Sunday, September 30, 2007

Waiting on the iPhone Community to fix Apple

Apple is being deeply clueless lately, at least about the iPhone.

I am not talking about iPhone unlocks here. I do not get why Apple does not sell an unlocked model at a higher price-point than the unit they sell via AT&T here in the states. Seems like a no-brainer, so I assume it is contractual with AT&T that they do not.

I don't really care: I know there are folks who really have issues with AT&T but I am unable to discern any major differences in moral character between any of the carriers here in the US. The price is the price, I have looked at it, decided it is worth it, and am willing to pay it.

I also do not care about the iPhone sealed battery, no GPS chip, or no 3G. I have looked at each of these issues, and decided that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. For ME. I also do not expect that others needs, wants or desires here are the same as mine, and I expect that others will stay away from the iPhone because they don't like these two features *more* than they like what the iPhone is. [update from the future: Ok, that was three features, not two. Doh.]

I am pretty clearly on record as loving my iPhone... mostly. It is as much a portable computer as anything else. That is what I wanted from the converged device.


Apple is not meeting my needs in the application department. I want things other than what they offer. I get the whole web 2.0 thing. I still want certain classes of things to run locally on my iPhone. My deepest disappointment to date is that there is not a decent Klondike time waster available for local install. Not from Apple, and not from the iPhone community at large, even with their local applications installer. I know about the web site solitaire sites, and so far none of them are making my socks roll up and down.

I have the Nullriver, and have used it to install all sorts of the stuff that Apple forget to install or at least make available as options. Things like a native IM client No iChat... what *were* they thinking. Give me this great keyboard, and I can't use it to IM! I am not a big IM'er. I don't do it at work much at all. When I have time to IM is when I am sitting on the subway someplace, or in a waiting room at the Doctors office or something. When I am with my iPhone, not my computer.

Other missing stuff I want are things like an RSS news reader, VNC, and (as a geek) the BSD subsystem so I can open a terminal and SSH around to things.

There should have been an SDK from day one, and when Apple did not create it, they should not have been surprised that the community was not going to sit around and wait for them to figure it out.

I am in the interesting position now that I will not install the new 1.1.1 version of the code on the iPhone because it is attempting to break my applications (and perhaps brick my iPhone in the process), and I value the community developed applications far more than any ability to directly download music to my iPhone,(iTunes store access being the only really new thing in 1.1.1, and "Just In Time Music" is not something I live for. I can wait till I get home.).

It would be nice to have iTunes Store access from the iPhone, but I do not want it more than I want all the other cool community applications. I mean really: has Apple *seen* Navizon? I don't care that the iPhone has no GPS chip. Don't need it with Navizon.

Instead of taking the opportunity to build community, not to mention get great feedback about what people really want their iPhones to do, Apple appears to be trying to make the community mad. It won't be long before folks just say "This isn't worth it. Great hardware though. Time to install FreeBSD / Linux and just be done with this."

I don't think that is what Apple wants: an lPhone. That is exactly what they are incenting. The law of unintended consequences is a cruel master.

So, like the Chuck Norris joke, I am waiting (Chuck Norris doesn't sleep, he waits). I am waiting for the community to fix 1.1.1. I am watching what Apple does next. I am deciding.

I don't *have* to buy Apple stuff. I do so far, but I am fully willing to not do it in future if Apple continues not getting it. Linux is taking off in the Smartphone market. There is probably a reason.

Come on Apple. Please figure this out!


AmyStephen said...

Fabulous post, thanks!

Akshun J said...

Apple doesn't have a community, my friend. They just have fans. Communities don't get locked out after paying for an ipod, just because they won't or can't run itunes. That's because a community would have been involved in creating software that is cross-platform and accessible to all.

Fans, however, get pissed on all the time. Just open your latest Hollywood tabloid...

Don't hold your breath waiting for Apple, man.