I’ve had an iPhone since last spring. It has proven to be a good phone and iPod combination, though certainly not without some issues. For me, the most irritating problem is its apparent difficulty in maintaining a signal in poor coverage areas.
It may sound strange to complain about poor reception in an area that doesn’t have good coverage to start with. This makes sense by stating that my fiancé’s phone, which was not as expensive or feature-rich as my iPhone, can maintain reception in this area.
My home is in an area of weak coverage, which is caused in part by the immediate geography. I can rarely answer the phone (it often won’t even ring) when I’m indoors. In order to carry on a conversation I must walk outside.
Texting is equally frustrating. The iPhone often is able to maintain a very weak signal as long as I do not move it. However, the instant I lift the phone from its resting place it drops to “No Signal”. Sending a text from inside typically involves writing the message and then setting the phone back down and waiting until it locks a signal so I can hit “Send”. This often doesn’t work and I have to walk outside just to send a brief text message. On several occasions I’ve stepped outside for another reason and suddenly received text messages sent much earlier.
I’ve learned this is a common complaint among iPhone users. Note that the complaint isn’t that reception is always poor but that the iPhone typically fails in coverage areas where other phones are able to function.
A couple of months ago I purchased a Boost case for my iPhone. It seems to help marginally with text messaging from home, but my local wireless towers do not use the frequencies the case is specifically designed for.
The other major problem with the iPhone has been the addition of applications. Granted, many in the community complained (and I think Apple bowed down to the pressure) to have apps on the iPhone. I think the concept is great and necessary to compete in today’s technology/wireless market but, in my opinion, Apple’s implementation is not a very good one.
The stability of apps has been a major issue since they were added in the 2.0 update. When 2.0 was released I initially spent several hours installing and testing several applications but since then I’ve installed very few new apps. After a while I formed the impression that the apps were affecting the stability of the iPhone itself. This may not have been what was actually happening, but I think it’s a bad reflection on Apple that a tech-savvy user such as myself should develop such an impression.
However, the stability of the apps isn’t where I really think Apple failed. Unstable apps are nothing new for any platform, though it does seem a bit out of character for Apple to allow such an obvious problem to occur.
My primary issue with the apps is how controlled the development process is. Personally, I think the variety and usefulness of apps would be enhanced by building a process that makes it easy for anyone to develop and install an iPhone app. Distribution via iTunes is understandable, but there are a number of open-source and otherwise free projects that will probably never make it to the iPhone due to Apple’s restrictions.
Granted, Apple created and sells the iPhone, so it should have the right to determine the standards for software and how it is distributed.
To summarize the apps issue, Apple hasn’t introduced anything new or truly innovative here. There are many other hand-held platforms that are more open.
Of course, if I wrote about what I like about the iPhone and where it succeeds, this post would be considerably longer.