a iPhone only shows up when you need it, the Treo's wastes space ALL the time. I don't get what's so much more intelligent than sliding to unlock, and then clicking a item on a screen that's 2-3 times larger than any of Treo's offerings.

Ending a call is so easy on the iPhone, all you do is press the top left button once, and it ends a call, regardless if your in a app, on the home screen, or getting a incoming call. Again, without needing to look at the iPhone I do this all the time in my car, or at work!

Pressing the home button is easy when needing to switch to a different application, and the phone automatically will close apps when memory is low. Not so with the Treo, at times, you may be required to pull the battery out to stop it from freezing.

Unlocking is alot easier than you make it out to be. Sliding is all you need to do. If you had a app open, it saves the previous state because it actually remembers!

iPhone: 7

Extras

iPhone comes with the app store as of iPhone 2.0 software, is updated roughly every 3 months, automatically backs up your phone by default, and has over 25,000 apps on the app store. Alot of these applications are free, or trials before you buy. Contrastingly, with Treo apps you have to download them, and every app I've seen worth downloading for Treo has costed money.

iPhone: 8

Hardware:

Treo's are bulky, every one of them is. Doesn't matter which one you have they are all boxy with round edges, and super thick. The iPhone is sleek, thin, and contains only three buttons you can easily feel by touch. Volume, Silent/Normal, and Power Off/End Call/Lock.

iPhone 9

Syncing -skip- iPhone 10

Price:

Since the influx of the iPhone 3G the price was subsidized into the 2 year contract. You forget to mention that you are paying $600 without a contract, you could even setup a iPhone as a Pay-As-You-Go phone. Something you could never do with a bulky Treo without handing alot of cash for alot less functionality. $199 is not alot to pay when you consider that a top of the line Treo for AT&T is a Palm Centro with 64mb of memory, a tiny screen, support for a 4GB card, with Edge service.. not even 3G support.

Contrastingly, iPhone comes with 8GB internal storage, and now they sell iPhone 3G can be bought as a refurb with a $100 discount! Now that is cheap.. Verdict: 11 iPhone, Treo 0

The Palm Pre may mix things up a bit, but as it stands, the iPhone wins, not only in functionality, but also for sales. That should speak for something;

"The top handset models in rank order, based on unit sales in [2008] Q3, were as follows:

1. Apple iPhone 3G
2. Motorola RAZR V3 (all models)
3. RIM Blackberry Curve (all models)
4. LG Rumor
5. LG enV2"

RE: You're crazy.
twrock @ 3/19/2009 1:54:16 AM #
You might know a lot about a whole lot of things, but did you think that resurrecting an almost two year old thread was the "wisest" use of your time?

Come into the present and argue with Tim (freakout) in the here-and-now. He's still got plenty to say about iPhone, but at least you'll be arguing about the different devices as they now are.

"twrock is infamous around these parts" (from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: You're crazy.
freakout @ 3/19/2009 4:40:45 AM #
twrock:
but did you think that resurrecting an almost two year old thread was the "wisest" use of your time?

Thanks for saving me the trouble of typing that myself, Ron...

MrWise: I really can't be bothered responding point-for-point - I already did way more of that than could be considered healthy when I first wrote this piece - but there's one thing I really can't let slide:

your lack of interest in iTunes is understandable because you know nothing of how to use it.

Ohoho. No, no no no no no. My lack of interest in iTunes is because it's a poorly designed, bloated piece of crap that runs slower than a wet week even on my dual-core system. It's purely personal preference. I've tried to use it many times and always wound up running screaming for the hills. It's rubbish.

As for the rest, you're listing stuff that's in iPhone OS 3.0, and other bits and pieces that were added after launch. Hardly fair to contrast what I wrote only a day or two after iDay with what's available today.

One last thing: sales figures don't prove nothin'. It's a point I've made many times but bears repeating: if popularity proved quality, McDonald's would be gourmet cuisine and Britney Spears would be the Beethoven of our generation.

RE: You're crazy.
jca666us @ 3/19/2009 4:57:39 AM #
>Ohoho. No, no no no no no. My lack of interest in iTunes is because it's >
>a poorly designed, bloated piece of crap that runs slower than a wet
>week even on my dual-core system. It's purely personal preference. I've
>tried to use it many times and always wound up running screaming for
>the hills. It's rubbish.

Hack,

Considering you're not a software developer, what do you know about designing anything? As you say, "it's purely personal preference" - it's also bias.

itunes is worse than Palm's sync software? Now that's funny...

>As for the rest, you're listing stuff that's in iPhone OS 3.0, and other bits
>and pieces that were added after launch. Hardly fair to contrast what I
>wrote only a day or two after iDay with what's available today.

Hack, it's fair because it illustrates your stupidity.

>One last thing: sales figures don't prove nothin'. It's a point I've made
>many times but bears repeating: if popularity proved quality, McDonald's
>would be gourmet cuisine and Britney Spears would be the Beethoven of
>our generation.

Sales figures count if a company barely has it's head above water. Palm can't make cash with stock schemes and cash infusions. At some point they'll need to earn it by selling popular devices.

RE: You're crazy.
SeldomVisitor @ 3/19/2009 5:26:10 AM #
> ...At some point they'll need to earn it by selling popular devices.

Given the lack of knowledge about the Pre outside early-adopter circles, it'll be VERY interesting to see what sell-through is like after the first rush.


RE: You're crazy.
twrock @ 3/19/2009 7:43:43 AM #
freakout wrote:
My lack of interest in iTunes is because it's a poorly designed, bloated piece of crap....

You know, I had the same reaction to iTunes. My son was the first one in the house to install iTunes and rave about it. I figured, hey, the kid might be on to something here, so I installed it too. I hated iTunes. "Bloated" is a good description.

Hey, but what do I know? I get my thrills by running Linux on five year old laptops so that I can imagine that the amazing speed is because I have a really new and powerful system. And that's even with the eye candy turned on (Compiz).

"Vista? We don't need no stinking Vista." (And I meant no offence to Kris with that comment; everyone has their cross to bear.) ;-)

"twrock is infamous around these parts" (from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

Is this a joke?

heavyduty @ 7/4/2007 2:59:48 AM #
I re-read portions of the article several times, looking for the punchline that would confirm that the article was a joke. But there is none, and that's just scary.

But I guess that's the kind of customer attitude that keeps Palm floating, even after all the neglect and ignorance they have showed for the last several years.....

Palm Vx (a classic) -> Palm 505 (*yawn*) -> Dell Axim (slooow...) -> Palm TE (great) -> Qtek 9090 (great idea, lousy platform) -> Nokia 6630 (a toy) -> iMate SP3i (not bad) -> Nokia 9300 (can't sync notes!!) -> Treo 650 (awesome) -> hw6915 (almost perfect)

RE: Is this a joke?
freakout @ 7/4/2007 3:22:02 AM #
Feel free to dispute my conclusions. iPhone has a kick-ass web browser, a great media solution, impressive hardware and awesome graphics. But the Treo is a superior phone, a superior messenger, and a more useful device to have in your pocket. It Just Does More - and for a significantly cheaper price.
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