Windows IT Pro Thurrott Fixes the iPhone.

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I don’t know what Paul Thurrott’s New Year’s resolutions were, but apparently being objective about reporting anything Apple was not one of them. On his Windows IT Pro site he’s posted an article on how Apple can fix the iPhone. Forget about the fact that as a huge success the iPhone can hardly be said to need “fixing”, when you look at his actual “fixes” you see this is a ridiculous article even by Paul’s standards.

The article uses the same Microsoft/Verizon/Nokia/Motorola talking points we’ve been hearing for a year. Indeed, the article could just as easily have been written right after the iPhone was introduced at last year’s Macworld.

Of course, this kind of nonsense reporting is what you’d expect from a guy who posted an eight-part review on a phone when all other smartphones have garnered about 5% of the same coverage from him. Does Paul obsess much?

So let’s cover the iPhone’s “issues”, and how Paul says Apple should fix them…

Pricing

What is this, 2007? He’s still griping about price? What about the $200 price drop? According to Paul that’s nothing:

While Apple did drop the price of the iPhone by a whopping $200 to $399 in August 2007 (and lose the “low-end” 4 GB model in the process), the price of this device is still extravagant.

No, it’s not. Paul suggests the killer is that AT&T requires a data plan, and that if only it were allowed to be purchased without one then the poor and destitute who want a data phone without a data plan could have one. However, he makes no case for why anyone would want a smartphone (any smartphone) and then not use the things that make it “smart” — which of course require a data plan.

In this instance, Apple’s no-choice policies really bite consumers where it hurts, in the wallet. The real-world cost of an iPhone right now is $2000 to $3000 for two years of use

This just shows Paul’s ignorance (or disingenuousness). The lowest data plan is $60 per month. That’s $1,840 over two years, including the cost of the phone, and right in line (in fact, in some cases less expensive) than any of the alleged “cheaper” smartphones out there, which typically require $80/month or more.

Paul says Apple and AT&T should lower the plan rate, ignoring the fact that for unlimited data and generous minutes the plans were the lowest in the industry when introduced.

EDGE Network

it can’t be stressed enough: EDGE is a joke and this “2.5G” network is clearly the iPhone’s Achilles Heel. In my own admittedly unscientific tests, EDGE was less than one-third the speed of Verizon’s EV-DO network

EDGE works great for email and most mobile browsing. Further, it’s everywhere, and easy on the battery. Paul’s 3G tests differ from others who found that the speed of loading web pages was not dramatically (or even noticeably) enhanced on another phone using 3G. And when battery is taken into consideration 3G loses there as well.

As for EV-DO, it’s a proprietary 3G network. Verizon uses it in the US, but most of the world utilizes UMTS (the WCDMA standard) for 3G. Why would Apple offer an EV-DO phone in the states that couldn’t be used elsewhere, and only on a network that already turned Apple down because their management couldn’t see the future?

When a 3G iPhone becomes available, it will have at least acceptable battery life and utilize the 3G networks available in most of the world. You and Verizon may be short-sighted, Paul, but Apple is not.

No high-speed modem for your PC

Paul brings this up only for the purpose of slamming the EDGE network again.

No hardware or software expansion options

Paul’s upset that you can’t expand memory, and then says this:

This isn’t necessarily a huge problem given that the iPhone comes with 8 GB of flash storage, but the option would be nice.

Translation: Forget what I just said because it was stupid, but the talking points listed it anyway.

The iPhone is also a closed box. You can’t install new applications or uninstall the built-in apps you don’t want.

The SDK is coming Paul, as you well know. Heck, even without one there are probably more apps written for the iPhone than other smartphones. That’s gotta be killing the Windows Mobile bosses in Redmond; too bad for them.

The rotating screen that doesn’t

Paul is apparently trying to save us from the unpredictability of the iPhone’s rotating screen:

While Apple touts the iPhone’s amazing rotating screen as a key feature, the reality is that the screen rotates in only a few of the available applications, and then in an unpredictable and haphazard fashion.

Apple touted the screen rotation for the iPod functionality (photos, cover flow, movies, TV shows), for YouTube, and for web browsing (Safari). During last year’s demo they never showed it rotating for anything else. Media and web browsing, Paul. That’s what they touted, and that’s what it does.

Since then, they’ve added rotation to email attachments, which is useful. Will they add it elsewhere? It’s a useful feature, so probably. But did it “under-deliver in a huge way”? Only if you didn’t pay attention to what was touted.

Virtual keyboard

Price, EDGE, no expansion, and now the keyboard? Do you see what I mean when I say this article is just the talking points from Apple’s competitors?

While Apple fanatics were quick to hop all over complaints about the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, a simple truth emerged after all the tests were completed: Physical keyboards are simply better than virtual keyboards.

Ah yes, “Apple fanatics”. It just wouldn’t be a Thurrott article unless he slung a name or two at Apple’s supporters, or even those who simply like the iPhone.

As for the keyboard, there’s no question that no two keyboards — whether on desktops, laptops, or smartphones — are alike. Some are better than others. But Paul’s painting all other keyboards with a superior brush to Apple’s is nonsense. There are some smartphone keyboards the iPhone outperforms, and others it may not. And people will never agree on which is which.

Since the iPhone’s keyboard works quite well, I’ll gladly take it because of the advantages it allows (i.e., it’s not there when I don’t need it, leaving room for more important things).

Buttons, buttons, buttons

Basically, this section falls in line with old school thinking that the more buttons you have on a device the cooler you’ll be perceived as a technologist for knowing how to use it. Apparently Paul can’t impress too many people with his knowledge of the iPhone because everyone knows how to use it. This is actually a triumph of design, but since it doesn’t allow Paul to impress anybody he doesn’t like it.

Battery

Oh please. I told you this was a talking points article, didn’t I? The “argument” about the battery is no better than the same argument made about the iPod. Next.

Lackluster camera

It’s not like 2MP is bad for a mobile phone, especially considering that so many still use 1.3MP. No flash, or zoom, etc. are maybe the first legitimate issues Paul’s raised. Still, for quick pictures it’s not bad, and that’s all the majority of people expect from a cell camera anyway.

The iPhone had undergone several firmware releases with features being added since it was released. Not once was I disappointed, or did I expect, that the camera would be updated. It’s simply not anywhere in the priority list for most users.

PIM synchronization that doesn’t work

Paul’s harped on Outlook syncing before, but I have a hard time buying it.

While the vast majority of iPhone users are also Windows users, Apple seems to have done very little to enable universal PC-to-iPhone sync…. that sync feature is so horribly broken that it actually doesn’t work for many people

How many people is “many”, Paul? Not that Paul may not have had problems (I’m not saying he made them up), but if there were rampant syncing issues with Outlook it would be well known by now. It certainly worked great for me on my Windows XP box.

Then Paul just starts babbling. Since Apple covers the big hitters in email, contacts, and web browsers, he simply pisses and moans about what it doesn’t support. Yeah, Paul, go ahead and hook your other smartphones up and sync to all those apps. Good luck with that.

Apple supports their own products and the biggest hitters in other categories. They may add support for others in the future, but only a talking points drone would argue that the iPhone has sync that doesn’t work. Does Paul believe the 1.25 million (as of last quarter, probably over twice that now) iPhone users can’t sync, and didn’t say anything?

I hate to point this out to Paul, but iTunes was syncing with Outlook long before the iPhone; it’s not new, so any major issues that may have existed were likely addressed long ago.

iPod issues

I love how Paul sneaks in some garbage matter-of-factly in the hope that you’ll just believe it. For example:

And when you add to that the fact that the iPhone’s iPod application is notoriously buggy and crashes a lot

“Notoriously buggy”? Um, no. Much like with Paul’s alleged rampant sync issues with Outlook, now he’d have you believe the iPod application is notoriously buggy. How can anyone doubt this is a shill-based talking point article when BS like that is flung around?

Non-configurable applications, home screen

No doubt the powers that be at Microsoft/Verizon didn’t think the list was long enough, so they started repeating themselves and hoped no one would notice:

The iPhone doesn’t offer any way to install or uninstall applications…

Um, this was already mentioned in the section on “no hardware or software expansion”. Was the article written so blindly Paul didn’t even notice? Did he just copy and paste the talking points received without reviewing them? Whatever. As I said before, there are a lot of apps for the iPhone and it’s not even “sanctioned” yet. Imagine what will happen when the SDK hits the streets in February!

Actually, I’m sure Microsoft has imagined what will happen with the SDK, hence this hit piece, and many others I’m sure we’ll see.

As for the home screen, the forthcoming 1.1.3 firmware update will allow it to be customized.

No cut/copy and paste

Paul and I agree on something. I’d like to see this as well.

Weak Google Maps application

While the Google Maps application that comes on the iPhone is attractive, it’s actually quite limited. There’s no GPS hardware in the iPhone and no way to legally add it

Since when did GPS have anything to do with Google Maps? Paul’s just being ridiculous, and he continues:

so you have to know where you are to begin with, making the notion of a map somewhat superfluous.

Wow. Just wow. Are you kidding me? Forget Google Maps, Paul. Forget smartphones as well. In fact, forget computers. Are you telling me that if you were lost in a city and got a map you couldn’t use it? You can find out where you are, you know. Really. Even you.

Getting back to the present, the Google Maps application on the iPhone is a great implementation, with additional features such as Hybrid Maps, Locate Me, and Drop Pin support coming very soon.

Weak Notes application

This is true. The consensus was that notes wouldn’t blossom until sometime after Leopard was out because notes was a new function within email. It will be interesting to see what Apple does with this in the coming year.

Wi-Fi iTunes Store limitations

Leave it to Paul to take the cool WiFi Store and slam it. He bemoans that it only works over WiFi, and then gets in a classic Thurrott dig:

(I’m guessing Apple knew its fans would freak if they saw how long it took to download even a single song over EDGE.)

Paul, you wouldn’t want to wait for a song to load over your precious EV-DO either. You do know 3G pales in comparison to WiFi, right?

Paul decries that you can’t use it for things like audiobooks, podcasts, etc. These may be coming, but music was first and foremost (by a wide margin) the priority. It works beautifully. Then Paul says this:

and you can’t wirelessly sync the iPhone to your PC.

What does this have to do with the WiFi Store? Absolutely nothing; it’s just Paul getting jabs in whenever he can whether it makes sense or not. (Remember, he’s writing this for Windows IT Pros).

Pathetic ringtone support

Apple hammered out better deals through the labels than anyone else. Paul won’t write about that because it doesn’t help his case, so he just… makes stuff up.

Most consumers don’t want to edit their own MP3s or purchased songs. They want to pay a couple of bucks for a professionally made ringtone. This is a no-brainer and could easily be implemented.

Really? I’d rather pay 99 cents (for a song I already own) and pick the best part as my ringtone than have some “professional” pick a part for me. And I’d rather pay a “couple of bucks” (if I don’t own the song) and get my own ringtone and the song to keep.

Oh, and if you’re a Mac user ringtone support is even better because the latest GarageBand lets you make your own.

Final thoughts

Heh. “Final” thoughts? I read the whole article and didn’t even see any first thoughts. Certainly not any original ones. This article was just a re-hash of every BS complaint from last year.

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7 thoughts on “Windows IT Pro Thurrott Fixes the iPhone.

  1. You my article writing friend need to take that apple branded computer out of your ass and come to normal senses.

  2. AshA,

    Aren’t you a little late to this party? This article was over a year ago.

    It’s true, Paul was wrong and I countered him on it, but he’s been wrong a whole lot of times since then. You could at least rant about one of my more recent corrections of Paul instead of picking one so old.

  3. Can you say Apple fan boys! I stumbled upon this blog and couldn’t believe anyone could be this ignorant, what happened to being objective. Paul is one of the most objective writers in the business. I use both Apple and PC/Windows/Linux products. All of them to have their pros and cons. how you pick apart Paul’s article is ridiculous, which is the same reason I stopped reading the ‘Daring Fireball’ blog. If you can’t be objective in your posts why should I waste my time reading them. The problem with any “Fanboy” is the notion of Group Think. Granted you can have you’re preferences but to just deny that your ‘product’ doesn’t have any flaws is just down right ludicrous. This is like hiring people to tell me how great I am and innovation never happens. If you read more of his columns or listened to a podcast or two you will hear what Paul thinks Apple has done right and what Microsoft has done wrong. Fanboys will kill online journalism so readers will no longer know who to trust.

  4. This is just more proof that Paul Thurrott has, and will continue to be, irrelevant in this industry.

  5. Regarding connecting the phone up as a modem, perhaps this link would suffice.

    http://www.cellular-news.com/story/28360.php

    The guy in the UK connected his computer to his Vodaphone cell and got a UKP27,000 (or equivalent to about USD$54,000.00) phone bill. Sure, you can have unlimtied data, but unlimited data is not unlimited. If there is too much usage, you can bet that the operator of the system (ATT in the USA), will charge the daylight out of you. Rogers here in Canada would be along similar lines for cost of data service I am told.

    Reginald

  6. If only someone could go back in time and fix Thurrott’s mum before his ignoble birth.

  7. Nice article Tom. Regarding the 2MP camera. Recently read an article liked from Daring Fireball, slamming the camera manufacturers who constantly pull wool over our eyes regarding the number of pixels the camera is capable of resolving. Bottom line is that a 5MP camera may not necessarily be better than a 2MP camera. Image quality is more down to the software used by the camera to make sense of the raw image captured. In the words of the author, and to make a point, you would need a minimum of 25MP to provide the same quality as an analogue 35mm SLR.

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