posted by David Adams on Wed 1st Aug 2007 06:25 UTC

"Page 2"
How The iPhone Could Be Better

I'll divide the deficiencies into three categories: 1) Things that will be changed in software updates by Apple, 2) Things that should be changed by Apple, but will be instead be changed by way of hacks, (and many of these will eventually be embraced by Apple), and 3) things that can't be changed because they're not fixable in software, but will probably be changed in later hardware revisions, much to the annoyance of we early adopters. The fourth category is things that Apple won't change, or will resist changing for far too long (two-button mouse, anyone?)

Any article about Apple is bound to contain prognostications about not only what Apple will do in the future, but why they've done what they've done in the past, and what is likely to influence future decisions. Apple is like your favorite sports team's head coach, or maybe like your chosen deity in this regard, and the journalists and bloggers are like local news sportscasters and theologians. This article will be no different. And like sportscasters and theologians, I am utterly certain that my hunches and prescriptions are absolutely correct and infallible.

Section One:
Things that will be changed by software updates (and/or policy changes) from Apple:

These will be changed because I believe that the demands of the marketplace will override any reasonable objection to their change. Let me start this by telling a story from recent history. Apple released new Macs not too long ago with Intel chips. That was big news; shocking to some, exciting to others. Many people were eager to install Windows on their Intel Macbooks. Apple was mum on the subject. They had specifically designed the hardware, it seemed, to prevent it. Bounties were raised. Hackers set to work. Initial hurtles were overcome. Just as the hackers were solving the problem, Apple announces BootCamp, everyone can install Windows on their Macs, and Apple makes like it was always so, and the whole matter is quickly forgotten. Remember when you needed Firewire to use an iPod? Now it's all USB, and iPods no longer even support Firewire as an option. Apple often releases products with restrictive features, seeming sometimes like they're almost suicidally insular and proprietary, then they come to their senses later on, and pretend like their earlier stance never existed. Airbrushed out of the picture like a former Stalin ally that's been sent to Siberia.

I believe that this third-party-apps-only-through-Safari nonsense falls squarely into this category. The iPhone is in a very critical time of its life right now, as Apple is trying to take a very, very geeky segment of the computing industry (PDAs/Smart Phones) and take it mainstream in a big way. The truth is that people will not put up with the kind of bullshit in an everyday technology device that we've somehow become conditioned to accept in our personal computers. If toaster ovens, TVs, or even automobiles were as maddeningly unreliable and finicky as computers, our civilization would cease instantly. And why are our computers unreliable? As any Windows apologist can tell you, it's because, though they may work great on a clean install with top-quality hardware, we eventually install a bunch of shoddy crap hardware and software, and muck it up. And the less technically savvy you are, the more likely you are to install the aforementioned crap. Go into any office and see whether the dumbest person in there has installed some silly app that makes their cursor looks like unicorn and some animated monkey that spies on them for the Russian mafia. What kind of ringtone does the dumbest person on the subway have on his or her cellphone? I bet it's some no-talent top 40 band's latest hit! Non-tech-savvy people lack neither the desire nor ability to encumber their devices with insidious customizations. They only lack discernment.

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