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Inside iPhone 2.0: the new iPhone 3G Software

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
With the iPhone 3G hardware, Apple significantly improved upon last year's original iPhone. It also extended many of the benefits of its newest model to existing users in the form of the iPhone 2.0 software update (which is also available to current iPod touch users for a nominal $10 fee). This segment presents what's new in the 2.0 software, what hasn't changed, what's missing, what's wrong, and how it compares to other smartphone software platforms on the market.

Inside iPhone 2.0 series outline and publication dates:

Inside iPhone 2.0: the new iPhone 3G Hardware (Last Thursday)
Inside iPhone 2.0: iPhone 3G vs. other smartphones (Last Friday)
Inside iPhone 2.0: the new iPhone 3G Software (Today)
Inside iPhone 2.0:Â*iPhone OS vs. other mobile platforms (Tuesday)
Inside iPhone 2.0: the new iPhone App Store (Wednesday)
Inside iPhone 2.0: MobileMe push messaging (Thursday)

iPhone OS X 1.0

When the iPhone arrived last year, its software set a new high water mark for smartphones. It delivered a rich, desktop class operating system that borrowed heavily from Apple's Mac OS X, allowing it to support Âdesktop-class applications such as Mail and the Safari browser that were far ahead of those offered on existing smartphones. The iPhone OS uses essentially the same Mach/BSD kernel, UNIX userland, and Cocoa development frameworks as Apple's Mac OS X computers, although many aspects of the software are customized for the unique environment of the device.

Less Than: The iPhone's software has to fit within a gigabyte of storage space, which means that Apple pared away lots of legacy (such as the Carbon-centric frameworks of Mac OS X designed to support Mac software from the 90s, including Adobe's Creative Suite and Microsoft's Office apps), as well as support for duplicative third party APIs (such Sun's Java, which is largely a duplication of Cocoa; POSIX X11; and even support for web browser API plugins such as Adobe Flash).

Greater Than: While Apple left out some portions of the full Mac OS X when developing the iPhone OS, it also took the opportunity to create clean, new implementations of existing components. The QuickTime architecture of Mac OS X Tiger was optimized into a highly efficient, playback-only system targeted toward the modern H.264 video codec standard, giving the iPhone the ability to watch everything from YouTube to iTunes downloads to online podcasts to home movies. This optimized playback system has since been reused in the development of Snow Leopard, where it is referred to as QuickTime X.

The iPhone also prompted a redesign of the AppKit, the Mac OS X development framework used to create applications' graphical user interface. Its replacement, the mobile-optimized UIKit of the iPhone, was specifically designed to deliver a modern new user experience that included smooth animations to make the system feel extremely intuitive and Âreal, with heavy use of touch-friendly sliders and dials rather than the mouse-oriented pop-up and drop down menus, radio buttons, and other interface constructs Apple originally developed for the Macintosh desktop computer in the early 80s. Concepts from the iPhone's UIKit were also reused in Mac OS X Leopard to deliver Core Animation in order to bring the same highly animated interface enhancements to the desktop.

Apple's unique and luxurious opportunity to stop and rethink the technology and human interface of the iPhone resulted in a spectacular new jump in the state of the art in handheld mobile devices. Microsoft's WinCE and Windows Mobile and the Palm OS (both from the late 90s) had largely pushed forward a circa 1984 Mac-like, stylus driven interface that is simply unsuited to a small factor device, and neither is now in a position to radically update their platform to make it comparable to the iPhone's. Other phone platforms, from Symbian (a partnership between Nokia, Sony Ericcson, NTT DoCoMo, and others; it runs on the majority of phones worldwide) to RIM's BlackBerry, have largely evolved from humble origins as PDAs or pagers, greatly limiting the sophistication they can deliver now and into the future.

While Apple's incessant critics tried to invent calamity for the iPhone by harping on the potential of theoretical security exploits while lambasting both minor and significant omissions (including a lack of voice dialing, MMS, video recording, copy and paste, push messaging, and other missing elements), they failed to realize that Apple had delivered not just a product to sell in 2007, but a strong foundation to build upon over the next decade. Adding software features to iPhone 1.0 was clearly going to be a far easier task than retrofitting competing platforms to deliver a decent user interface, an efficient media playback architecture, rich development frameworks, and other features unique to the iPhone.

iPhone 2.0

Unappeasable critics and hopeful iPhone enthusiasts both had lists of desired improvements in hand when Apple revealed its priorities in the iPhone 2.0 announcement in March 2008. At the top was a software development kit for building third party applications, which will be discussed along with the App Store and leading mobile apps in the following segment. Significant improvements to the iPhone 2.0 software itself were also revealed. Most notably, the new software added push messaging compatible with Microsoft's ActiveSync and Exchange Server 2007, a feature designed to position it favorably against the popular BlackBerry BES messaging service. Apple later unveiled its own MobileMe service as an alternative to Exchange for consumers. Push messaging is also a big enough topic to be considered separately in its own segment.

In addition to the SDK and push messaging, the iPhone 2.0 software supports new hardware features in the iPhone 3G, and includes a variety of smaller improvements to the system in general and its bundled apps. This segment will focus on those improvements, along with the things that were not addressed in the update and the flaws that crept in along with those enhancements.

In many ways, the iPhone 2.0 update is a bit like the jump from the original Mac System Software to System 7 in 1991, or the subsequent jump from the classic Mac OS to Mac OS X earlier in this decade. Both jumps enabled vast new potential while also initially eroding what was at the time a stable reference release. Both advances included features that were too good to pass up, while doing so with entirely new code that needed years of refinement before it was really able to match the stability of the previous system. The new iPhone 2.0 is no different, although hopefully it won't require nearly so much effort to bring it up to the level of stability of the original iPhone experience.

That having been noted, the iPhone 2.0 software does disappoint. While the original iPhone's apps might occasionally disappear, dropping you back at the Springboard start screen, the new iPhone 2.0 is more likely to freeze up entirely, something that was extremely rare before iPhone 2.0. The interface in some apps, most notoriously Apple's own Contacts, is frustratingly lethargic to an extent that the original bundled apps never were. In addition to delays, lockups, and restarts, the new software also introduces some other irritations: battery life is significantly shorter, which can be attributed in part to more demanding hardware improvements in the iPhone 3G, but also to features unlocked in iPhone 2.0, including third party apps and push messaging.

The next segment will take a closer look at how iPhone 2.0 stacks up against rival smartphone platforms, but first we'll take an in depth look at the new features and improvements Apple delivered in the new update, along with the problems that weren't addressed, and some significant new flaws that hound users of of the initial version 2.0.0 software.

On page 2 of 4: Software Improvements in iPhone 2.0.

Software Improvements in iPhone 2.0

Let's start with a look at what has improved in the new iPhone 2.0 release. In addition to support for downloading new iPhone apps from iTunes or directly via the App Store icon as well as push email messaging, calendar and contacts from Apple's MobileMe and Microsoft Exchange Server (both of which we will be considering separately in their own segment), the new iPhone 2.0 also includes a few other system-wide niceties, and some of Apple's bundled apps are also spruced up:

Airplane Mode now allows you to independently turn WiFi back on while leaving mobile service off (below).



Calculator now offers scientific functions when held in landscape view (below).



Calendar now supports viewing and using multiple calendars, just like the desktop iCal. Previously, iTunes would aggregate all your iCal calendars together. Now you can view, edit, and create new events in a specific calendar, such as one designated for work, home, or school.

Camera now Âgeotags your photos with longitude and latitude metadata tags so that other applications can determine where they were taken. While neither the iPhone nor iPhoto currently do much with this data (iPhone will only display the coordinates), Preview will show the GPS metadata along with a crosshairs on a world map. Clicking the Locate button pulls up the coordinates from Google Maps within a browser, as shown below. This photo overlooking Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay was taken from Tilden Park on Grizzly Peak Boulevard.



Contacts are available directly from a home page icon just as they are on the iPod touch, rather than only being buried inside the Phone app. You can also now search for contacts rather than only scrolling through the list to find what you're looking for, and look up contacts from an Exchange Global Address List. Under Settings, you can now set sort order and display order to Âfirst, last name or Âlast, first. You can also import any contacts stored on your SIM card.

Keyboard displays a globe icon to toggle between configured languages (there's also now 20 keyboard layouts to choose from). There's also a touch input system for Chinese. Additionally, the Â.com key, used to quickly complete a web URL, can now be held down to bring up alternative top level domains, such as .edu, .net, or .org in Safari (below). In other apps, such as Mail, you can bring up a domain suffix by holding the period key down.



Mailnow has an edit button that allows you to select multiple messages for mass deletion or moving to a mailbox folder. You can also now read PowerPoint and iWork (Numbers, Keynote, and Pages) files attached to emails, in addition to the existing doc, xls, text, HTML, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and PDF support. Microsoft's new Office formats pptx, docx, and xlsx are also now viewable. Graphic file attachments can now be sent to your photo album by touching and holding for a moment. If you forward a draft email, you lose any attached files on the draft email. However, you can now forward an email (including an email from your sent items) with multiple graphics attached; you will be prompted to include or not include the attachments in your forwarded message. This finally enables you some mechanism for sending out a pre-formatted email message with multiple attachments from your phone.

Maps, when displaying your location, now shows you a wide area map of the general area first, then zooms the location crosshairs in to a local view. This is great if you're in an unfamiliar area, where you'd otherwise have to manually zoom out first to get some idea of where in the surrounding area you currently are. The flip side is that the two part location process requires more maps to be downloaded, a problem if you are roaming internationally at great expense or if you're stuck outside of 3G or WiFi coverage and have to drag in your maps over EDGE or, god forbid, the even slower GPRS. While viewing a map, you can double tap with one finger to zoom in, and double tap with two fingers to zoom out. With an iPhone 3G, you of course get the more accurate GPS location, marked with a blue dot. If it can't determine a precise location, you get a light blue circle drawn around your dot indicating the relative margin of accuracy.

Safari now allows you to save images from web pages to the photo album by touching and holding the graphic. This brings up the option to Save Image (below). Double tap near the top or bottom of the page to scroll up or down a page at a time.



Screen capture: hold down the home button and touch the screen lock button and the display will flash, sending the captured shot to your photo album. Screen captured are not geotagged however.

On page 3 of 4: Software Flaws and Limitations .

Software Flaws and Limitations

There are also a number of issues left unaddressed in iPhone 2.0.

Bluetooth: No support for A2DP stereo headphones, file transfer, data sync, tether or dialup networking, serial support for GPS or barcode readers, keyboard input, or mouse output support, or other standard Bluetooth profiles. Apple has to supply this support itself, as the iPhone SDK does not allow third party developers to directly access the hardware. Users have also reported some new Bluetooth issues with a refusal to sync data with certain car integration systems and an echoing audio problem.

Calendar: You can not change the calendar of an event after it has been created. You can no longer select which calendars you want to keep in sync when using push updating instead of iTunes, and you can't sync in events from subscribed calendars without manually importing them (and losing the dynamic updates).

Camera: There's no new photo capture features. No video support, no shutter timer, no camera settings or other adjustments. The unchanged software shutter button is hard to target, particularly if you're trying to include yourself in the shot. The Camera app will also still rapidly kill the battery if it's left open as the foreground application.

Contacts is absurdly slow to the point of being nearly unusable. How it escaped from Apple's labs is an embarrassing mystery. There's also no way to create or delete a contact group on the iPhone, or move a contact to a group. Also missing is any to do event display and any capacity to sync to do events with iCal, MobileMe, or Exchange Server.Â*

iPod: No way to create a playlist and select songs and put into it. There's also no way to search for songs, an interesting omission now that the interface for Apple's Remote app lets you search the contents of remote iTunes systems (below left). Remote also provides separate listings of Movies, Music Videos, and TV Shows (below right), while the local iPod interface only shows Videos (below middle). Expect that to catch up quickly.



Keyboard: There's still no forward delete, requiring tedious precision in positioning the magnifying glass to correct a word. There's still no mechanism for copy and paste, nor a way to simply add shortcuts (typing a short letter sequence to enter a long phrase or section of text). Keepers of complaint lists also like to point out that most apps don't present a landscape keyboard, but the iPhone keyboard simply works better in vertical mode (below), is easier to type on, and leaves more usable screen real estate open. The landscape keyboard presents fatter keys with wider spacing that are paradoxically harder to hit quickly. It's not better.



Mail still lacks a unified mailbox, so if you check messages from multiple accounts, you have to browse the messages from each separately. There's also no way to search email, sort or filter by sender or other criteria. The Mail app also does not support sending messages from the alias email addresses configured on the account (as desktop Mail does), nor does it support syncing over or selecting from multiple email signatures, or the use of certificates to sign or encrypt sent emails. You also can't address an email to a group in Contacts. There's also no way to flag messages or mark them as unread (on the message itself, if you tap details in the upper right, more heading info appears with the option to "mark as unread"), or set priority on outgoing emails.

Maps: While the original Maps app blew us away, the latest version is not really improved at all. Where is Google traffic info (Google Traffic actually is supported), and what about Street Views, or Terrain mode? And how about consulting Google transit and walking directions for instructions on how to get to your destination without burning $5 a gallon gas? And while we're at it, how about integrating NextBus information? Google has already done the heavy lifting here, so Apple just needs to add support to its iPhone client software to present this rich (and free) information.

Notes: Still does not sync to the desktop, MobileMe, or Exchange Server, despite the addition of iPhone-looking Notes (and To Dos) that appeared in Leopard Mail. This can't be too far away however. Also no way to send a note out as an SMS. John Gruber is probably not pleased that Apple is still using Marker Felt (the long time companion of Comic Sans) while offering no alternative font in Notes.

Phone: No speed dial apart from the favorites list. No voice activated dialing. There's no way to export the list of calls you've made or received that the iPhone keeps track of internally. It would be great if this data synced into your desktop Address Book to provide a listing of dates and times you've called each contact. There's also no simple way to record and export voicemail messages to your desktop.

Photos: No way to create or delete photo albums. No way to pull up a map of the location of a geotagged photo.

Roaming: You can't reliably choose your roaming provider when traveling overseas. If you have to pay carriers through the nose to use the iPhone internationally, you should at least be able to pick which provider you want to use (such as the one that has the best service for the area you are in). Unfortunately, while the UI is there under Settings, it simply doesn't work to select a specific carrier rather than allowing the iPhone to pick its own provider automatically.

Safari: Bookmarks sync, but your desktop history does not. It would often come in handy to be able to reference a webpage you viewed earlier at home but didn't bookmark.

SMS: Can be dreadfully slow to start up. Initiating a new SMS can kick off a dead stall that lasts for more than 30 seconds. No ability to export your SMS conversations. No way to send or receive MMS picture messages. AT&T will relay a text message with a username and password you can use to log into their website to view a sent MMS photo, but the process isn't automated. It should send a URL that would open itself in mobile Safari.

On page 4 of 4: New but awful in iPhone 2.0; and Storm before the calm.

New but awful in iPhone 2.0

It's easy to think up features that are missing, but iPhone 2.0 also introduces some significant problems that go beyond missing Âthings that would be nice to have. The interface frequently balks for absurdly long periods of time (30 seconds is about long enough to consider smashing the unit), far longer and more frequently than the previous software. System-wide crashes were also once extremely rare, but now happen quite regularly. Apps also crash more frequently, particularly the new third party apps. This can be chalked up to less experienced third party developers, but there also appear to be problems with the iPhone OS that cause third party apps to die.

One common trigger is Apple's picture taker module, called from other applications to grab a photo. This hasn't ever worked flawlessly (or quickly), but iPhone 2.0 doesn't seem to help things; third party apps attempting to take photos often fatally fail in the process. Another example is location services, particularly when called up from coordinates outside the US. it appears many apps make assumptions that the iPhone is within the US, and when given a remote location they simply die rather than responding correctly.

Another irritation that began with iPhone 2.0 is that iTunes now does a very lengthy backup everytime the iPhone is plugged in. The purpose of the backup is to allow all data on the phone to be restored, but it simply takes too long. This process needs to be greatly optimized, perhaps using a differential backup model instead. It is possible to prevent the backup from happening with Âdefaults write com.apple.itunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool YESÂ but of course this will remove the safety net that currently makes restoring the iPhone's data (in case of a unit replacement or other need to perform a full software restoration) the great experience it currently is. The recent iTunes 7.7.1 update seems to help slightly, but the backup process is still really just too slow, and frequently unnecessary if nothing or very little has changed since the last backup.

There are also some irritating issues with push messaging (or rather a failure of messages to push) and the Apps Store and thrid party apps (such as apps crashing at launch and needing to be reinstalled) that will be noted in dedicated followup segments. The most painful problem with iPhone 2.0 is probably power management however; it simply lasts well short of a full day on a single charge. The original iPhone could often coast through two days of light use before dying. No amount of features can be impressive when your battery ends up prematurely dead.

Storm before the calm

It's not yet clear how much software optimization can do to improve the power consumption of 3G data service and GPS lookups, but the shorter life span of the iPhone when running 2.0 is a significant ding against its usability. Somewhat ironically, a key reason why the iPhone doesn't last as long is because third party apps, particularly graphically intensive games, make it easy to blow through the battery because they put pressure on the processor while continuously lighting up the screen.

A major reason why Apple was able to achieve fantastic battery life on the iPod was due to the fact that it was designed to do as little as possible, coasting along with the screen off while music played from its RAM cache. Playing games on the original iPod will also burn through its battery much faster because it has to do more. Software updates may help optimize power use in some circumstances, perhaps even intelligently turning off 3G when in standby, but it may be a simple reality going forward that users who put heavy demands on their iPhone 3G will need to recharge it more than once a day.

Apple is known to be internally testing an iPhone 2.0.1 bug fix for release in the short term, and working on an iPhone 2.1 feature update aimed for September. The second update is expected to deliver support for background notifications for third party apps, as well as significant improvements to GPS location services that should be able to provide reports on your current direction and speed, information required to provide turn-by-turn directions.

The next segment will look at how Apple's iPhone 2.0 software platform compares to that offered by other mobile vendors, in particular Microsoft's Windows Mobile, the Palm OS, and the Symbian OS. The following segment will consider iPhone 2.0's most significant feature and largest change: the Apps Store, SDK, and third party apps that transform the iPhone (or iPod touch) from a streamlined handheld device into a general purpose computer and games console.
post #2 of 34
"No way to create a playlist and select songs and put into it"

It is indeed possible to create "on-the-go" playlists on the iPhone, just go to iPod / Playlists / on-the-go and then edit / "+" and select the songs to add to the playlist. I just discovered it this morning...
post #3 of 34
So you can create and manage new playlists on the go? Or does the playlist have to have been created first through itunes before you edit it on the go?
post #4 of 34
As far as I found out this morning, you can only edit and manage this one "on-the-go" playlist. You can clear it, add songs, albums, podcasts, etc. Only that playlist shows the "Edit" button on the top right corner.
post #5 of 34
Now that the iPhone is available in so many more countries, and thus in so many more languages, I hope something can be done about support for "accented characters" and "compound words".

In my native language, Swedish, we have three additional characters in our alphabet: Å (aka "A with circle"), Ä ("A with two dots") and Ö ("O with two dots").

Even though they might seem to be accented versions of A and O, they are not. On computer keyboards they have their own keys and they are used very frequently in our language.
Having them being treated as accented characters, with the current accented character support, is not really ideal.....

If you try to write using "tap and hold" it slows down your typing a lot (the timer for bringing up the accented character list is simply too long, some kind of "option" key would have been better) since they are used so often.

To let the spell correction take care of it is not the best solution either. For instance, if you type "H", "A" and "R" it will match either the word "HAR" (have), the word "HÄR" (here) or the word "HÅR" (hair). In this case it is impossible for the iPhone to (always) be right. And if the proposed word you get is wrong, you have to go back and manually change the A to the correct character which, again, takes quite some time.

Separate keys for Å, Ä and Ö would be the best, but might mean the keys would be too small (except in landscape position, if that worked in all applications). Shorter "accented key timeout" could work, or perhaps preferably an option key to immediately get the accented character list when tapping a character that can have accents.

Second, compound words. In Swedish, as well as in Finnish and many other languages, it is possible to put two, or more, basic words together to make a compound word. Sometimes you just write it that way because it is customary, but often the compound word means something different than the two basic words. For instance, if you write the two words "brunhårig sjuksköterska" it means "brown haired nurse". If you separate them into the four basic words and write "brun hårig sjuk sköterska" it means "brown hairy sick female caretaker" which is quite different.

Since this can be done somewhat freely it is almost impossible to keep a dictionary with all the possibilities.

To get good proposals from the spell checker it would be an improvement if you could write the two basic words, without a space in between, and get a proposal on each of the parts. That is, write "brun", maybe tap "shift" and "space" to mark that the word is finished (without inserting a space character) and then continue to write "hårig" and have the iPhone understand that it is a new word even though there is no space before it.
The T9 text input found in other mobile phones supports this.

I would also love it if deleting a character while typing a word would not turn off the "word proposing" function of the spell checker....

Finally it would be great if shift and "backspace" would delete a whole word backwards. That would be really helpful.
post #6 of 34
Another good article overall, but this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince mcclean

... In many ways, the iPhone 2.0 update is a bit like the jump from the original Mac System Software to System 7 in 1991, or the subsequent jump from the classic Mac OS to Mac OS X earlier in this decade. Both jumps enabled vast new potential while also initially eroding what was at the time a stable reference release. Both advances included features that were too good to pass up, while doing so with entirely new code that needed years of refinement before it was really able to match the stability of the previous system. ...

Is just silly IMO.

In the first place, the two iPhone OS's referred to are basically the same system with the same architecture, so it has few if any parallels with occasions when Apple switched operating systems entirely. Secondly, the new "2.0" iPhone software, like it's "1.0" cousin before it, is still unfinished and seriously buggy as this article lays out in quite a lot of detail. This is clearly not a switch to a completely new system that has it's "early day" bugs to be worked out, this is a second attempt at getting the first system correct. A second attempt that is obviously still not finished.

It would be more accurate, (and it will appear more and more this way as we look back on early iPhone development), to say that both of these OS's are buggy early betas of essentially the same OS that is still far from perfection or even completeness.

The "2.0" iPhone software for 3G iPhones and iPod touch, is really closer to a 1.0 product, and the "1.0 iPhone" is more of a beta software product, wrapped in an alpha hardware spec that will likely never be seen again.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #7 of 34
I've seen a lot of posts about backups taking absurd amounts of time; like 20 to 30 minutes or more each time. Not sure what's prompting this lengthy process. Are those using a more recent firmware as in restoring from iTunes and getting the unpublished update? Is this happening on Windows boxes only? For me, I'm hooked to a PB and have equally 3.5GB of music and video each on a 16GB iPhone. My syncs only take a minute or two. I did notice yesterday it was taking longer and copying over 100 songs and then I realized it's copying my Most Recently Played playlist, so I ended up removing that from the playlists to sync. Sorry for your folks who are dealing with this.
post #8 of 34
http://picasaweb.google.nl/DanielJvd...71199551697522

Don't know if it has to do with AT&T but in the Netherlands we can choose other providers when roaming, I went to Belgium and France a few days ago, could easily change between Proximus, Base, Mobistar, Orange, Bouygues and SFR. So it's more of an US iPhone problem.
post #9 of 34
New software is sluggish and delays a lot between functions...at least on original iPhone...though I've heard it's so on 3G as well. Hope they fix it soon. The added functions aren't worth the ass dragging.
post #10 of 34
\ According to this article, there are so many fundamental smartphone things my Blackberry Pearl (and a basic model, at that) still does a million times better than the iPhone - things that are essential, rather than just fun - I was going to switch with 3G, but I'm going to wait longer:

- 30 seconds to turn on SMS? Are you frakking kidding me??? I can switch between and back and forth amongst phone, calendar, contacts, SMS - with data shared between them all - in literally the time it takes to push a button on my Blackberry.

- No cut & paste - a function I use a least a couple times a day in managing contacts and composing messages. Things I can do in 10 seconds would take 5 minutes without cut & paste. Such a basic computing function - it's not "whining" to point out a really fundamental gap in functionality.

- "Unusable" contacts app - what would the point of a smart phone be without a killer contacts app?

- Re-charge needed twice a day - like I could be bothered to do that now that I'm used to re-charging only once every _3_ days.

- iPhone "likely" to freeze up - my Blackberry has frozen maybe 4 times in the last year, and that was only because of a Google app.

- Tedious "back-up" every time it's plugged in? BlackBerry and my workplace Outlook are constantly in sync and the data ultimately live on my company's servers.

About the only thing that I do even occasionally on my BB that the iPhone 3G sounds like it actually does better is surf the web - it's slow and clunky on my BB with EDGE, but I only use it a few times a week and I consider it a luxury - mostly for looking up movie showtimes and winning a Wikipedia bet. Almost never use the web on my BB for work.

Why Apple would make a smart phone that does well at the less-essential functions but does poorly at basic functions, like SMS, is incomprehensible.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

I've seen a lot of posts about backups taking absurd amounts of time; like 20 to 30 minutes or more each time. Not sure what's prompting this lengthy process. Are those using a more recent firmware as in restoring from iTunes and getting the unpublished update? Is this happening on Windows boxes only? For me, I'm hooked to a PB and have equally 3.5GB of music and video each on a 16GB iPhone. My syncs only take a minute or two. I did notice yesterday it was taking longer and copying over 100 songs and then I realized it's copying my Most Recently Played playlist, so I ended up removing that from the playlists to sync. Sorry for your folks who are dealing with this.

It has to do with downloaded apps. If you download 15-20 apps, especially big ones, and keep them all on your device it backs them all up every time. Slowly.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

\
- Tedious "back-up" every time it's plugged in? BlackBerry and my workplace Outlook are constantly in sync and the data ultimately live on my company's servers.

You know that you can disable automatic sync when you plug in the iPhone for a charge, right?
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

Load of crap

Face it, the Blackberry UI was designed by a company that has no idea about how to design good software. In fact it's completely idiotic.

The iPhone has some bugs/features missing but the Blackberry is inherently shit, no matter how many features it has.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Maps: While the original Maps app blew us away, the latest version is not really improved at all. Where is Google traffic info...?

Google Traffic info is not missing, it's under the page curl button.
post #15 of 34
As each week passes I have a feeling that 2.0.1 will not be released to the public and instead the fixes will wind up in 2.1 in September. I guess if they do that then they only have to worry about pushing out one big release instead of having to deal with 2 releases in about a one month period.
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post #16 of 34
Good overview. Can't wait for mine--and then the coming software updates as well!

I didn't know about the .edu/.org/.net trick or the period in Mail. Cool
post #17 of 34
I'd be interested to see a systematic treatment of issues many are having (at least as indicated by nearly 400 posts in a single thread in the Apple support forum) with picking up and sending e-mail reliably. That was never a problem in version 1.1.4 of the firmware.

That thread, for the stout of heart, is here.
post #18 of 34
Good review.

Bug fixes come save me!!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 34
I too found contacts horribly slow. I have about 300 contacts sync'd from zimbra (exchange). I would click on it and then it would stall for about 10 seconds.

A colleague got a new iPhone, I setup the zimbra sync and he had about 300 contacts also, but when I clicked contacts for his iPhone, it was immediately responsive (within 1 second).

After reflecting, I realized the only difference is that I had taken pictures with the iPhone camera and attached them to contacts in the addressbook.

After I deleted the pictures from contacts, re-sync'd, I then fully shut-off the iPhone, and restarted, and presto, contacts was fast!
post #20 of 34
I would argue that the lack of copy/cut/paste and formal "save as draft" functions limit the iPhone's utility as a serious input device. For short emails it's good enough but for longer messages, this is a showstopper, and number one reason I will continue to use my Blackberry 7130 as primary mobile device for work.

I blogged about this in iPhone's Lingering Raspberry

Check it out if interested. Also, a side note is that there appears to be a memory leak in the software such that I notice performance degradation to the point that things become sluggish on touch input functions especially until I do a system reboot. Don't know if others have seen this.

Mark
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

I've seen a lot of posts about backups taking absurd amounts of time; like 20 to 30 minutes or more each time. Not sure what's prompting this lengthy process. Are those using a more recent firmware as in restoring from iTunes and getting the unpublished update? Is this happening on Windows boxes only? For me, I'm hooked to a PB and have equally 3.5GB of music and video each on a 16GB iPhone. My syncs only take a minute or two. I did notice yesterday it was taking longer and copying over 100 songs and then I realized it's copying my Most Recently Played playlist, so I ended up removing that from the playlists to sync. Sorry for your folks who are dealing with this.

Mine doesn't take 20 minutes, but it does take around five or six. It is really easy to notice. It doesn't do it every time I sync, though. I think this has to do with applications and other content. It probably didn't ever backup music because it is all there in your library, but it might be backing up applications every single time the backup is conducted. This is on a Mac (Mac Pro, 3.2 GHz, 12 GB RAM) so that definitely isn't the issue. They can probably resolve this by using a backup method which is somewhat similar to Time Machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

\ According to this article, there are so many fundamental smartphone things my Blackberry Pearl (and a basic model, at that) still does a million times better than the iPhone - things that are essential, rather than just fun - I was going to switch with 3G, but I'm going to wait longer:

You're not an iPhone owner, are you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

- 30 seconds to turn on SMS? Are you frakking kidding me??? I can switch between and back and forth amongst phone, calendar, contacts, SMS - with data shared between them all - in literally the time it takes to push a button on my Blackberry.

Timed it on my iPhone. It took less than two seconds to launch SMS (in a huge conversation) and sending goes faster than any other phone I've ever owned. Whatever problem Daniel (author) is having, I'm not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

- No cut & paste - a function I use a least a couple times a day in managing contacts and composing messages. Things I can do in 10 seconds would take 5 minutes without cut & paste. Such a basic computing function - it's not "whining" to point out a really fundamental gap in functionality.

It would be nice, but it isn't a huge loss. I rarely find myself missing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

- "Unusable" contacts app - what would the point of a smart phone be without a killer contacts app?

I have a huge contact list and all I can say is that it is slower than the previous software. I just tested it and it loads immediately (though I've seen it take a second before) and if I start shooting up and down with the letter slider right away, it is a little choppy for the first second or two. After that there are no problems at all. Sometimes there is a fraction of a second waiting while a contact opens. It doesn't bother me and I'm sure Apple will have it optimized soon enough. It was a concern buying the phone so I tested it on the pre-populated phones at AT&T and the Apple Store. Both performed similarly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

- Re-charge needed twice a day - like I could be bothered to do that now that I'm used to re-charging only once every _3_ days.

I listen to Pandora (audio streaming) eight hours a day -- through my whole entire work day. This jumps between 3G and WiFi and the screen is frequently active through the process. I also make some phone calls. My battery is nearly out right at the end of this process. Also, it charges really really fast. I am amazed how quickly I can get back up to 70-80%. I am really really impressed with the battery. The only reason why it goes down quickly is because we are running CPU/network intensive apps now. This is one thing about the phone that really impresses me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

- iPhone "likely" to freeze up - my Blackberry has frozen maybe 4 times in the last year, and that was only because of a Google app.

The only problems I have had with mine are associated with some kind of Pandora bug (which actually may have been fixed in a recent update) that caused it to choke up a little bit when I received a phone call while listening. Everything else has run really well. The OS is solid. I read some people in the app store complaining about dozens of programs which won't launch. They need to restore their phones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

- Tedious "back-up" every time it's plugged in? BlackBerry and my workplace Outlook are constantly in sync and the data ultimately live on my company's servers.

I think (as mentioned above) that this is tied to extra content such as apps. It is significant enough that you want to plan your synchronization (i.e. do it when you'll be sitting down at the computer for a little bit). You wouldn't want to toss it in, sync, and rush right out the door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

About the only thing that I do even occasionally on my BB that the iPhone 3G sounds like it actually does better is surf the web - it's slow and clunky on my BB with EDGE, but I only use it a few times a week and I consider it a luxury - mostly for looking up movie showtimes and winning a Wikipedia bet. Almost never use the web on my BB for work.

Surfing the web on the iPhone is incredible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

Why Apple would make a smart phone that does well at the less-essential functions but does poorly at basic functions, like SMS, is incomprehensible.

I honestly think Daniel is trying to be nice -- he's usually a little faster to defend Apple. This article actually struck me as quite critical. Or he's got an iPhone that is giving him some grief. SMS works great -- as long as receiving MMS pictures isn't vital. That implementation is just clumsy. Thank heavens that it supports email so spectacularly.
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post #22 of 34
excellent analysis from Prince. but it would have been good to also note major differences, if any, between the 3G and 2G 2.0 software, beyond the obvious facts about GPS and EDGE.
post #23 of 34
I'm flattered at the detailed response. Obviously I'm not an iPhone owner - I'm just going by what I read here and what friends who have an iPhone tell me (they all own Blackberrys also - guess which one they keep in a drawer at home - the iPhone!). Bottom line - BB syncs with my employer's contacts/emails/calendar _effortlessly_. Not even effortlessly - it does it without ANY tweaking of settings or prompting or my having to think about it for even one second a month. And then, for these basic functions, it works without a hitch, despite what "General Smiley" says about it being sh*t. That's some useful sh*t! When the iPhone gets up to that basic level of competence, where it should be, I'll get one for all the fun toys and elegance it has that the BB doesn't. Although by then BB will have a completely renewed line of phones...
post #24 of 34
The new iPhone 3G software is great and all, but I just can't seem to get excited about any of it until I GET REMINDER BEEPS WHENEVER I'VE MISSED A CALL OR MESSAGE.

Really Apple, a smart phone is supposed to remind me about these things, not make me have to go ask every time I've stepped away from my phone. To some people a missed call means missed income, which is, like, a lot more important than being able to save a web page image.
post #25 of 34
You can mark messages as unread by opening the message on the phone, tapping details, and tapping mark as unread. I don't know of a way to flag a message.

Also, I would like the ability to selectively install language packages. These files may not be huge, but space is extremely scarce.
post #26 of 34
What about sms carracter count? sms delivery receipt? sms forwarding? sms drafts saving? sms one by one deleting?
post #27 of 34
Phone.app doesn't show the difference btwn dialed numbers/received calls. No way to see the lenght of calls. Now way to delete numbers logged one by one.
post #28 of 34
What about different ways to forward calls to a number? On other phones there's a difference between unreachable/unavailable/busy/etc. It's just too simple on the iPhone...
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by spovich View Post

I too found contacts horribly slow. I have about 300 contacts sync'd from zimbra (exchange). I would click on it and then it would stall for about 10 seconds.

A colleague got a new iPhone, I setup the zimbra sync and he had about 300 contacts also, but when I clicked contacts for his iPhone, it was immediately responsive (within 1 second).

After reflecting, I realized the only difference is that I had taken pictures with the iPhone camera and attached them to contacts in the addressbook.

After I deleted the pictures from contacts, re-sync'd, I then fully shut-off the iPhone, and restarted, and presto, contacts was fast!

I have no contact pictures, and 165 contacts of varying amount of information, usually just a phone number, maybe an address and email. What bugs me is that the app takes about five seconds from start up to actually responding to input, and it doesn't give any indication that it's processing, it just looks stalled. If it needs to process the data, fine, but it should at least use that spinning animation to indicate that.

Regarding the SMS deal, it has not been a problem, but I've only used that app to read messages that came in as the phone was going through stages of activation on the other end of the service. I'm not going to use SMS at all unless I have no other alternative, certainly not going send any. It's just a lousy old standard that's absurdly priced for what it does.
post #30 of 34
Is POP support any better in 2.0? In the old software, it has severe limitations.

1) There's no way to store a document of any size on your phone to consult. If I download an e-mailed spreadsheet or word doc onto my phone, then download the e-mail to my primary computer and delete it from the server, the attachment only stays on the phone for a day or two, then it disappears and Mail tries to download it from the server again.

2) My mailbox will only hold 50 e-mails. Beyond that, when new e-mails come in, the old ones get deleted.

It's just really clear that the app was designed with IMAP in mind, assuming that info would always be there on the mail server, available for refreshing. This makes using mail to store information (or even keeping up with your e-mail while on vacation) a less-than-ideal experience.

I'm also nonplussed at the continued lack of To Do support. To Dos are my single most important PDA application. I'm still carrying both a Palm and an iPhone, because I need the Palm's Tasks application. (Presumably a third-party app will fill this niche sooner or later, but I'm not upgrading to 2.0 until it's less buggy...)
post #31 of 34
Incidentally, the iPhone 2.01 update is now available for download. Perhaps that will correct some of the issues mentioned.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Incidentally, the iPhone 2.01 update is now available for download. Perhaps that will correct some of the issues mentioned.

Thanks for the heads up. You've beaten every tech RSS feed I monitor.

edit: I have an issue with my RSS app not updating.
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post #33 of 34
So you glossed over the fact that contacts is now in its own separate app on the springboard.... but you never mentioned the significance of this.

One of the biggest gripes I had about the iPhone 1.0.x software was that you couldn't save a number while you were on the phone, or in a call.

"Hey there, What's Bob's number?" oh ok, well let me go open a note, click new, type it in using the small number keys above the letters... then go back.. end the call.. go back into notes... REMEMBER THE NUMBER (since i cant copy and paste it.. and Notes.app doesn't parse out phone#s) and then go back AGAIN into the phone app and dial it!!!!

NOW.. i have the -- dare I call it -- "luxury" of being able to add someone to my contacts while simultaneously on a phonecall. This, IMHO, is huge. No matter how laggy the contact list is. Though 2.0.1 seems a bit better with this, and with battery life. (at least it seems like it so far)
post #34 of 34
I really enjoy these (relatively) unbiased and detailed looks into the iPhone world. Even from a mac-slanted source, they seem, for the most part, spot on.

The thing I think that a lot of people tend to forget, is that so many times we each evaluate the iPhone based on the tech-savvy, über-pseudo-geek people that we all are. The simple fact that we read this site, and took the time to create a login to make posts, makes us a part of this crowd. Simply put, this phone is targeted at both us, AND all those at the other end of the tech-spectrum - Our parents, aunts, friends, and others who could care less about how many megapixels the camera has.

Those individuals - like the poster who went on the rant about comparing the blackberry pearl to the iphone (as described in this article) - always make me laugh, because they're the people who really just don't quite get it. The freakin' SMS app doesn't really take 30 secs to load (ok, maybe that happened once to the guy who wrote the article) it may take 5 at most, but its usually instant. And what about the fact that iPhone does actually do a real backup (albeit, for some reason, a super long one) every so often, so if something happens to your phone you pick right back up where you left off. (that includes, texts, recent calls, settings, ringtones, alarms, images, passwords, everything.)I I'm unaware of any other phone that does this. Let us not confuse a simple 'sync' (which usually takes all of about 15 seconds at most for me with my iphone) with a full backup (which is what the article was talking about taking forever), because then your arguments fails to hold water!
Ok, I digress...

What I really mean to convey is that i think Apple is right on the money, for the most part, with what they are doing with the iPhone. It's not without its flaws, and glaringly absent features... but the funny thing is that even with all these missing features, and "problems" and shortcomings, it still remains almost impossible to walk into any apple or att store and just buy the phone - ALMOST A MONTH AFTER RELEASE. Obviously someone isn't paying attn. to all the whining going on throughout the blogosphere. Nope, in fact, the other 99% of people that aren't out on a message board or forum somewhere are out scheming about how they're going to get their hands on "the hottest thing out right now" (<-- I seriously overheard someone call it that the other day). No one calls it the "iwishithada3.2megapixelandA2DP-Phone 3G. Because when it all boils down to it... the question many people ask themselves is: How can i get a reasonably priced device that is convenient, does all the stuff i need it to do, does it well, and doesn't completely SUCK BALLS, is fun to use, and allows me to carry less stuff around with me?

And at this point, all signs point to the iPhone.
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