Apple have been innovators on the next generation of smartphones and on the next generation of tablets. To be honest I appriciate the introduction of iPhone – the smartphone market was almost not evolving at the time. As a Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 developer I’m not sure that I understand the fixation Apple have received after introducing iPhone and iPad; the IOS platform is very limited and not very developer-friendly – but damn they (Apple) produce some nice hardware!
For a long time I have been listening more or less passive to the hype about iPhone and iPad. Yesterday I decided that enough is enought! I decided to buy an iPhone and iPad to try them out and see if the fixation is genuie. I bought an iPhone 4 (16GB) and an iPad 2 (64GB); both with a 32MBit data connection from 3 (http://3.dk). The iPad is with a docking station from Apple.
Prior to buying the stuff above I have been using a Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC Mozart (both with Windows Phone 7.1 beta) as my primary phones and an Acer Iconia W500 slate running Windows 7. Becides that I have a Lenovo T410S I use for development. I have been pleased with the Windows Phone platform so far – there are some issues I find critical if Microsoft is going to be able to get a leading position in the smartphone market but it is a really good starting point.
First let me comment on the iPhone. What Apples always have been good at is the wrapping. I received it in a very small box and it looked like a million (Nokia, Samsung and HTC pay attention – you could learn a lot here from Apple!). I put in the micro sim card and turned it on. “Please connect to iTunes”. What? What the fuck! A few years ago I had an iPod – being forced to use iTunes to choose to give it away. In my opinion iTunes is by far the most non-userfriendly music application ever created. With no way around it I choose to install iTunes again. Running through a quick wizard in iTunes to register the iPhone it was ready to use.
My expections for the iPhone was high. With all the hype I almost expected it to be ready to make coffee for me :) I tuned some settings and tried to download a few apps – constantly I was told that I wasn’t able to use the data connection. Laying the blame on the location (Ordrup, Denmark) I accepted this eventhough I had an average speed when using my laptop. As the hours went by and I was getting more and more annoid about the lack of performance of the data connection I recalled the media storm about the antenna problem. Almost for fun I tried to hold the iPhone in the bottom between my fingertips the data connection instantly doubled the performance. WHAT?! Why is such a simple problem not fixed?!
Next step was to get my 3 e-mail accounts up and running: a hosted Exchange account, a Hotmail account and a GMail account. I was fairly simple to add all the accounts. Not sure why but a lot of my contacts from my Exchange account was added 3 or 4 times (this could be something done wrong from my side). Looking at my e-mail accounts from the startscreen I only get notified about new mails; not on which account and I have to got through a few steps to open to correct mailbox. No big issue but in the long run it could be. Finding something in the AppStore is easy! and I can find almost anything I want. However the AppStore is REALLY slow (could be a side effect of the data connection issue mentioned above).
I have used the iPhone as my primary phone for a few days now and I have to switch back my Windows Phone 7. The iPhone is too slow and it is static and borring in its userability. On the upside the hardware looks so much better then any other phone on the market and it is obvious that Apple have learned some lessons during the first 3 versions. However with the developer experience in mind iPhone (4) could never be my primary phone.
With that in mind I turned on the iPad. It looks cool and weights about half of my Acer tablet. After completing the wizard in iTunes I tried to install a few apps. This time I did not experience any problems the data connection and the apps was quickly installed. Tried to introduce Angry Birds to my 2 1/2 years old son with great succes. This was not possible on the Samsung Omnia 7 due to the touch search-button. Anybody with the a Windows Phone 7 and with touch buttons knows about the issue.
I expected to use Windows Live Apps to edit my Office documents. Fast I realised that IOS is just a mobile OS. Dough! Windows Live Apps is not supported in mobile browsers leaving me without any possibility of editing my documents. Dammit! Why haven’t Apple upgraded their OS on iPad to run some more features then the extremly limited version running on iPhone?
Since you’re reading this blogpost you know that I use WordPress as my blogging engine. I found a WordPress app for the iPad enabling me to write posts on the iPad. And it actually works pretty good. There is already lots of iPad specific apps and some of them looks really nice.
So the iPad is good for two things: children (of any age) playing and blogging :) (not fair to say, I know!). I have only been using the iPad for about 5 hours but I must that I see some great potential in the format and Apple’s infrastructure on this platform. I hope to see OSX vNext running on iPad some day. That would really turn this platform into something really great.
Having tried iPhone and iPad I there is not doubt iPhone is not the best smartphone on the market but the iPad got some great potential. Dear iPhone users (and developers), please give Windows Phone 7 a try – you will be REALLY positive surprised!
UPDATE: As a follow up on this post I did a post on the status of Windows Phone 7. You can read it here. One thing that keep amazing me is the hardware that Apple produces – it is in an entire different league then most other hardware manufactores. I have received a few comments about my judgement of the iPhone – I stand by my comments by admit that I had really high expections which might have had influence on my judgement. I will give it another go soon and I all-in-all do believe that it is a good phone.
This post is written on my iPad.
(anybody want’s to buy an almost new iPhone 4?)