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As competition grows, Apple's iPhone still has App Store advantage

post #1 of 138
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In the face of new competitors like Google's Nexus One, Apple's iPhone still has the advantage with more than 100,000 applications and 3 billion downloads from its App Store.

Officially announced Tuesday, the Nexus One has been dubbed by Google as a "superphone," one the company hopes will expand the Android platform and slow some of the momentum of Apple's iPhone. But in a note to investors this week, analyst Mark Moskowitz of J.P. Morgan said it's the iPhone App Store that will keep it ahead of its peers.

"We continue to believe that Apple's iPhone should benefit from the partial buffer of its App Store, which is replete with a developer base seemingly more focused on mobile applications for the iPhone versus other competitive products," Moskowitz said.

He noted that mobile apps help to define the user experience, as customers now expect to use their smartphones for voice, e-mail, games, Internet, music and more. As the market leader in terms of apps, Apple has a distinct advantage in offering the software users have come to expect on their phone.

Similarly, Gene Munster, senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray, said Wednesday that though Google's Nexus One will present increased competition for the iPhone, it likely will not slow the momentum of Apple's handset.

"Apple's App Store has over 100k apps, while Android offers 20k," Munster said. "Internationally, the iPhone is available in 77 countries, while Android devices are available in 48 countries."

Android, Google's mobile operating system, was revealed this week to have user interest and satisfaction approaching the levels of the iPhone, according to a new study. Of those who plan to buy a smartphone in the next three months, 21 percent are interested in an Android device, while 28 percent would prefer the iPhone.

Apple's commanding lead in the mobile software space has led to a blistering pace of downloads from its App Store. Tuesday, Apple announced that its App Store downloads topped 3 billion. It was just 99 days before that when Apple announced the 2 billion threshold had been crossed. Over that span, applications were downloaded at a rate of more than 10.1 million per day.

One department where Google's newly announced Nexus One and others do have an advantage over the iPhone, however, is the total cost of ownership. BillShrink.com put together a comparison of the monthly plan costs with the Nexus One on T-Mobile U.S. versus the iPhone 3GS on AT&T. For an unlimited plan, Nexus One users would pay $2,579, compared to $3,799 over two years for the iPhone on AT&T. The average AT&T iPhone plan runs $2,839 over the 24-month period, while the Nexus One and T-Mobile cost $2,339.
post #2 of 138
And UI advantage, and iTunes advantage, and the One-device-one-OS closed, controlled system advantage, etc.
post #3 of 138
Number of a available apps is meaningless. of the 100000 apps on the iPhone, only a handful are truly useful. Most are merely links to websites or fart apps.

And having TOO many to choose from makes it more difficult to weed out the crap. The quantity on the iPhone is starting to become a problem more than a benefit.

That being said, the iPhone is still the easiest to use, by far. The other phones do the same things, but nowhere near as gracefully.
post #4 of 138
The lack of voice-input in all text entry fields, multi-tasking, user-replaceable battery, user-upgradable memory, competent carrier, and cost-effective call/data plans are huge detractors for the iPhone.

The tiny screen size and low resolution don't help either.

Apple has some serious catching-up to do if it wants to compete in the future.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #5 of 138
Has anybody seen good battery life comparisons when running AIM or Google Talk in the background on the Android and WebOS phones? I'm curious if multi-tasking will make it to the iPhone next round...
post #6 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post


And having TOO many to choose from makes it more difficult to weed out the crap.

There are filters such as most popular, top paid, top grossing, etc. Overall and for each category. Chances are, if it's a "top app", a lot of users liked it, ergo it's probably good.

You should refer to those when trying to weed out apps. It's pretty simple.

If you want to find a particular app then use the above in conjunction with search.
post #7 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

Number of a available apps is meaningless. of the 100000 apps on the iPhone, only a handful are truly useful. Most are merely links to websites or fart apps.

And having TOO many to choose from makes it more difficult to weed out the crap. The quantity on the iPhone is starting to become a problem more than a benefit.

That being said, the iPhone is still the easiest to use, by far. The other phones do the same things, but nowhere near as gracefully.

While too many does make it hard, there are quite a few interesting and innovative applications for the iPhone. I'm sure the same holds true for Android, but from a developer's perspective your chances of monetizing an application are grossly inferior based on total sales and market penetration.
post #8 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

There are filters such as most popular, top paid, top grossing, etc. Overall and for each category. Chances are, if it's a "top app", a lot of users liked it, ergo it's probably good.

You should refer to those when trying to weed out apps. It's pretty simple.

Just because a lot of people download a fart app or a flashlight app does not make it a "must-have".
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #9 of 138
So total cost is the same for Verizon and AT&T.
Comparing cost of AT&T to T-Mobile isnt a good comparison.

AT&T service is Excellent , T-Mobile Network is Good , when you can get service.

Oh and we can Multi-task with an iPhone.

Have more Apps then we need is a good thing no matter how you look at it.

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post #10 of 138
I'm not convinced that the appstore advantage is quite as big of an advantage as first made out. As been mentioned previously, the number of usable apps is small. The upshot of this is that while it might take a long time for a competitor to reach the sheer numbers that the app store has, it won't take nearly as long to build a critical mass of useful applications.

Secondly, the low cost of the apps in the app store is actually going to be a disadvantage in this case. Many people wouldn't move over to the Mac not necessarily because of the volume of software they have on their pc's, but rather the financial investment in those apps. However, if you have 20 apps on your iphone of which you've spent $15 to acquire, you are far more likely to leave them behind for what you consider a better platform even if you were forced to spend another $15 to acquire those same apps.

Hopefully Apple is treading carefully here. The app store definitely gives them a leg up, but it's certainly not anything approaching an insurmountable lead.
post #11 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

And UI advantage, and iTunes advantage, and the One-device-one-OS closed, controlled system advantage, etc.

And the iPod advantage. I think that the fact that the iPhone is an iPod is important for many people. The others have music players and there are ways to use iTunes, perhaps, but for the average user the itunes / ipod integration is important.

On that note - I hope the next iteration of the iphone / itunes software will make synching simpler. With gmail / mobileMe and iTunes synching it is confusing to synch up multiple address books, calendars and email accounts
post #12 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rind View Post

So total cost is the same for Verizon and AT&T.
Comparing cost of AT&T to T-Mobile isnt a good comparison.

AT&T service is Excellent , T-Mobile Network is Good , when you can get service.

Oh and we can Multi-task with an iPhone.

There is no multi-task on the iPhone.

AT&T's service is absolutely terrible. Just listen to the millions complaining about drop calls and atrocious 3g coverage.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #13 of 138
All that takes us back to the dusty old question: why is Ubuntu incapable of beating Mac OS in marketshare?

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post #14 of 138
As is typical, the analysis fails to identify one unique advantage that the iPhone has over the competition: a sister device, the iPod touch.

For every three iPhones, there are two iPod touches. That's an enormous user base of a much younger demographic (13-25) who are basically training for the iPhone. iPod touch users download considerably more apps than iPhone users as well.
post #15 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Just because a lot of people download a fart app or a flashlight app does not make it a "must-have".

Depends on the category it's in. And there's something called ratings.

Seriously, a friggin 10-year old could understand it. The average iPhone user isn't exactly up in arms over this non-existent problem.

Just use the system that's there, LOL. You'll have a much easier time finding best-in-category apps.
post #16 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

There is no multi-task on the iPhone.

AT&T's service is absolutely terrible. Just listen to the millions complaining about drop calls and atrocious 3g coverage.

Actually there is multitasking. You can talk while you do other stuff. Some apps, like mail and safari continue to run even when you switch away (try having the mail app fetch mail and while it still says "checking for mail" switch away to another app. If there is mail there, it will download it and do whatever alert you have enabled. Minor examples but there non the less.
post #17 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

Actually there is multitasking. You can talk while you do other stuff. Some apps, like mail and safari continue to run even when you switch away (try having the mail app fetch mail and while it still says "checking for mail" switch away to another app. If there is mail there, it will download it and do whatever alert you have enabled. Minor examples but there non the less.

As a percentage of total apps capable of multitasking, 0.002% is not going to cut it.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #18 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

Number of a available apps is meaningless. of the 100000 apps on the iPhone, only a handful are truly useful. Most are merely links to websites or fart apps.

And having TOO many to choose from makes it more difficult to weed out the crap. The quantity on the iPhone is starting to become a problem more than a benefit.

Yes but proportionality would suggest that Android has a similar percentage of "fluff" apps that are fairly trivial and at only 20k apps that's still not a whole lot of choice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

The lack of voice-input in all text entry fields, multi-tasking, user-replaceable battery, user-upgradable memory, competent carrier, and cost-effective call/data plans are huge detractors for the iPhone.

The tiny screen size and low resolution don't help either.

Apple has some serious catching-up to do if it wants to compete in the future.

Multitasking
User replaceable battery
Tiny low rez screen

What PC rag did you pull this up from? These are mainly talking points that come from the press and not the consumers at large.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

Actually there is multitasking. You can talk while you do other stuff. Some apps, like mail and safari continue to run even when you switch away (try having the mail app fetch mail and while it still says "checking for mail" switch away to another app. If there is mail there, it will download it and do whatever alert you have enabled. Minor examples but there non the less.

Of course ...anyone with a iPhone or a Touch knows that it's "3rd party ISV" that don't have access to multitasking. Apple's apps multitask pretty well. I will frequently open Mail up and then close it back down because I know it's still going to fetch my mail or do something similar with Safari.

I'm sure Apple will go multitasking someday but they will seek to mitigate risks from poorly coded 3rd party apps and work on the battery management.
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post #19 of 138
Does anyone know how changing screen sizes and resolutions will affect coding for applications?
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #20 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

Actually there is multitasking. You can talk while you do other stuff. Some apps, like mail and safari continue to run even when you switch away (try having the mail app fetch mail and while it still says "checking for mail" switch away to another app. If there is mail there, it will download it and do whatever alert you have enabled. Minor examples but there non the less.

Correct, there is multitaskinhg for native apple iPhone apps. But, what you don't have in the iPhone is multitasking for 3rd party apps.
post #21 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

All that takes us back to the dusty old question: why is Ubuntu incapable of beating Mac OS in marketshare?

If Ubuntu had Steve Jobs it would.

Apple has risen from the dead, don't forget that.
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post #22 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

User replaceable battery

What PC rag did you pull this up from? These are mainly talking points that come from the press and not the consumers at large.

Overheard at an Apple store in New York:

Customer: If I run out of battery and I am not near an outlet, how do I change the battery in the iPhone?

Apple Genius: You can't do that, but you don't need to. The iPhone has a very long battery life, so you won't need to change batteries.

Customer: That doesn't answer my question. {conversation continues}
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #23 of 138
You're both right. There is currently no way for a third-party to submit an app that runs in the background. IMHO, opening up the whole platform to background apps is a terrible idea. You'll have no idea what's running on the thing and consuming resources or power or trying to monitor you. On the other hand, there are some serious uses that could really benefit.

To solve this, I think Apple should create a second-tier developer program that allows one to go through a more rigorous (but well-defined) process to get an app approved for background use.
post #24 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

You're both right. There is currently no way for a third-party to submit an app that runs in the background. IMHO, opening up the whole platform to background apps is a terrible idea. You'll have no idea what's running on the thing and consuming resources or power or trying to monitor you. On the other hand, there are some serious uses that could really benefit.

To solve this, I think Apple should create a second-tier developer program that allows one to go through a more rigorous (but well-defined) process to get an app approved for background use.

At least you have the option and choice to do so on other phones. The iPhone is locked in.

Not sure about making an even more rigorous approval process, since the one already being used is severely mishandled and non-transparent.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #25 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Does anyone know how changing screen sizes and resolutions will affect coding for applications?

The API today allows you to query the device for its screen resolution and respond accordingly. If you use just Interface Builder and UIKit, most of it doesn't care that much about pixels. So well-written apps should require minimal to no changes. However, I've seen a lot of code out there that hard-codes 320x480, so a lot of developers will have to update.

But it's not rocket-science. If Apple announced a new SDK in January for a device in March, I would expect almost all apps that are currently being maintained to be able to make that deadline.
post #26 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post


Apple has some serious catching-up to do if it wants to compete in the future.

iPhones are selling like hotcakes, who does Apple have to catch up to?
post #27 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

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post #28 of 138
Agree that the number of apps is meaningless. It's the quality and usefulness of the apps that's important. I would imagine that all the top quality apps on the iPhone are probably also available for Android by now. I don't think Apple should push the 100,000 apps too much anymore as most people are aware that the vast majority of those apps are seldom actually used. Apple's 'There's an app for that' adverts were quite effective I thought.

Multi-tasking might be Apple's Achilles heel once again as Android offers this. But I wonder what the real-world affect on battery charge would be? If not multi-tasking, I would really like to be able to pop back and fourth to the previous app once I close the current app. It'd be nice if that were configurable somehow.

Also, the number of downloads also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I have loads of apps on the Mac which haven't been on my iPhone for well over a year - and most of those were free apps I downloaded out of curiosity.

Googles voice-to-text looks really useful. If the accuracy is very good that in itself could be a switching reason for me. But then again, I would have to think about the money I have invested in iPhone apps that will do me no good if I switch! I would also have to think about how my iTunes library would be affected - well, it wouldn't work at all.
post #29 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I will frequently open Mail up and then close it back down because I know it's still going to fetch my mail or do something similar with Safari.

I wonder if anyone else has this same experience with iPhone mail. I have a few mail accounts on the phone but my main business account is an IMAP linux server with lightning fast internet connection and hardware. Only on the iPhone it delays a long time to connect to the server no matter if I'm on AT&T or wifi. All the other MacBook Pros iMacs PC etc connect to this same account in milliseconds. What is up with the iPhone?

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post #30 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

As a percentage of total apps capable of multitasking, 0.002% is not going to cut it.

The apps capable of multitasking also happen to be the most used apps on the iPhone, so they represent a much greater percentage of the total time the iPod touch/iPhone is in use. Push notifications work quite well for some things without the drawback of performance losses and battery life lost. The overall software ecosystem that the iPhone provides more than makes up for the lack of multitasking. Would multitasking make iPhone OS better? Yes. Does multitasking make other mobile operating systems better than iPhone OS? Not a chance.

Furthermore, multitasking will come to the iPhone (probably in iPhone OS 4.0) and when it is, it will be done right (it might be limited to the new, likely dual core phones in June though).
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post #31 of 138
Display size change problem is kinda Y2K that. Can't program - get it right out of here.

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post #32 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

iPhones are selling like hotcakes, who does Apple have to catch up to?

Catch up in terms of adding the features I specified earlier:

Higher-resolution screen
Wider/longer screen by dimensions
Voice-input in all text entry fields
Multi-tasking
User-replaceable battery
User-upgradable memory
Competent carrier
Cost-effective call/data plans
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #33 of 138
While I appreciate what BillShrink is trying to do in boiling down the smartphone comparisons to a table of salient features, there are a number of errors:
  1. Number of Apps is outdated
  2. iPhone does multitasking, but to date only with Apple's Apps
  3. For some reason, a 5GB data cap is mentioned on both the unlimited and average plans. Where did that come from? And only the Nexus One has "unlimited data".
  4. How are they defining "Average"? A mid-point price or minute plan? Almost everyone I know has the minimum 39.99 voice plan, plus $30 data, plus some texting fee. Total ~ $75-$90 / month

And of course as other posters have mentioned, there are far more details not listed here that differentiate the phones / plans.

Again, I appreciate what BillShrink is doing, but unfortunately less informed customers rely heavily on these types of charts to make a purchasing decision.
post #34 of 138
[ .... Apple has some serious catching-up to do if it wants to compete in the future.[/QUOTE]



< ... rolls eyes ....>
post #35 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Catch up in terms of adding the features I specified earlier:

Higher-resolution screen
Wider/longer screen by dimensions
Voice-input in all text entry fields
Multi-tasking
User-replaceable battery
User-upgradable memory
Competent carrier
Cost-effective call/data plans

I love it. Every 3 months someone comes out with a new iPhone killer. The next one will have a 5 ghz processor and a 10 megapixel camera. But like Microsoft, they fail to realize the differentiating factor is the software. Who cares if your pc has a 50 ghz processor when it still runs Windows? When will they learn that people love the iPhone because of the experience it provides not how much memory Apple can cram into it.

And like clockwork, some dimwit comes along claiming that Apple needs to catch up... Pay attention to units sold, revenue reports, and customer satisfaction surveys then get back to me.
post #36 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post


Apple has some serious catching-up to do if it wants to compete in the future.

Catching up to what? Apple sets the standard. We've already been told that while the Nexus One is a decent phone, it isn't an "iPhone Killer."

Seems like everyone else has to continue trying to "catch up."

Do you think Apple is sitting around doing nothing?

No one, but NO ONE, can manage Apple's sweet-spot combination of hardware + software. Anyone can slap a bigger camera on a phone and give it a faster processor. That's actually less than half the battle. Apple has gestalt. No one else does. And that stuff, when accomplished right, is pure magic.
post #37 of 138
I'm seeing some very odd, and untrue remarks here.

first if all, most of the apps in the store are not fart apps, or links to websites. The vast majority are actual programs. It's been independently stated by Pogue and others that on average, Apple's app store apps are more useful, and better written that Android apps, and it's true. Also, there are serious business apps in the store from dozens of major companies, not true for Android yet. In addition, the amount of hardware useable for the iPhone/Touch is amazing, and this includes profession equipment in a number of categories. Almost zero for Android.

While such a high rez screen is nice, I question its actual usefulness on such a small screen, I'd like to see Apple move to a higher rez, but 800 x xxx seems to much. Perhaps 640 x xxx would be better suited.

Still, now that it seems almost 100% that Apple will have a tablet early this year, with a much higher rez screen, it seems likely that the new iPhone/Touch will have higher rez screens as well, though by how much is impossible to say.

As far as the price of the plans go, yes, both Sprint and T-Mobile are cheaper. Both are struggling severely, and so are hoping that cheaper plans will help them. Surprisingly, they are not. Sprint continues to bleed customers despite the tech writers dream phone, the Pre. T-Mobile isn't gaining customers, and is therefor also losing marketshare.

In addition, for those who think that Verizon's Ads about 3G coverage hit home, I point you to T-Mobile's coverage map. See the 3G? Yes, look hard, and you will see it. In fact, their regular coverage is less than AT&T's 3G coverage. Not very good. They HAVE to offer cheaper plans, because you are getting so much less from them.

http://coverage.t-mobile.com/default.aspx?MapType=Data

And if you buy this phone to use on AT&T, needing an AT&T sim card, you don't get ANY 3G coverage, only EDGE and lower. Well, so much for their store for an unlocked phone.
post #38 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

At least you have the option and choice to do so on other phones. The iPhone is locked in.

Not sure about making an even more rigorous approval process, since the one already being used is severely mishandled and non-transparent.

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post #39 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

There is no multi-task on the iPhone.

AT&T's service is absolutely terrible. Just listen to the millions complaining about drop calls and atrocious 3g coverage.

Millions? Did you know that 82% of all stats are made up on the spot? Or what that 17%?

Personally, have not had a dropped call in years. I suspect if Apple had released with TMobile that there would have been many of the same issues when the network was brought to it's knees. Grass is always greener on the other side.
post #40 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Catch up in terms of adding the features I specified earlier:

Higher-resolution screen
Wider/longer screen by dimensions

Yup. This is a no-brainer for the next iPhone.

Quote:
Voice-input in all text entry fields

This is a nice-to-have feature, but not really a requirement.

Quote:
Multi-tasking

I assume you mean "Third-Party App Multitasking", as the iPhone already does multi-tasking. Apple will probably have to double the RAM again to make this practical, but that shouldn't be a problem. I think the bigger problem is how to keep the platform usable, simple, secure, and functional when you don't know what's running on your phone-- those being much more important factors than "multi-tasking".

Quote:
User-replaceable battery
User-upgradable memory

Nope. These will lower capabilities since you'll have to include the design/implementation of the replace-ability in the cost and case design. Almost no one uses this functionality today and I don't see it being very big over the next year either. I suspect most Android users are going to shove a large card in there and forget about it, as well.

Quote:
Competent carrier

AT&T is competent and has a very fast network (much faster 3G than Verizon). There have definitely been complaints in the biggest cities... we'll see how Verizon fares when they get the same level of smartphone traffic that AT&T has.

Quote:
Cost-effective call/data plans

Haven't seen much difference between the various carriers plans, myself.
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