"A cruel debate opponent" "Pagan blasphemer" "Reverse-iconoclast" "don't get pissed at him b/c he pwn yalls whiney asses"
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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Apple iPhone - IMO

Now that the orgasms of the Apple faithful have subsided a bit, many are taking a closer look at what is known about the new Apple iPhone. Then again, the name may be something else, depending on how that Cisco lawsuit shakes out.

One can't deny the presentation skills of Steve Jobs, however, such abilities don't always transfer to market success. I'm sure friends of mine who worked with me at a corporate job, some years ago, will remember the impressive speaking skills of some of the higher ups and then recall how various market forces and just plan bad execution still drove the stock price down after that one period of impressive gains.

There are many issues that work against the iPhone being a certain home run. For one, the cell phone market is very competitive, with established companies, in contrast to the mp3 market that Apple entered with the iPod. There are concerns with the 2 year exclusive deal with Cingular. I'll leave the discussions of those matters to others and focus on the interface/hardware from a users point of view.

While I don't currently have a cell phone and my Palm is an old m515, I would like to eventually upgrade to a convergence device, rather than have multiple items on my belt. The Treo 680 being of most interest to me lately, due to price point, though the low resolution camera is a disappointment. On the other hand, I don't even have a digital camera, so it's still a step up.

Now we have the iPhone as an option, when it comes out around June. First off, I have to agree, the iPhone looks great. It's one of those electronic devices that begs to be fondled. The multi-touch screen technology has all the appearances of an elegant and intuitive interface. But, it might also be a mistake in some ways.

I've noticed many comments online about Apple's decision to go with a full touch screen all the time. No keyboard, except that which appears on the screen. The criticism being that software keyboards are not preferred by users because of the lack of tactile feedback. You can't really tell where you are, without looking, when using a touch screen keyboard. Most smart phones have a thumb type keyboard, which is a faster method than the one-finger pecking used by Steve Jobs in his presentation.

Others have noted that smart phone designers work to make the phones usable with one hand. With the iPhone, you have to be looking at the screen and using two hands all the time. The one button on the face appears to only bring you back to the phone's home page.

For me, the iPhone, for all it's impressive interface features, full web browser and sleek look, still needs other applications. Currently, I can read and in some cases, edit Word and Excel files. I can also read PDFs on my lowly Palm m515. No word on what will be added to the iPhone or if those programs will work in some way with Microsoft programs. Then there is the matter of no removable storage. While the included 8 gigabytes is impressive, I think most would still like removable storage of some type.

As for the lack of a keyboard, I'll have to see how that actually is accepted in the market as I currently just use a stylus or my finger with graffiti on my Palm. However, I can think of some ways of improving the iPhone interface to overcome some of the limitations of not having a hardware keyboard. If poking along with one finger is to be used, perhaps Apple could provide other keyboard configurations in the software.  The Fitaly style keyboard being one that comes to mind. There isn't much that can be done about the lack of tactile feedback, unless Apple can figure out how to provide a little electric tingle when one touches a key location on the screen, with the home keys getting a bigger jolt. Of course I'm joking. It may turn out that lacking hardware keys, combined with the right software keyboard will be just fine.

Another possibility is the addition of hand writing recognition software, like the graffiti originally developed for the Palm Pilot. The iPhone screen is certainly large enough to divide into an area for text and another for numbers with the finger strokes showing onscreen. I've used just my index finger on my m515 at times, so it is possible.

To help with using the iPhone with one hand, I think it would be easy to add more functions to that single home button on the front panel. Making it a toggle, multi-directional input device should be possible without destroying the impressive and minimalist aesthetics of the device. I've experimented a bit with my m515 and I know I can hold it in one hand in portrait and landscape orientations, and still do scrolling motions on the screen with my thumb and also access the button area. With a good case design, it's even easier. A scrolling, click-to-select wheel or something, on the side would also be a good addition.

So, for it's impressive list of features, that screen, wifi, bluetooth, full browser, multi-touch and just good looks, I'm still holding out. If I could use, or at least view word or excel type files, have removable storage and be sure the keyboard works well, I would probably sell an organ to get one. Unfortunately, at the currently stated price, that's about what it would take.


Filed under: News

Trackposted to: Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, The Random Yak, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Big Dog's Weblog, basil's blog, Stuck On Stupid, The Amboy Times,, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, 123 Beta, Wake Up America, Rightwing Guy, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Faultline USA, third world county, The HILL Chronicles, Woman Honor Thyself, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, stikNstein... has no mercy, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Renaissance Blogger, Dumb Ox News, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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