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David Pogue extends iPhone FAQ

updated 10:25 am EST, Mon January 15, 2007

Pogue extends iPhone FAQ

New York Times columnist David Pogue has answered a second round of iPhone frequently-asked questions on his blog after first handling the device and reading numerous questions from commenting users. The iPhone "might" support Flash as well as Javascript when it launches in June, but will not support Java proper as Apple Steve Jobs referred to the technology as a "big heavyweight ball and chain" that nobody uses anymore. The Cupertino-based company is undecided as to whether users will be able to set iPod-playable songs as ringtones, but will likely support games from the iTunes Store that currently work with the video iPod. The iPhone does not currently support wireless syncing via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and does not include any speed dial features -- much to the surprise of users and Pogue himself. The phone offers several pages of settings, however, and should -- in theory -- support both Google spreadsheets and docs to open Microsoft Word documents and spreadsheets.

Pogue reveals that the phone supports zooming in on both text and images, and surmises that the final version will include a security logon feature similar to that which is standard on currently shipping iPods to protect personal data from thieves. Users worried that the large screen could easily scratch asked about the status of the "glass" surface, which is in fact the same polycarbonate screen used in Apple's currently-shipping iPod screens with a substantially improved coating. Additionally, the iPhone's touch surface is only operable via bare skin, not with a gloved hand or a stylus.

The phone comes with stereo earbuds that feature a microphone and a switch on the cord, but works with any iPod-compatible earphones. Pogue notes that Apple also plans to support the 3G standard once it is more widely available. Addressing one comment about the iPhone's hefty requirement for visual attention, Pogue says that "at this early date, I think the phone may be the weakest part of the iPhone." The screen is "very bright" but the 'virtual' keys make the device's keyboard slower to use than a BlackBerry, although users needn't hit one key up to three times to reach a desired letter using the iPhone.

by MacNN Staff




  1. macuserssmelllikebum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can you spell...

    micro-niche player? This device will never unseat the Blackberry. Add this one to the Cube and Newton. Nice idea, wrong planet.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: can you spell...

    Actually, I think that while this rev 1 device will have some people disappointed, for a 1st rev, it's looking great. If rev2 has 8GB as standard, and is unlocked or at least available on other networks (T-MO!!!), I see the rev 2 of the iPhone eating the WinCE (sorry still love the wince name, best truth in advertising ever, lol) smartphone maket, and making RIM very worried...

    Rich browsing over EDGE or WiFi, and rich email over EDGE or WiFi will be killer apps for those torn between this and other smart phones.

    I see 3 main issues with the iPhone..

    1. Not supporting any speed dialing features.. I'm assuming this includes voice dialing for while driving? I hope not, as that would make it a non-starter for many road warriors...

    2. Questions re: using our music from iTunes as ringtones... Again, this is a feature that allows for some hands/eyes free use. When the opening to Dragnet plays, I know it's a family member.. When the ringtone from 24 plays, I know it's this lady I'm seeing, and when the ICQ "Uh Oh!" plays I know it's a customer I have no interest in talking to while driving ;-)

    3. Cingular... As a client ranted into my voicemail this weekend.. Elephants chained to his prince albert couldn't drag him back to those... at Cingular, Cingular AT&T, etc... I agree. The iPhone is a non-starter until I can use it w/ T-Mo. Everyone I know that's ever used Cingular is now not with Cingular and would never go back, name change or not. Apple's most rabid fans that buy rev1 of every new must have Apple device, are the type that expect far better customer service than Cingular is known for. When Cingular drops the ball, it'll be Apple's stock price that will drop, when users are mitching and boning about how they aren't happy w/ the iPhone..

    4. I know I said 3, but this one is a minor one... Not having stylus input/handwriting rec as an option.. Some people prefer it, Apple surely has the right patents and software (Inkwell/Newton), so why not offer stylus input as an option? This would greatly enhance the use of this device for opening/editing documents in the future.... Perhaps rev2?

    Apple has until June to address these things.. I doubt we'll see any change on the Cingular front, which is a shame. Still, June is a long ways away, Jobs may still have a trick or two up his sleeve.

    Just my $0.02US


  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No java and no stylus...

    These two omissions are very odd to me. I don't have any major issues with the phone otherwise, and consider it an amazing v1.0 release. Everyone forgets that, ultimately, this device is all about usability.

    This, of course, is what has me concerned about the "bare skin" only input method. If it is impacted by conductivity, then folks with drier or sweatier hands may see varying effectiveness... and folks with only one hand are out of luck.

    Lack of Java is disappointing, but not a huge surprise I guess... but to say that no one is using it anymore is insane. There are still far more folks using Java than ObjectiveC (Cocoa)...

  1. machead

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I contend that 99% of the phone buying public does not particularly care too much which carrier they have. Choosing any particular carrier is bound to upset a lot of people. I am currently on t-mobile, I switched from Cingular so that I can have a better phone. While I agree the customer servicce on t-mobile is MUCH better than Cingular, I also have to be honest and say that he network (at least here in the SF bay area) is not nearly as good.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: no java and no stylus

    Apple is not going to let users mare is shiny iPhone screen with a stylus! There was too much flack or scratches to the nano for him to provide a tool for scratching.

  1. zl9600

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i'm still with cingular

    These comments about how EVERYONE HATES CINGULAR can apply to any phone company, including T-MO (cute name for them, what are you an employee, mister 'get more'?).

    They all stink. I've had the LEAST problems with Cingular after Spring and Verizon. Never tried "T-MO", but I read enough about them that they haven't solved the cellular-companies-are-a******* puzzle yet, either.

    Cingular is the only carrier for GSM in the US. T-MO is not a serious carrier in either coverage or the fact that they are German-owned (Deutsche Telekom), making a whole new set of issues for Apple when they go overseas.

    As for speed dialing, I agree. This would be a big big problem. But again, V1 demo that hasn't been released and won't for months.

    Methinks improvements will come in these next few months.

    Or, mehopes

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It has Bluetooth, but no syncing? No speed dialing is just plain stupid. Sure, I could navigate to the address book, scroll through the 'cover-flow' of pictures hoping to find who you're looking for, then scroll to the appropriate number, then hit 'send' (or whatever it is), or I could hit '11' and leave it at that.

    I'm glad I finally see someone mentioning "the iPhone's hefty requirement for visual attention". Its been my biggest complaint on the stupid screen touch interface. If you can't feel a button, you have to look at it to see what you're pressing.

    I agree with Pogue on the fact that the phone is the weakest part of this device. Its like Apple just grafted it on. One of the biggest complaints from a lot of cell phone users is how hard it is to do obvious function, make a phone call. Same seems to apply here.

    Who cares what languages it supports, considering its a closed system at this point.

    Styli (?) are plastic and wouldn't cause scratches to a screen. Hope no one has to call anyone when its cold outside.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So, I want this phone. But. For $300 or $350 I'd swallow the lack of certain features and risk that Apple would provide a firmware fix to add things like BT sync, whatnot. However, for $500 to $600, I'm not willing to take that risk and can wait. But we'll have to see what the final product does in June. Apple has really been doing a far better job at listening to customers and I guarantee that Apple is scouring the web for feed back. So, Yes, but maybe not the first run, or maybe....

  1. devilla101

    Joined: Dec 1969



    We all know the missing features will be added on the next version. As Apple fans should know, Steve LOVES to give products with underwhelming features only to offer it again on a new version.

    All you have to do is fork out extra $$$ for the new version with those 1 or 2 features that should have been standard before.

    Relax people, its Apple.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    you really think.....

    that this closed system of Apple's for the iPhone will last indefinitely ?

    People are acting like it can't be or won;t ever be hacked/cracked or modded_

    5 minutes after my cell phone was released to the public a couple of years ago - there were mods left and right_

    Having OS X slapped right onto the damn thing - makes things that much easier to customize - write scripts or make widgets for such things as one-touch/speed dialing or syncing -- come on this is what is good about unix and javascript and css and photoshop all working together harmoniously [and maybe even some Applescripting - automator tasks or whatnot]

    As for the touchscreen [read: lack of stylus] thing goes - I don;t know_ To this point in the past anything I've ever owned or played with that had a touch screen - either the sensitivity sucked big time or the interface was so damn tiny that the stylus didn't interface all that well_ I also am tall and have proportional hand/fingers [slightly larger than average] so touchscreens additionally have been cumbersome for me at best_

    I can see OSX's built in voice capabilities tied to the speakerphone and an AppleScript or 2 having this thing dialing for pizaa or ordering grocies or calling to set an appointment - no problem_ All while I'm driving down the road - broadcasting my music to my surroundsound speaker system jamming out_

    If someone would take 5 minutes to stopping bitching about s*** that ain't there - I wish my car engine produced beer as an exhaust by product - but it doesn't_ I wish all vegtables tasted like bacon but they don't_

    I see a handheld PDA that has some cool gizmos that can rival most of what's on the market - the first ever to run a ful-blown desktop OS [OS X] - I agree that it's a little pricey but 'maybe' Apple will soften a little by June [probably not] - but rev2 or 3 the price will drop a hair and it'll have more cool new stuff_

    Otherwise - you all should get off yore arses and build yore own 'better mouse trap'_

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