Blog Quoted in Roanoke Times

I was approached last week by columnist Andrew Kantor Kantor writes notable tech columns for the Roanoke Times & USA Today. He asked me a few questions from my perspective (apple enthusiast) what my thoughts were on the phone. Be forewarned.. it's not from the perspective of an Apple lover. In fact, it focuses more on the limitations of the iPhone. I agreed to give my thoughts because at least he was being fair to get someone to represent the Apple enthusiast perspective. It's a fun read, check it out. You can read the resulting column HERE. Keep reading below to see the full length questions and answers.


Here are the original questions that I was asked, along with my unabridged responses.

There are a lot of cell phones out there, including a bunch that do what the iPhone can. What about the iPhone appeals to you so much?

It consolidates many of the devices that I carry around each day - Cell Phone, iPod, and Internet Device. The integration between all three is phenomenal. Top that off with an amazing user interface and you have 1 out of 3 people in America interested in the iPhone.

What kind of cell phone do you have now, and what carrier do you use?

I currently use a Moto Razr with US Cellular.

Are you happy with it?

I am moderately satisfied. Portability & durability are very good, but the functionality is lacking, especially with email.

The iPhone has been criticized for several things, and I’d like your reaction to three of them — basically, do any of them make you want to wait for v.2.0?

1. The lack of 3G support?

For our area, it's a non-issue. 3G support isn't even available in the NRV or Roanoke Valley, and is not even anticipated until 2008. Edge is the better choice to hit the largest audience, since 3G is limited to select metro areas nationwide. Viriginia has one of the best EDGE networks in the country, and while slower than 3G, most people will be using the WI-FI connection when not in the car.

2. Only a 2-megapixel camera?

It's on par for the range of current smart-phone offerings. For example, two popular phones, the Blackberyy Pearl and Curve only offer 1.3MP to 2MP Cameras.

3. The lack of support for Microsoft Exchange servers?

iPhone is targeted to consumers. MS Exchange doesn't even enter into the picture for Apple's target audience. However, corporate users can still use the 'Web Access' feature of Outlook. For the rest of us, the iPhone will support all of the popular email services - GMail, Yahoo!, & AOL. Additionally, the iPhone supports the industry email standards POP3 & IMAP, and it even syncs with Outlook on the PC.
Update: After I wrote this, The rumor mill started buzzing with the word that ostensibly 'MS Exchange may be supported soon."

Might a lot of business users shy away from the iPhone because they can’t get corporate e-mail?

I don't foresee a large corporate adoption of the iPhone. Smaller companies that don't already have an investment in RIMs Blackberry servers will probably not shun the iPhone, but be more open to adopt it as the price comes down. Larger companies that already have the RIM Blackberry infrastructure will probably be more cautious and will slowly support it on an as needed basis.

Apple is known for phenomenal interfaces like the iPod's. But the iPod entered a market of second-rate products, where the iPhone is competing in a mature market with some high-class stuff. Do you think users will care about the interface as much?

Usability is key to the success of the iPhone. There are many smart-phones on the market that look great, but their downfall is their cumbersome interfaces and unreliable operating systems. Apple has proved with the iPod & Macintosh that they are leaders in the design and usability market. The iPhone uses the incredibly stable OS X operating system, and uses core technologies inside it that will provide an incredible user experience. If there is any company that can break into an already existing market, it's Apple Inc.

My Final Thoughts:

Apple is making other Cell phone manufactures scramble to come up with something as good as the iPhone. This is good, because it's going to mean a higher quality of phones across the board for all of us. It's important to remember that even with the missing features that are common on other phones (GPS, higher MP cameras, 3G), you need to address what the iPhone does well, and not what it's lacking. It's not aiming to be an end all device. Just like the iPod, Apple is going to focus on specific functions that appeal to the average user, and will do them well. Let's not forget it's the more than a phone... it is the best iPod they've ever made. While I do wish GPS was included, the battery life would certainly be sacrificed. iPhone features up to 8 hours of talk time, 6 hours of Internet use, 7 hours of video playback, or 24 hours of audio playback. More than enough for the average user. The iPod battery isn't replaceable either, but it didn't stop Apple from selling over 100 Million of them worldwide.