So close, yet so far

Tuesday 16th December, 2008

At the weekend I got myself a shiny new Iphone 3G. It was so close to living up to the hype, but has sadly fallen short. Below is a quick list of reasons why I’m disappointed by my Iphone.

Music playback FAIL

Sometimes playing a track does nothing. No sound. No visible activity. When I press the button that takes you back to the previous screen it registers the action but freezes for a while before actually doing as requested. It’s intermittent but it’s happened to me at least five or six times since the weekend.

That’s not really what you want from the second generation of what’s alleged to be an MP3 player.

Itunes FAIL

To start with I’m not a fan of being forced to hook my phone into Itunes in order to get it to work, but I’ve already had an annoying experience because of it. My girlfriend logged me out of my Itunes account and logged into hers, and when I synced my phone with it Itunes silently transferred my phone over onto her Itunes account. When I later tried to install an app on it I was challenged for her password… unable to do anything about it until I got home.

Apple, if you’re going to enforce a strict one to one policy between a computer and a phone then you have to explain more clearly and simply what the rules are, and warn people when they go near the boundary of your proscribed behaviour.

Syncing FAIL

I keep my music library at work, because that’s where I listen to music. I put a few tracks on the Iphone at home to try it out, but other than that I’ve mostly been installing apps.

Now I’ve brought my cable into work, fully expecting Apple to play their annoying little permissions game and wipe those tracks off when I synced with my work computer… but no. Apparently it also wipes the apps I’ve downloaded. I don’t know whether I’m more shocked that it wipes the free apps, or that it wipes the apps that I’ve actually paid for.

When I go to re-install the wiped apps, the app store tells me I can re-download them for free, so why didn’t it check I had permission to use them before it wiped them? Thanks Apple. Very thoughtful of you.

Apple, you’ve managed to make an amazing product and then snatch mediocrity from the jaws of victory with your disappointingly wooden approach to synchronisation and multiple devices. Nicely done!


Mobile barcodes

Thursday 20th March, 2008

Just came across this really interesting idea for a bar-code driven product wiki. The killer use case is that you could take a snap of a product’s bar code with your mobile phone camera and within seconds be reading what other people say about it, news articles, reviews, etc. It’s very compelling.

I suspect that patent holders would come running, but surely there’s a reasonable case for this patent (6,993,573) being denied, as granting it would create a monopoly equivalent to all hyperlinks being controlled by a single source.