Posted in Technology

iPhone’s missed opportunities attracting hacker attention

It’s been a week since the launch of the iPhone. Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal) and David Pogue (New York Times) have posted their very positive reviews. A lot of people in San Francisco rushed out to buy it including my friends. At dinner the other night, I had a chance to play with the iPhone and I’m very impressed by the interface and the quality of the screen. If you own a Mac like I do, a lot of things such as widgets will be familiar. In fact, it feels like a Mac but on a portable device. Web pages are easy to read thanks to the beautiful crisp screen. Video is also extremely impressive. It also has Wi-Fi.

With all that going for it, I am disappointed with the choices Apple has made during this first launch:

– You need to sign a 2-year contract with AT&T. It would have been better if the iPhone were unlocked and you could pop in the SIM card of your choice. More people would have bought it, not just in the US but also in Europe and Asia.

– They crippled the Bluetooth functionality on the phone so you can’t send and receive files from other Bluetooth devices such as laptops. I don’t understand this decision, given that AT&T isn’t even subsidizing the phone. US carriers have a bad habit of castrating mobile devices.

– The first version of the iPhone does not support 3G, only the slower, more ancient EDGE network in the US.

– You cannot put applications on the iPhone. If you like Gizmo Project or Skype, there’s no way you can install it on the iPhone and use it to make calls via Wi-Fi. If Apple had opened it up for any applications, there would be a universe of applications developers making apps designed for mobility. Too bad.

No wonder hackers are already at work trying to open up the iPhone. And there are reports that they are making progress towards unlocking it. DVD Jon claims to have figured out a way to activate the iPhone without AT&T: The point of Johansen’s coding exercise, as he explains it, is that there are many potential iPhone purchasers who do not want to enter into a 2-year contract with AT&T, but do want to use the device for WiFi, web, email, video, music, calendar, contact management, and other features — basically, treat it like a bomb-ass iPod, forget about the phone part. (from BoingBoing)

This weekend, there’s even an iPhone Developer Camp at the Adobe offices in San Francisco! There’s such a demand to open this beautiful, revolutionary device. I don’t understand why Apple has launched it locked, crippled and castrated.

I would have run out and bought the iPhone but I refuse to do that until it becomes a computer in your pocket, as it is designed to be, with freedom of choice for the owner. I want to put MY apps on it, pick my own mobile carrier, and use it as I see fit (3G or Wi-Fi, depending on the circumstances and my budget).

Resources: www.iphonehacks.com

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Author:

Author of "The Secret of Angat", a novel set in the Philippines during World War II. Founder, MuniWireless.com; Founder (Mapplr.com - travel) and Shopplr.com (beauty, style).

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