3G iPhone: Why it really sucks…

Last night’s WWDC keynote from Apple was a real anti-climax. While everyone expected great announcements (such as OS X Leopard being available on non-Apple hardware) they keynote featured the announcement of the 3G iPhone and the demo of a number of apps.

The phone is very pretty and most bizarre is that the 16GB version comes in white, while the 8GB version seems to be only available in black. You can be certain, that Apple will change this very soon (similar to the array of colors for the iPod and the Nano). I am not bashing Apple, as I like Apple’s products — I just expected more than what was delivered:

The new iPhone features: 3G / GPS, all metal buttons, comes in 8/16 GB models, 5 hour talk time, new USB wall charger (great – now all current chargers / docking stations will probably need to be replaced), No more recessed headphone jack (whoopee – this is a feature?)

But now to the great lack of features (and this is where very disappointing comes in): Apple has overlooked a few key features that are common-place on other mobile-phones, such as multimedia messaging and copy-paste functionality, among others.

While the iPhone supports Bluetooth headsets, the lack of keyboard or headphone support inhibits those who wish to optimize their experience with wireless peripherals.

Apple’s infamous software keyboard rotates with web sites when used with Safari, but the company did not expand that functionality to any other aspect of the device. I still prefer a “real keyboard” and don’t know how I will be able to write a SMS while driving in the car (come on…. everyone does it, and how will you do this on a touch-screen????)

In addition, the lack of Flash functionality removes many websites from use on the iPhone, a sore spot that has both Apple and Adobe working to find a solution – Apple CEO Steve Jobs believes that the mobile version of Flash is inadequate, while Adobe claims the iPhone isn’t powerful enough to run anything more.

Most higher end phones are capable of tethering – acting as a modem for a computer through USB or Bluetooth – but Apple has neglected such a seemingly obvious feature. Apple also missed out on enabling video camera support, another common-place feature on even low-end cellphone. I was expecting that the new iPhone would at least sport a 5-megapixel camera – but not so. Apple believes that 2MP are good enough (my 4 year old Sony K700 has a 2MP-camera).

So the bottom-line: I still prefer my Nokia N95 8GB – I can listen to music if I want to. I can take beautiful pictures on a 5-megapixel camera. I can use a wireless headset, stream video and music to my PS3 or Mac. I can type SMS in the middle of the night while driving down the highway doing 140km/h (fail to see how this can work on any touchscreen).

There also seems to be rumors that the iPhone is not necessarily a true 3G-phone. There has been mention that it is a HSPA variant – not sure what this means – I suppose we will have to wait and see…

While the new iPhone will come in heavily discounted — at USD 199 for 8GB and USD 299 for 16GB, I still prefer the new Nokia N96: