iPhone Annoyances

iPhone Annoyances (Part 1…more to come)

iphone_vs_blackberryThere is  so much hype about the iPhone 4. I studied a lot of reviews. I bought one. Did I make a mistake switching from Blackberry to iPhone?

I decided to write a review from a business user’s perspective. More specifically, from the perspective of a small business user, a long-time Backberry user,  who  recently switched to the iPhone4.

To get straight to the conclusion for those of you with attention deficit disorder: If the iPhone is your first SmartPhone, you will be tickled to bits. It does lots of cool stuff and does it pretty well. There are also lots of apps to make up for shortcomings.

BUT

If you are a business user coming from Blackberry to iPhone, and your primary needs are  email, contacts,  calendar scheduling, and synching to your PC (especially if you use Outlook), you will likely be very frustrated. Most simple tasks like entering a calendar appointment task take longer to perform on an iPhone. Some of the things you took for granted on a Blackberry (like default reminders for calendar appointments) cannot be done on the iPhone.

Background

I am a longtime Blackberry user. I used my smart phone primarily for business and to communicate with my family. My laptop computer, Microsoft Outlook, and Gmail are the centre of my universe. I am in a small business environment without Exchange Servers and an IT department.

Most of the articles I see out there are filled with a bunch of cool things the iPhone can do but do not really focus on the main core items:

  • Is it a good, efficient, phone that lets me readily call contacts?
  • Can contacts be easily maintained and synced with a desktop computer?
  • Can calendar appointments be entered efficiently and synced with a desktop computer?
  • Can you easily and efficiently send and receive emails?
  • Can you efficiently send text messages / instant messages?
  • Can I keep a handy to do list for items that don’t really belong as calendar appointments?
  • Does it have a decent battery life and is it easily and quickly rechargeable or are spare batteries available?
  • After you have satisfied those core needs:
  • Does it have a good web browser?
  • Does it have a decent camera?
  • Are there a lot of useful apps readily available?

Most of the reviews I read made the iPhone sound like a slam dunk choice over a Blackberry.

I switched to an iPhone 4 from my beloved old Blackberry Curve:

Why did I switch from my beloved Blackberry Curve to a new iPhone4?

My Blackberry finally broke where the charger plugs in and it was not worth fixing. It owed me nothing. I went out looking for the next great SmartPhone. I was seduced by the sexiness of iPhones good looks and members of the Apple cult were tugging at my brain. Still, prior to switching I did a lot of homework and reading reviews. The problem is that most of the reviews seem to be done by high-school students and not business users.

Am I happy?

Not really – I got a phone that is a top-notch web browser and has a second-to-none screen but other than that I am pretty pissed by how it handles most of my business needs. Oh, it looks nice too – still the best looking phone out there.

General annoyances

  • Keyboard (not as bad as I thought but the autocorrect becomes very annoying)
  • Battery life not great
  • No BBM  Blackberry Instant Messenger (WhatsApp App softens the blow a bit)
  • Any holster, even the raved about Otterbox sucks compared to the one handed case of use of Blackberry holsters
  • There are a lot of things you can do one handed with a Blackberry – with an iPhone, plan on using two hands
  • Voicemail password –  you cannot simply enter one like you can on a BlackBerry

email annoyances

  • Can’t delete multiple messages simultaneously. This is just plain dumb. I can manage my inbox at least 10 times more efficiently on a Blackberry.
  • Slower to navigate through emails (even with the threaded view)
  • In the end, you will want to set up a gmail account and do everything through there

Calendar annoyances

  • It takes at least 3 times as long to enter an appointment on an iPhone than on a Blackberry on average
  • Can’t drag a calendar appointment from one time to another
  • Calendar lets you enter appointments in the past, even with reminders, with no warning that the event is in the past. This is dumb – I can’t tell you how often this feature on the Blackberry saved me from entering an appointment in the wrong time/day/month/year…
  • Can’t tap on an empty time slot in calendar to start opening an appointment that would show the correct time
  • Can’t enter default reminders for appointments
  • Can’t set default appointment lengths ??
  • Can’t accept .ics calendar entries – Blackberry does this with no problem. If someone sends me a meeting Invite from Outlook, it will only go to my main outlook calendar and not to the calendar that syncs with Mobileme
  • Not setting automatic alarms in calendar.
  • Not being able to click on appointment time and enter appointment – have to use scroll wheels.
  • Calendar does not default to current day. For example, if I was last looking at tomorrow, it will default to look at that day when I reopen the calendar

Contact annoyances

  • There should always be a search box at the top. The little magnifying glass at the top right is almost impossible to reliably hit without  hitting the add a new appointment button. Maybe put the magnifying glass at the left. A widely unknown workaround is that you can just tap at the very top of the screen to get a search box
  • The search box should stay persistent even when you are scrolling through contacts – it scrolls off the screen
  • Can’t sort contacts by company for example: I have the names of 5 local policemen. I have them in my Blackberry under Company “Police”. In the iPhone, I wanted to look up “Police” but it is not there. You have to use the search function. This is a very basic and MAJOR oversight for any business user.
  • Any easy way to add another contact from the same company?

Syncing issues with MobileMe and Outlook

  • Syncing from iPhone changes the sort order of Outlook contacts to lname fname and removes company.
  • Synchronizing to Outlook not as fast or as good as Blackberry. I even subscribed to Mobileme which made life a bit easier but still took a long time to set up. It gets very confusing by establishing multiple calendars on your iPhone and your Outlook. If you are like me and want just one main calendar with everything in it, it is not nearly as simple as it should be.

Camera annoyances

  • Should be a way to look at the properties of a photo to find out the date and time it was taken. All this information is captured, just no easy way to see it withoutout downloading it to your computer or perhaps another app you really should not have to add on
  • Digital zoom only available in still camera not video camera.
  • Digital zoom is basically a waste due to quality loss – same as sending the old unzoomed version to someone and having them “pinch-out” to enlarge.

Please comment on whether you agree with some of these shortcomings and suggest ways to get around them. I will be trying to add to this article in future posts.

9 Comments on 'iPhone Annoyances'

  1. Chris Burdge says:

    Hey Michael, I also switched from my BB (although I only had it for two years) to an iPhone4 about 3 months ago. The switch was easier for me as I’m a Mac user, so the synching is painless, although I don’t actually use iCal or some of the other Mac apps. I have been a long time Google user (schedule, docs, etc) so no issues there as access is same from iPhone or BB.

    The camera & video on the iPhone is a thousand times better than my old BB (I had the 8300). One thing that I do find very annoying is the number of pocket calls I’ve made. The call screen is very sensitive and I’ve wound up accidentally calling people a few times. I also love how easy it is to tether the iPhone to my Mac. That has saved me a few times.

    All-in-all I’m pretty happy with it. Although I just noticed my battery is at 7% and it’s only 6:00pm – that’s not good…

  2. David Z. says:

    Michael,

    A lot of people switching from BB to iPhone are experiencing the same feelings you are. That said, there are a number of ways to help your new iPhone achieve BlackBerry-like performance. In fact, we created a guide to help people do just that – you’ll find it at http://www.companionlink.com/whitepapers/blackberry-to-iphone-migration.html

    That guide should address some of the concerns you’ve listed above. That said, I wanted to call one out specifically. I noticed you stated that you dislike not being able to delete multiple emails. The good news is that you actually can! Just hit the edit button in the top right corner of your inbox and you’ll be able to select multiple messages to delete.

    Hopefully this will help make your transition easier. The iPhone really can be a good business device – it just takes a few apps from the App Store to help get it there.

    – David Z.
    CompanionLink Software

    • Michael Stevulak says:

      David,
      Thanks for the link to the guide – some very useful information there.
      With regard to deleting multiple emails – I realize that you can select multiple emails to delete by selecting “Edit” in the Inbox and then tapping on multiple messages. My gripe is that you still have to tap on each individual message. If you have 200 messages to delete, tapping each one can take a a minute or two. The Blackberry will let you select multiple messages or even all messages without having to click on each one individually – a far superior method.

  3. David Z says:

    Michael,

    I see what you mean now. Tapping 200 times would be rather annoying. I’ve not yet seen a mail app on the iPhone that has a better delete option, but it’s possible one exists.

  4. Jason says:

    Drat, I was hoping to find a way to fix my girlfriend’s IPhone 4. Not being able to send out invites for events unless you have an exchange server is pretty huge in my opinion.

    *sigh* hopefully there’s a free app for that. If anyone knows of one please let me know. Unfortunately I’m not that familiar with Apple stuff.

    I use Android … *shrug*.

  5. Mike says:

    I agree with your comments I am frustrated by the lack of business functionality of the iphone I really want to switch back but I also love the web browsing what is with the BB’s web browsing it sucks and was the main reason I switched

    • Mike – I am probably going to do another post soon about why I like my iPhone now and will not consider going back to Blackberry – Droid maybe. Blackberry is now a niche player in my opinion and should concentrate on government and large corporations only if they are going to survive.

      The key to me loving my iPhone is becoming a hardcore Gmail and Google Apps user. Google is going to take over the world with these and they integrate very nicely with iPhone. I was a serious Outlook user and I have weaned myself off of that. I am totally “in the cloud” now and really starting to see the benefits. It was no picnic getting this all set up and coordinated to meet my business need, but it seems to work now. I use Google Calendar even on my iPhone and the Gmail interface. All my google contacts are synced to my iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad – I use those devices mainly at home and my work PC is Windows 7

      • Mike says:

        I agree the Google apps are the way to go I use the mail, calendar and tasks in business daily I just don’t get the BB web browsing it really sucks and I don’t get why? that was the main reason I changed and I surely miss my BB

  6. Noah Tepperman says:

    I made the switch from BB to iPhone in November.

    Overall, I like the iPhone. There are a lot of differences, but most of them were just that- differences, but not actual problems.

    There have been 2 real problem issues for me.

    #1. Lack of one-hand functionality. As mentioned above, I also find this really, really frustrating. Of my two issues it’s definitely the lesser. On the plus side, it *has* helped me eliminate my phone use while driving (which is a good thing).

    #2. The Calendar, Alarms & Reminders. This one is the killer.
    – On my Blackberry I could use my Calendar as both the Calendar and a to-do list. I would simply add to-do items as zero-time appointments, and enter a reminder setting.
    – In my Profiles I had Normal & Silent profiles, and was able to customize the ring (Normal) & vibrate pattern (silent) for my alerts/ reminders.
    – When an alert/ reminder went off (say, 15 minutes before a meeting, or when it was time to do a task), I could either clear it, or snooze it… but I *HAD* to do one or the other, and I couldn’t easily skip over that by accident.

    Now, on my iPhone, I get 1 reminder. It’s easy to clear it by mistake.
    – I don’t get a snooze option.
    – I don’t get the ability to have one vibrate pattern for my Calendar alerts, another for my voicemail alert, and a 3rd for my text alert, etc.

    It’s really causing me problems. I keep searching for a replacement app that will help me, but I can’t seem to find one. It also seems like Apple has split the functionality into 2 separate categories of apps (Calendars, Reminders) and the thought of having to use 2 separate apps is pretty scary for me.

    Can anyone help?

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