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  iPhone 3G Review, Gripes and Praise: Part I
  By Andy

  Front > Software > Mobile


Web Browser (Continued)

·         Safari can’t be used for many sites, can only be used on some sites in a crippled mode, or presents a very annoying experience on others.  Some sites detect the iPhone’s browser type and redirect to the mobile version automatically.  Some of these sites will let you click a link to go to the real version, but this is already a nuisance.  Many web-based applications and/or complicated websites run in a crippled mode.  For example, Google Spreadsheets can be viewed on the iPhone but not edited (even if you click the link to go to the full-fledged site).  You will find that there are web-based tasks which you cannot perform on the iPhone.

·         There is a fundamental conflict in Safari between the gesture for zooming in – double tap – and clicking on links – single tap.  When you want to zoom in on a web page with the goal of making it legible, it is quite easy to double tap on a link.  Instead of zooming in, this will cause Safari to follow the link.  Since this is obviously not what a user wants, this can be quite frustrating and forces one to be extra careful.

·         You can open documents attached to emails but you can't open documents from web pages.  If someone emails you a Microsoft Office document you can open the attachment.  But if you click on a link to download and open a Microsoft Office document from within Safari, you will get a lovely error message.  This is ridiculous!  Clearly the software has already been written to open and view Office documents on the iPhone.  And yet for no apparent reason, you can’t open them from the web browser.  This is particularly annoying because Sharepoint and other enterprise content management systems are basically large, web-based lists of links to documents.

iPhone 3G with Headphones
iPhone 3G with Headphones 


·         The contacts list on the iPhone is very slow to load.  iTunes has a feature which allows you to synchronize your contacts from several popular desktop email clients, including Microsoft Outlook, onto your iPhone.  After taking advantage of this feature, I had about 350 contacts in my iPhone.  While not a huge number of contacts by any means, the iPhone contacts screen – which you need to use before placing most calls – now takes about 1.5 to 2 seconds to load.  That’s right, two seconds!  It feels like an eternity.  I had a Nokia and Sony Ericsson phone which I synced the same number of contacts onto, and the contacts list opened instantly.  This is obviously just bad software, especially given that the iPhone has a faster CPU than most other phones.  I am now forced to try to avoid the main contacts list as much as possible and instead rely on the Favorites and Recent Calls lists.  This is certainly not ideal.

·         There is no visual indication when the iPhone is in silent mode.  There is a hardware switch on the left side of the phone which puts the phone into silent mode.  However, when you are looking at the display there is no status icon at the top to indicate whether the phone is in silent mode.  This is really annoying because it becomes easy to forget if the phone is still in silent mode without the visual reminder.  Sure you could look at the switch on the side of the phone but in practice this is neither convenient nor natural.  Instead you will probably just forget to take your phone out of silent mode.

·         The iPhone includes a nice alarm clock feature with one significant exception: you cannot control the volume of the phone ringer independently of the alarm volume.  This means that if you turn the ringer volume down, you may not hear the alarm go off.  It seems like a much better design would have been to either have independent alarm volume controls, or simply use the maximum volume (which isn’t that loud) for the alarm.

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