iPhone

10 reasons not to buy an iPhone (at least, not yet)


Since its release June 29th, the iPhone has gotten more than its share of press. Love it or hate it, everyone's been talking about it. Even its detractors have to admit that it has shaken up the cell phone industry and influenced the expectations of consumers as to what they want in a mobile phone. Looking at its sleek, colorful interface, it's hard not to fall in love with it. But like most decisions based on emotion, buying one may not be the smartest thing to do -- at least, not yet. Let's look at some of the top reasons to resist temptation and pass on the iPhone for now.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: It costs too much

At $499 for the 4-GB model and $599 for the 8-GB model, the iPhone is expensive. It's not the most expensive cell phone on the market by any means (after all, the Motorola SLVR Diamond went for 75 grand (yes, that's 75 thousand dollars), and other phones have cost as much as a million dollars. But those are toys for gazillionaires. For the rest of us, 500 bucks is a lot to pay for a phone. Many are willing to shell out that much, if the phone is really, really great. But as the following list illustrates, it may be just a bit too hefty for the iPhone in its current incarnation.

#2: It doesn't fully support Exchange

Many business users get their mail via Exchange servers. iPhone proponents claim that the phone supports Exchange and it does -- sort of. What it supports is IMAP (the Internet Message Access Protocol), a generic e-mail protocol for accessing mail on a remote server. You can enable IMAP on your Exchange server and get your mail, but you lose the "push mail" ability, wherein each message is sent to your device as it's received. Instead, the device checks the server at regular intervals ("pull" mail) to see if there's new mail, so you may not get your messages instantly.

Even more importantly, since the iPhone doesn't support Exchange ActiveSync, you don't get remote access to your calendar and contacts. That can be a deal breaker for business users. There are rumors floating around that Apple has licensed ActiveSync and will support it in a future version of the iPhone. That's all the more reason to wait on buying one.

#3: User-unfriendly battery

A cell phone without a user-removable/replaceable battery? Surely you jest. But it's true; when the iPhone's battery dies, you have to send it back to Apple to get a new one (for a fee). Sending your iPod away for a few days to have the battery replaced is bad enough, but most people can manage without music for a short time. Being without your cell phone for days (or weeks) could pose a real problem, since many of us rely on them for business and safety reasons, and more and more people have ditched their landlines and use their mobiles as their only phone.

The iPhone's battery has a decent charge life, but what about those of us who like to plan for contingencies? With my Samsung i730, I can take an extra charged battery along with me and pop it in if I use up all the juice in the primary one. No such convenience for iPhone users.

I can't believe there won't be a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth when those batteries start to go bad. This seems like one of the top issues Apple should address in the next version; it's a deal-breaker for too many folks who otherwise like the iPhone.

#4: Where's the keyboard?

As other PDA phone vendors strive to make their keyboards bigger and better (transitioning to side-slide keyboards with more usable keys), Apple went the other way and did away with the physical keyboard completely. The iPhone boasts a large on-screen keyboard, but a lot of folks out there started out with Blackberries and have become proficient at using their thumbs to key in information. That's going to mean learning a whole new way of keyboarding with the iPhone.

#5: No third-party applications

Those of us who have been using Windows Mobile phones are used to being able to download and install the applications we want to add, just like with a "real computer." With the iPhone, you can't install third-party applications. Apple undoubtedly did this with the idea that it would prevent a lot of tech support problems and make the phone's operating system more stable, but I think it was a big mistake. People who shell out this much money for a phone expect it to be a full-fledged hand-held computer, too -- and that means being able to add your own apps.

#6: Stuck with AT&T

By limiting the iPhone offering to only one cell phone provider, Apple immediately took itself out of the market for the many people who believe Verizon's mantra that "It's the network." Loyal customers of Sprint likewise don't love the iPhone enough to switch carriers.

Of course, T-Mobile folks may be able to do a workaround now that there are reportedly hacks available to allow the iPhone to work on that network, but for the average user who isn't particular tech-savvy, it's not the ideal solution. And since the iPhone is a GSM phone, and Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology, there's no way to make it work on those networks.

Even if you do hack your way off the AT&T network, you'll have to pay a $175 early cancellation fee to get out of your AT&T contract.

#7: The bleedingly slow EDGE

Not only are you stuck with AT&T's network, with the iPhone you don't even get to use its fastest network. Instead, you're limited to the slower EDGE network, whereas rumor has it that the upcoming HTC Vogue (a CDMA version of its Touch) will run on the super-fast EV-DO Rev A networks. People who buy Internet-enabled phones want high-speed Internet.

#8: Smile! You're on iPhone camera

The built-in camera on the iPhone marks it as a consumer product, not a business-oriented one. Many business users don't want cameras on their cell phones because there are plenty of places where cameras are prohibited, and it's a pain to have to surrender your cell phone at the door or leave it in the car just to get in.

But even for those consumers who do want to take photos with their phones, the iPhone camera leaves a lot to be desired. Although it does have some cool features, like the ability to set a picture you've taken as wallpaper or assign them to your contacts, it's an adequate but not outstanding 2 megapixel model. There's no zoom and most important, there's no flash on the camera, so you'll have to do your picture-taking in well lit areas.

Admittedly, it's at least as good as the cameras on many other cell phones, but most other cell phones with cameras don't cost this much.

#9: iTune required to sync

Apple assumes that everyone has iTunes installed on their computers, but many of us Windows users don't. However, if you want to sync your iPhone with your computer, you'll have to install it because that's the mechanism the iPhone uses to sync files, contacts, calendar, e-mail accounts, etc.

Want to sync to your work computer but you're not allowed to install music programs like iTunes on it? Oops. I guess you're out of luck.

#10: The dead zone

There have been reports about a display problem on some iPhones that manifests as a "dead strip" that loses sensitivity to touch input. Since the iPhone is all about the touchscreen, this is not a good thing.

Even worse, some reports suggest that more phones are likely to fall victim to this problem as they're used more.

Summary

The iPhone looks cool, but if you're a serious business user, there are other, less expensive cell phones that provide better functionality. And even if you're not a business user, unless you have plenty of money lying around and absolutely must have the latest neat gadget as soon as it comes out, I'd recommend waiting for version 2 of the iPhone, which, we hope, will cost less and fix at least a few of these issues.

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

37 comments
srivaaz
srivaaz

This article is waste of time in 2012. Please remove it.

CynthiaCharles
CynthiaCharles

I wonder if these points are still valid today! 2010. I have recently been trying to get an iPhone but on my existing 3 Mobile Network. It is proving quite tricky. However, this is what I found out if anyone is interested. http://bit.ly/bn5kUm 3 Mobile are unable to give timings for the launch of their new handsets, including the 3 iPhone due to testing and pricing agreements, this information is subject to change. However please check out 3 Store http://bit.ly/bn5kUm for the latest information. This offer may only be able to existing customers! It has been rumoured for ?25 a month with 700 minutes including unlimited internet you can get the iPhone on 3 mobile. This includes a contract choice of 18 months which means the maximum amount you would pay for the 3 mobile iPhone would be ?450 which makes this a great 3 mobile offer. But let?s wait and see! http://bit.ly/bn5kUm

mcrizmylife
mcrizmylife

you can jailbreak the iphone to add third-party applications. my friend and my boyfreinds brother both have one and they both jailbroke it and have TONS of third party applications on it...

jondaniel
jondaniel

Hello!!!! Knock...Knock!! It's just a freak-in Phone, it is already obsolete... wake-up!

sgreen0918
sgreen0918

Biggest reason for me not to buy an Iphone.HTC touch will be release by tmobile for sure around late october and maybe other carriers as well. For you that dont know HTC really had the first touch screen phone out before apple its just that it wasnt here in the states so apple gets the credit for being the first,but it will be before years end. So you say what is an HTC,Well its basicly the same phone as an Iphone with all the same functions and features. But the big plus is that its windows based. And for me thats all I needed to hear to make the wait worth it.

thew0rldandme
thew0rldandme

#1: It costs too much - price went down by 200 dollars and i get a 100 dollar credit :) #2: It doesn???t fully support Exchange - who uses that anyways :) just set it up auto check email #3: User-unfriendly battery - mine lasts alllllll day and im in I.T. #4: Where???s the keyboard? - how do i type 2500 texts with out one? :) #5: No third-party applications - mine has may 3rd party apps #6: Stuck with AT&T - they do suck but the iphone is so pretty and fun, everyone knows at&t / cingular sucked before the iphone came out #7: The bleedingly slow EDGE - wifi is everywhere and edge works fine for myspace and online messangers :) #8: Smile! You???re on iPhone camera - i love to take pics of myself #9: iTune required to sync - so? doesnt everyone have itunes #10: The dead zone - no dead zones here.. maybe just fat fingers?

veition
veition

i think that your are mistake, iphone orientation for young not for business.

alesit1
alesit1

I think patience is the answer. If you wait long enough, the other cell phone manufacturers and service providers will be competing and then we'll have a choice in a PC world for all the "goodies" on the IPhone

aas88keyz2
aas88keyz2

Since the announcement that the iPhone came out I have been anticipating the moment where I could finally have one of my own. After reading your list you have brought me back to reality. I can't believe that such a new generation phone would have so many issues. Maybe when v2 comes out I will be more confident in it's technology but until then I will stick with the reliable technology I have now. The key to this article is "not yet..." With some work this phone could be something.

Paul4
Paul4

4GB iPhone has been dropped, the 8GB model price was reduced to 399. Article lists stupid reasons why not to buy iPhone: camera, no keypad, battery, iTunes required to sync. A person who knows anything about the iPhone would laugh at these.

klassman6
klassman6

For the blind community, Windows and Macs presented a huge challenge from when DOS was the primary operating system for computers. With DOS, a simple voice synthesizer could easily read text and you could move from place to place with ease. With the advent of Mac/Windows, it became impossible to know where a window was and which layer to read. So after a long, expensive software development phase, and fairly involved training, a blind person can now successfully navigate around the internet, and Mac/Windows applications--if they have mucho bucks to purchase the software. With the advent of the iphone, where the keypad disappears from the tactile world into the smooth, virtual screen world, the situation becomes impossible again. Short of having a plug-in keypad/board, I know of no way a blind person can utilize a iphone. Try using one with your eyes closed and you'll know what I mean. A voice synthesizer program depends on a tactile keyboard of some sort to navigate to a place you want to read on the screen, so the touch screen becomes supremely blind unfriendly. If the touch screen technology catches on, and keypads disappear from being a common feature on most phones,what's a blind person to do?

appleiigs
appleiigs

whine whine whine, blah blah blah, guess you didn't notice that iPhone outsold all other (smart)phones since it's launch. there's a rebound to every one of your points, mostly through the use of common sense, but I really cant be arsed typing them out.

Scott.Anderson
Scott.Anderson

*disclaimer: I do not own an iPhone...yet. Nor do I own any Apple stock or have any connection with any of the competition to Apple products/services. 1. Cost: Without resorting to the extreme examples that are provided in the article, there are several "smart phones" that cost more. And with any subscription device, you need to add up the total cost over the two years for a real price. Just looking at the explicit price of the hardware is disingenuous, at best. If you are going to run a statement about costs, please provide a complete one. All high-end cell phones require a voice/data plan to use all of the features. Please show the total cost. 2. Exchange: Correct, the iPhone does not support Exchange in either products' default configuration. However, the iPhone is really a mobile OS X computer, so adding Exchange support is not a matter of a new phone. Rather it is just a software update just like any computer. So out-of-the- box Exchange support could be added any day. With the said, let's talk about iPhone support on Exchange. Did you know that your IT guy can make the Exchange server iPhone compatible by clicking one setting checkbox? Its an industry (just not Microsoft) standard called IMAP. However, getting your Microsoft certified IT guy to consent to using something not invented in Redmond may be your biggest challenge. 3. Battery: While I understand this one, it still baffles me as to why this is such a big deal. First, carrying a charger is not a big deal. I know of no one that carries a batter in their pocket so carrying the charger in your business bag of choice seems a no-brainer. Second, there are a plethora of power choices out there for emergency unplugged power. They are just as small as additional batteries that go on the inside of the phone so why not just carry one or more of those rather than actual batteries. Besides, I've heard of no one complaining about the battery life on the iPhone. So why complain so much about something that has not been a real issue? Another point is that the only reason I have ever pulled the battery from my phone, has been to reset the device from a hard lock-up (thank you Palm and Windows CE). 4. Keyboard: You must be kidding me. The main complaint here is that it is not like the current mechanical keyboards and we might have to get used to a different way to do things? So???we shouldn't be riding in cars to move around because we have all those centuries of getting used to walking? Give me a break. If you have actually used the keyboard and don't like it, fine. But that reasoning is just not business like. In my experience (testing the phone at the AT&T store) I was quickly as proficient with it as I was with my current phone. And by all reports the experience just gets better and better over time. 5. Third Party Software: While I would love to have the ability to write on- machine applications for the iPhone, I understand why Apple is keeping it closed???for now. With that said, are you saying that Web 2.0 applications are not real useful business applications? Perhaps you should write up how SalesForce.com is not a real application. See how far that gets you. There are problems with internet applications, but there are problems with all applications. For example, applications not connected to real-time databases don't have the most accurate information. Such is the case with many non-internet enabled/connected applications. But saying there are *no* third party applications is again, disingenuous. You may not like the delivery method for those applications, but they are available and the list is growing. Just do your own internet search. 6. AT&T: Are you saying that AT&T is a bad network for all business users? Please explain more? Oh, and did you know that AT&T has and is expanding its own 3G network? BTW???I use Verizon now and can tell you that it is not without its own problems. 7. EDGE: Yes, it is not as fast as the 3G networks, including AT&T's own. However, the real issue is whether or not it is fast enough. Speed it not for the sake of speed. Rather, in the business world, speed is for getting the data the user needs when they need it. As to your comment about people buying internet-enabled phones want high-speed internet, let me say that people that buy internet-enabled phone also expect real internet browsers. Something that the iPhone provides beautifully. Which phone do you recommend can provide a better browser experience than the iPhone and what are its short-comings? 8. Camera: Yes, any phone with a built-in camera will be an issue for getting into some company facilities. However, many of those same companies also provide safe zones for meetings, if you are not an employee and are just meeting there. If you are an employ of the company and they don't trust you, then why did they hire you? 9. iTunes can play music. If your company, again, doesn't trust you, then why did they hire you? If you have an iPhone and a legitimate reason for installing iTunes, then I have a hard time imagining a company not allowing you to install the software. If they don't, they don't. But rather than part of a 10 Reasons list, should this issue be relegated to a case-by-case list? 10. Dead Zone: I guess that all other phones out there (touch screens or not) have been completely trouble free? So??? there have been reports with some hardware failing. It is under warranty, get it fixed/replaced. How is this any different than any other hardware. Are you going to ban all Dell laptops because some have failed (actually, quite a few, but that is another rant). Again, if this was a significant problem, then declare the iPhone a shoddy product and move one. That is enough of a reason not to get one by itself. However, by the vast majority of reports, it is a very well built piece of hardware with very few problems of any kind. How did this make it to a list of ten unless you just needed one more item for a well rounded "10" list. I guess 9 reasons just did not have the same ring to it.

jfdoylejr
jfdoylejr

Version one of anything is always the bleeding edge. Look at the first iPod: 5GB, Firewire port, tiny monochrome screen and $495. Let's just eat a slice of patience, and watch as Apple tweaks this into iPod: The Next Generation. I've been hands on with a borrowed iPhone, and the user interface is totally intuitive. As some of the legitimate issues mentioned above (battery, AT&T only) get addressed, I think the iPhone will rise to the challenge of being the The Next Big Thing.

graphos1
graphos1

TV programs, movies, music, photos, and data and an 8 GB hard drive for $600. 8 GB is insufficient storage for a device with such capabilities.

mrogers
mrogers

As I read this.. Re-read, and re-re-read number 5, a very fateful decision of Apple's past seems to shine very brightly in my mind's eye... Didn't apple screw themselves hard in the brown eye by limiting third party anything on their computers and the whole "Apple OS only on the IBM-based chipsets"??? Well, seeing as how I was beginning to sway my opinions of Apple because they have finally done so well with a product and made the iPod so cool and popular and actually compatible with Apple (or) Windows. (Which, by the way, I thought was funny. You can't use your mom's Apple to put songs from iTunes on it while visiting on vacation or something then go home and use Windows to add other music unless you format the dumb thing). Sheesh.. I could go on for DAYS!!! I'm so glad I waited for a review like this to decide what I was gonna do for my personal phone. Verizon rox my sox and I think I'll just kick it with "the network."

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