Why I won’t buy an Apple iPhone

So, it’s finally been announced: the Apple iPhone! What a cool looking device. The user interface looks absolutely beautiful, and the whole user experience appears to be as good as you would expect from Apple Inc. OK, the iPhone won’t be available until this summer in the USA (no words about Canada) and this fall in Europe, but based on what has been shown so far, I don’t expect to buy an Apple iPhone when available…

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Yes, that’s right… a cool device that I don’t expect to buy as soon as possible! while I love the way in seems to integrate all the features and the beautiful design, I don’t see this device in my pocket any time soon. Three main reasons for this: Email, Audio/Video and Phone.

Let’s look at email first: the Apple iPhone will have IMAP and POP mail support. It will even have push-IMAP when used with a Yahoo address. It promises to include a fantastic web experience for such a device and it will certainly include great calendar and address book applications which will sync with your desktop (Mac and Windows). I can see the iPhone as a great replacement for a Smartphone such as the Palm Treo 680 or the Sony Ericsson P990i. After having previously looked at various smartphone options and finally ending-up with a crackberry, I expect that the Email / Web experience on the iPhone will be miles ahead of the one from a “traditional” mobile device. But the Blackberry is much more than a simple mobile email device when used within a corporate environment… it becomes an extension of your Exchange / Outlook account on the go, keeping email, calendar, contacts and notes in sync and enabling you to schedule meetings with everyone in your company. And the iPhone won’t enable you to access the corporate network on the go as there seems to be no mention of VPN support. Conclusion: Great mobile internet device for your personal needs, or even for small businesses, but not ready for the enterprise.

Second, Audio and Video: I can already hear you… I must be nuts to say that this isn’t the best device ever to play music / podcasts and watch TV shows / movies / videocasts! Well, I just don’t see the Apple iPhone replacing my Apple iPod any time soon, and here is why: I have a 60Gb 5G iPod that is full, and when you consider that a movie will consume 1.4Gb of disk space, even the largest version of Apples’ latest announcement will require a constant management of the content, requiring planning ahead of time when it comes to what I will take with me when I traveling. Yes, if you only go from home to the office every day, you won’t be in this situation (and you won’t really benefit from a Blackberry neither, e.g. the first reason why I don’t expect to get an iPhone won’t apply to you neither). But if traveling is part of your job description, especially when it comes to fly over oceans, you will be gone for a few days or a few weeks at a time. The iPod (not the nano) has become a great companion as I have my (almost) entire library with me. Conclusion: Where is the true Video iPod?

Finally, the phone capabilities: Yes, I know… it’s a phone! What could possibly be my reason for complaining at this stage as nobody really had a chance to try the sound quality? To make my answer short, the only way to make a phone call with the Apple iPhone is through the mobile operator network… while you can get unlimited price plans in some countries, these are not applicable when traveling (did you hear of the concept of roaming, or how to charge the user a fortune for a phone call?) or when placing an International phone call. the iPhone has WiFi built-in, but because this is a proprietary platform and all indications are that there won’t be a publicly available SDK for this new device, I won’t be able to place VoIP / Skype phone calls. And because this is sold hand in had with a mobile phone operator, I don’t see bypassing the revenue generator model any time soon. Conclusion: Unless I get a Skype and iChat client on the Apple iPhone, I don’t see myself getting this device.

Now if I had to make a guess, here is what I would want to see from the next generation of iPod: Take the form-factor / Operating system of the iPhone, remove the GSM support but leave the WiFi / Bluetooth. Leave all the applications, replacing the Cell-Phone and SMS capabilities with Skype and iChat respectively. Instead of 8Gb max size, go with a 80-100Gb hard-drive (it will make the device slightly thicker, but that’s OK from my perspective) and open-up the SDK for third-party developer to add solutions on this true Video iPod platform… hey, everyone can dream from time to time :-)

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