Most of the world, it seemed, drank the Steve Jobs Kool-Aid about the new iPhone being a BlackBerry killer when the Apple CEO first announced the device earlier this year. But after nearly two weeks with the new iPhone 2.0 software on my iPod Touch, I can tell you that Apple has not yet delivered on that promise.
Don't get me wrong: The iPod Touch was the first PDA since my decade-old Handspring Visor that had a good enough user interface and capabilities to get my own money spent on it. And I'm addicted to using it on the train, having mapped out the unsecured Wi-Fi hot spots where I can do e-mail and other work during my commute. It's been a long time since a device has so enthralled me.
But despite being under that spell, I still see that Apple hasn't delivered what large businesses really need in a smartphone, despite its many amazing innovations thus far. That's actually the issue: Many of the misses are bread-and-butter ones that should have been there at the beginning, and certainly in the first explicitly business-oriented model. And, yes, its main competitors -- the Research in Motion BlackBerry; the Palm Treo, and even the Windows Mobile devices -- don't do everything below, either. But they do most of it, and Apple should be a leader, not a follower, in these business features, just as it is in the Web and user experience side of the equation. (Has anyone noticed how cool the new Calculator app is? Hint: Rotate it.)
Where Apple missed the boat on iPhone 2.0
Here's a baker's dozen of what's missing, done wrong, or done in a half-baked way. Individuals and many smaller businesses can probably adopt the iPhone despite them, but not larger companies or those for which security is important (such as hospitals, government agencies, and financial services providers). You already know all the legitimately good iPhone stuff from the ton of gushing reviews, so no need to repeat that here.
For more takes on what Apple needs to do in the next generation of the iPhone, check out the MacJury online radio panel that Jeff Garnet, Chuck Joiner, Chuck La Tournous, Terry White, and I participated in earlier this week. Some of the issues below came from these panelists, and the show covers others, such as better integration between e-mails and contacts.
If we're lucky, we'll see these in iPhone 2.1, not iPhone 3.0.
1. Voice dialing. In this day of hands-free-while-driving laws, how can the iPhone not support voice commands for the phone features? The user interface is great, but it still shouldn't be used when driving. (And why not voice commands for other items such as calendar entries? OK, that may require Mac OS X Snow Leopard.)
2. Attachment saving. I can save image attachments to the Photos folder, so why I can't I save other attachments such as Word and Excel files? Having to find the e-mail to which they are attached each time I want to refer to them is lame.
2.5. Oh, and why can't I open RTF files? RTF is the lingua franca word processing format used by many apps, including Apple's. The iPhone should support it, not just Apple's and Microsoft's proprietary formats. (And if Apple wants to attract lawyers, it should support WordPerfect format as well, although that could be a third-party app opportunity.)