iPhone: to buy or not to buy

Apple iPhoneThat seems to today’s biggest Shakespearean dilemma for internet/phone-dependent networkers, gear-sluts and geeks alike (whether I fit in one, two or all three of those groups of people is subject matter for a whole other post)…

I absolutely ADORE the looks and feel of the iPhone. The user interface is just so easy, so great, so fast, so friendly, so slick: in one word so Apple!

The iPhone’s appeal to me consists primarily in knowing that the synchronization with OS X (which is vital to me!) is flawless when it comes to Address Book and iCal. I actually haven’t found out whether iPhone supports the Address Book’s groups and iCal’s categories but, considering it is Apple, I am sure that you can safely assume all the data will be in sync.

Having both Wi-Fi and EDGE internet on the phone is priceless. The good thing is that if you don’t need push email and you are happy with checking your emails every once in a while when you want to, if you live in a city like NY with hotspots or open router’s signals at every corner, you could easily just have a WiFi-enabled phone and not have to worry about paying for a $20/mo unlimited data plan on top of your voice plan.

The iPhone does have all of that but has some major issues, first and foremost, locking you into having to use a provider like AT&T (notoriously bad with voice and slow with data not to mention horrible with customer service) with plans that aren’t flexible and with the HUGE disadvantage of not being able to even stick in another SIM when you really need to (I go to Europe a lot so I have SIM cards for other countries that I would not be able to use ever again if I had an iPhone).

There are several things that the Apple iPhone lacks and that are making me strongly consider buying a different product (or waiting for the next generation iPhone).

Ever since the advent of smartphones (when PDA’s and phones became one) everyone had different expectations and needs from the device of choice. I have been a proud owner of some of the most ground-breaking devices this rapidly evolving market has seen (most notably Sony Ericsson P800 and P900) but recently I found myself using a BlackBerry, which has some nice things to it but which I hate for the most part (the Mac synchronization is crappy and the life-less one-column no-scripting-supported internet is awful – they call that SSR for Small Screen Rendering, I call it SSR for So Shitty Rendering!). Everyone’s bar has been raised and my most important requirements of today are:

1. ability to synchronize at least with Mac OS X’s Address Book and the iCal calendar

2. ability to check IMAP e-mail via Wi-Fi and EDGE/UMTS

3. unlocked (or unlockable) so I can use my European SIM when traveling

4. GSM (wait… are people seriously even still considering different networks?)

5. Wi-Fi (surfing the internet faster AND not have to have a data plan unless I really want to)

6. Bluetooth

7. good battery life (everyone except SonyEricsson seems to have forgotten that all together!)

8. real internet with JavaScripting, Flash and such (as opposed to SSR!)

Believe it or not, even stopping at only two of these eight requirements, there are just a handful of devices that pass the test! I looked into all of them: P990, Nokia N95, HTC Touch, HTC 8525, HTC Dash, HTC Wing, Smasung Blackjack, LG Prada and many more… For the longest time I was looking into getting a P990, since I know that phone is rock solid and I owned its two predecessors, but unfortunately I just recently found out that the latest Symbian OS that it runs, just do not talk to Apple at all! HTC stands out among its competition for having some of the most feature-packed, slick looking and versatile devices… Talented guitarist Robbie Angelucci (who pretty much has my same requirements list) uses a Dash phone and he almost talked me into buying one… I have only one major issue with all of these HTC devices: they run on Windoze!!! I have used Microsucks Windows in the past but I have been on a Mac for years and would NEVER EVER go back (and I dare anyone who has used a Mac for more than 6 months to say they would!). Although issues with sync-ing Mac OS X and Windows Mobile 5 & 6 seem to be addressed and taken care of by MarkSpace.com, the question still remains: do I really wanna have a reliable Mac and rely on a Windows operating system for my day to day mobile connectivity and productivity? Hell no! So I am still waiting and trying to decide…

At the end of the day, it would seem that when iPhone v2 (or even just a European iPhone v1) I just might have to get one… in the meantime, if I change phone, I’ll let you know!

3 thoughts on “iPhone: to buy or not to buy

  1. Steve Blue

    Wow Marc,

    You are correct that our opinions about the iPhone coincide in every way. I do like you r detailed analysis or your dream cell phone. I hope it becomes a reality in the future. I think the next iteration of the iPhone will be lower in price at least. But we will have to wait at least 2 years for multi wireless providers. Apple really screwed up with that aspect of their business model with the iPhone.

    Have you heard that ~500,000 iPhones were sold in the first weekend, but only ~160,000 were activated? I’m not certain of these numbers, but that means more people are walking around using the iPhone as a PDA than a cellphone, which is exactly what I’d be doing if I owned one.

    In the meanwhile, have you checked to see if the P990 is configurable with BitPim? I have had success synching my Mac with the LG Chocolate Flip VX8600 using BitPim. LG really dropped the ball not offering Apple plug and play support with their latest phones.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Steve Blue
    Admin / Creator

  2. admin Post author

    Thanks for your comment.
    I haven’t looked into BitPim but when I did now it seems like it is for CDMA phones (which I am not even remotely considering because it is such an old and US-only standard when compared to GSM). I am considering other phones (N95) and I have considered other phones (HTC Touch, Wing, Dash etc) which I scrapped because they run on Windoze… I guess I’ll wait and see… Maybe I’ll get a used P900 which runs Symbian OS 7 and therefore syncs with OS X via iSync and then I’ll just wait until the next iPhone generation… In the meantime I am sure there will also be much other cool phones coming out too.

  3. Jair-Rôhm


    I had the SE P910i over here. Not a bad phone. Not a great phone. As a long time Palm user, i just couldn’t deal with the sync problems with the SE and OSX. Not only that, i really missed the tidy power of the Palm Pilot. So i got a Treo. The only models available here in Sweden that i know of are the 650, 680 and 700. Syncronisation with the Mac is flawless. Not to mention hot SIM card swapping (i had to turn off my SE to switch cards) and pretty much everything on your list of ‘wants’. I’m really glad that i got away from SE. I’ve had tons of phones. Nokias, SEs, Siemens, Motorola, you name it. I’ve used Palm Pilots from the first Palm Pilot model. I have data on my Treo from 1997 carried over from my earliest Palm.

    I (like every other sane and reasonable person) think that the iPhone user interface is great. No one knows when they will be available here in Sweden. If nothing else, i hope that the user interface trickles down to the next generation of the Treo.


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