Gripe On!

I've had my iPhone since day one and I wouldn't trade it for (almost) any phone on the market. It does most things very well and some things extremely greatly. It also falls on it's face in a few areas. This rant is about those areas and what Apple could do to fix it.

iTunes Yanks My Chain

OK, I'm working away on my MacBook Pro and decide to plug my iPhone in to get a little syncing love going on. As soon as I put it in the base iTunes pops up and gets all in my face. What's up with that?!? Hold on, it gets even worse. Even if you hide iTunes it pops up. What about if you just close the iTunes window but still leave the app running? Nope, it still pops up.

Now, when Spaces came along I thought "Great, now I can have iTunes and other things running on another screen and never have to worry about it jumping up in my face every time I sync my iPhone". No such luck. Not only does iTunes still pop up in my face, but it yanks me out of whatever I was doing and transports me to a new screen to show it to me!! WTF!!!

I have a message for iTunes: Leave Me Alone!! If there were a way to sync my iPhone without iTunes I would be all over it. Even an option to sync in the background or something. This leads to another problem.

That Syncing Feeling

Now, I don't want to sync my entire music & video collection over the cell network or even over Bluetooth, but come on. Why cant I sync some stuff without physically connecting my phone to my computer? Seriously, an address book entry shouldn't over tax the cellular network. Even better, just allow my laptop and phone to talk to each other on Bluetooth. It doesn't cost anything and it's already built-in. Why oh why are we stuck in the late 90's with this?!

Bluetooth Vacancies

Just to rail on Bluetooth a bit more I have to ask; why does Bluetooth work for something and not others. I picked up a Jawbone headset (BTW: I love it!) to work in noisy environments - like behind a rack full of servers. I use it to talk on the phone and everything is dandy. The problem comes in when I want to do other things, such as listen to voicemail or music. That's right, you didn't read it wrong - the iPhone doesn't allow you to listen to voicemail or music though a Bluetooth headset. I have no idea why. Granted, Apple might not want to sacrifice sound quality for the iPod functions in an iPhone. I can see Steve being adamant about that. However, what's the excuse for not allowing voice mail to hit the Bluetooth airwaves? This is annoying to no end.

Sideways Email Viewing

And while we're talking about annoying things, let's touch on one thing that drives me bonkers. How come I can view my web pages, pictures, and even songs horizontally, but my mail is stuck in vertical mode? I get lots of email that are too wide for the screen in vertical mode but would look great if I could rotate them 90 degrees. It's not like it's something that's never been done before. It's HTML email and you already have a browser on the device, and it can rotate the message for you.

You've got to wonder; did they not think that people wouldn't get wide email? Or maybe everything they tested it with was ASCII and would flow to match the screen.

Jungle Safari

Multiple browsing on the iPhone is a great idea. Too bad it doesn't work properly. I can't count the number of times I've been surfing along with two pages open (Reddit & Digg, mostly) and had the iPhone drop me back to the dashboard. Most of the time I'm just reading a article and there is no action going on. My instinct tells me that it's running out of resources (or something) but with 8GB of storage you'd think they could keep a couple of articles open.
Even worse, the caching doesn't seem to work well, if at all. I can hit the same page twice in a row and it still downloads the whole thing. These things make browsing the web much more painful than it should be. Yes, yes, I have "rebooted" my iPhone to fix the problems. It doesn't seem to work. I've also tried to be careful in my surfing, going slowly, not hitting "bad" sites, etc. Nothing seems to work.

Another problem with Safari on the iPhone is the fact that you have no control over the links you "click". One of the best things about tabbed browsers is the ability to open other pages in the background while still reading the current page. I do this all the time on sites like Reddit and Slashdot to maximize my browsing to loading ratio. Given the problems with crashing and caching, the lack of a way to open a new page from a link is a real handicap. Maybe if you held down the link for a certain amount of time it would open that link in a new page. I've tried it but it doesn't work. :(

Looking Ahead

On the bright side, I am really looking forward to the release of the Software Development Kit for the iPhone. People are really doing some amazing things without it - I can hardly imagine what's going to happen with it. Actually, I can image a few things I really, really need.

High on my list of must haves is an SSH client. I used to use a Danger HipTop (Sidekick II) and one of the best (coolest :) things I could do was log into my machines from anywhere in the world and get stuff done. Now that I have my own small business, this is even more important as there is usually no one back at the office to call and walk through a problem.

Another thing I'm really going to like is a usable instant message client. One that talks to AIM, Jabber (Gtalk), MSIM, & Yahoo will keep me in touch with everyone. That crappy SMS thing that comes with the iPhone is not even worth looking at. I think I have used it 3 times and each time it was a total pain-in-the-butt, and not because it was costing me money to do so (OK, that was a little bit of it). I like some of the web applications enough, but sometimes there is no substitute for a real, honest to goodness client.