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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

IPhone Early Design Exposure

As a present to myself for my retirement I bought an Iphone. I had been a user of a corporate issued Blackberry for about four years, so this was a pretty new experience. I had also recently heard a Google exec speak very glowingly about how revolutionary the IPhone was.

So far my experience has been mixed. I am not an Itunes user, and only sometimes listen to podcasts, so that aspect is not big for me. The 'real' browser is good and that has been convenient, but I am not always in places that provide wi-fi, and the AT&T Edge network is abysmally slow, so that has been a disappointment.

Regards interface, I was surprised that there were inconsistencies. Delete is not always done the same way, for example. I am not used to touch interfaces, so have found myself selecting and even deleting things that I did not plan to. Compared to the BBerry, the qwerty typing interface is error-prone and slow, annoying if you answer many messages with more than a line or two.

The physical design of the phone itself does look a little 50s. Was it really inspired by Braun? Perhaps, based on some of the pics I have seen. I like the minimal number of buttons, but I think a more modern and striking design could have been used. And again, I think consistency of usability design could have been thought through more carefully.

I see that the Iphone 2.0 interface will be addressing some of these problems, but the very simplest issues of synchronizing your contacts and calendars between laptop and mobile are problematic. I figured out ways to make these work, but it took too much effort. Though I am no longer within a large enterprise, there are security and syncing issues for that context as well.

Still getting used to it. If you have plans to get one, suggest you play with a friend's before jumping in.

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