iPhone, the morning after

My Treo stopped syncing in January and I immediately started missing all my meetings. I need the device to ring every few seconds to remind me to blink and breathe, so life without a properly synced agenda was awful — just ask my colleagues. Guppy brain.

A Palm user for the past eight years, I made the switch to an iPhone 3G a few weeks ago. I’ve had one palm or another since I was gifted an S300 and became (shockingly) a productive member of society. I vaguely want to give the iPhone a fair shot, aware that my bias toward familiarity is inevitable, however there are a few things about the iPhone that totally and completely suck.

10 15 things I hate about you.

  1. Keyboard. A massive indescribable time sink.
  2. Default search makes me want to beg forgiveness and ask my Palm to take me back. I know, the Palm doesn’t sync, we’re not good for each other, but iPhone search bar is that bad.

    Happily, there is a solution. Yahoo! search for iPhone totally rocks. Auto complete, keyword suggestions, and search history are totally fab. Don’t understand the importance of this? See rant #1. The UI is slick without being gratuitous. It allows me to get stuff done faster.

    iphone by kitcowan
    iphone by kitcowan

    My suggestion, save search as an icon on the desktop so you never have to use the nasty default search bar.

    Easy 4 step solution

    1. Navigate to http://search.yahoo.com/i/ in Safari
    2. Click +
    3. Choose Add to Home Screen.
    4. Press and hold the icon that appears until it wiggles, then slide it onto the first screen.

    Voila, even more time saved and you don’t have to deal with the absurdly awful default search.

    Could it be expanded to search appointments, contacts, memos, songs, sms, email, etc.? I can only hope.

  3. No text select, copy, or paste. To understand my pain, see rant #1.
  4. No menus. No common, standard way to find anything including what you can do within an app. Yay! Relearning everything for each new app is super fun…
  5. Safari doesn’t remember passwords or auto-complete any form fields previously used. To understand my pain, see rant #1.
  6. Horizontal scrolling. Text is often too small to see or too wide to fit on the screen. Websites need to find ways to easily toggle to a linear view for iPhone users (let the user choose). If you use YUI grids this is dead simple.
  7. Calls fail as often as not.
  8. Not enough bars and dropped calls.
  9. All this finger swooping UI action makes for great commercials, but between that and the track pad on my MacBook Pro, my finger hurts!
  10. Swooping fingers mean the screen is grubby and greasy always.
  11. Conversations! Google invented the idea, but nobody is getting it right. Fundamentally sms, email, twitter, chat, blog posts, flickr images and comments, meeting invites, tumblr, etc are all variations on conversations with a more or less wide audience. I am super annoyed to need to check all over the place to get the same info, and even more annoyed that each device requires different set of apps and procedures. Recall the guppy brain. I want a kind of Uber-Adium product.
  12. Battery life.
  13. Finding contacts, or really anything (See rant #2) – Sure, scrolling is cool and the fab UI effects like the bouncing back are really cute the first time you see them. But ultimately, I’m trying to find contact details, not play with a jazzy interface. Palm allows you to search for first letter of the first name plus a few letters of the last name. For example, John Smith can quickly be found by searching for “jsmi”. This quickly matches things exclusively and avoids scrolling through massive lists of potential matches. iPhone does not have contact search which makes it nearly impossible to look up a number and safely make a call while driving.
  14. Crashing. Reminiscent of Windows constant reboots. I thought I was done with all that?
  15. The iPhone is not a productivity tool. I want to get in, get the info I need, and get out, so I can live my life. This device was clearly designed by someone who imagined users sitting around staring lovingly, and swooping through screens while crooning “my precious”. Get over yourselves, I bought the thing because my Treo wouldn’t sync anymore.

That said, there are some things I really like about the iPhone, but this is a rant, so I’ll save that for another time.