Jun 27 - iPhone Drawbacks: Still want a iPhone?

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Jun 27 - iPhone Drawbacks: Still want a iPhone?

From a slow data network to a sealed battery, here are some of the drawbacks to consider before you buy the season's hot phone.

1. The battery life question: Apple says that the iPhone's battery will survive up to 8 hours of talk time, up to 250 hours of idle time, up to 6 hours of Internet use, up to 7 hours of video playback, and up to 24 hours of audio playback. And to explain how it came up with these numbers, the company has posted a list of footnotes and disclaimers that rivals the rules you find on a "free trip to Hawaii" sweepstakes form. We won't know the reality until we're holding the iPhone in our trembling, multitouching fingers. Apple's spec page says that the 8 hours of talk time was achieved when "the Wi-Fi feature Ask to Join Networks was turned off." So how disabled was the Wi-Fi when talk time was tested? Apple also doesn't make clear what combination of 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and EDGE was employed to achieve the 7 hours of Internet use. Macs have pretty good power management settings. What will the iPhone offer? Until more is known, be prepared to carry around the phone charger.

2. Where are the keys? The iPhone's software keyboard, with its on-screen key images, may work fine with Steve Jobs's single-finger hunt-and-peck approach, but it could prove problematic for those folks who have honed their thumb-typing skills on BlackBerry units, Treos, Motorola Q handsets, or other PDA phones with physical QWERTY keyboards. Things did not go well for one PC World editor when she tried typing on a prototype iPhone in January; even the best predictive text entry software would have been stymied by the string of incorrect characters. Plus, what happens when the on-screen keyboard covers up the very e-mail text you're trying to respond to?

3.Limited third-party apps: Lots of cell phone power users get more value out of the applications they've loaded on their handsets themselves than the often lame or expensive offerings from their carriers. When the iPhone was first announced, third-party apps seemed shut out entirely, a move that prompted one online petition of protest. Now Apple says that developers can create iPhone apps that run in Safari. Only two problems with that: First, those apps may be fairly poky given the iPhone's slower EDGE network connection. Second, many developers seem to hate writing for Safari. As PC World forums member dazeddan said, "As a developer, we have more problems designing around Safari than any other platform. I wish it would just go away."

4. Data that crawls: When AT&T's EDGE network debuted in 2005, it seemed zippy indeed, delivering data at up to 100 kilobits per second. But that was then. Today, with true 3G technologies delivering data at up to several hundred kbps, Apple's decision not to support AT&T's UMTS-HSDPA 3G network seems short-sighted--especially given the iPhone's investment in cool new Web browsing technology that doesn't suffer from the compromises of a mobile browser. In our limited hands-on tests a few months ago, downloading the New York Times' front page via EDGE took quite a few seconds. AT&T has tacitly acknowledged this potential problem by announcing upgrades to its EDGE network in anticipation of the iPhone launch. And of course, the iPhone will support Wi-Fi, which will make Web page downloads much more feasible if you're in range of a hotspot.

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 http://www.pcworld.com/ar .. 9/article.html


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