Thursday, September 20, 2007

Apple still doesn't get it

Ok. This is a little off topic for this site. But, as a person who bought an iPhone on the day it was released and took it back four days later, I think that it is important that our readers don't get sucked up into all the iPhone hype.

Although Apple has sold over one million iPhones, Apple still doesn't get it. They could have sold over 5 million iPhones by now, if they weren't so greedy. It's the same warped "keep it proprietary" philosophy that has kept the Mac a poor second for decades, even though it sports far superior technology.

In response to huge numbers of requests and hundreds of negative media reviews, Steve Jobs recently announced that the iPhone will now support downloadable ringtones. NOT! Well, in a warped Steve Jobs kind of way, it will support something that vaguely resembles what ringtones might have been years ago. But, in no way does the iPhone offer true user-choice downloadable ringtones, with the ease, flexibility and economy (that means FREE) that cell phone users have come to expect of even the cheapest, bargain basement cell phones, not to mention the many modern and far more practical smartphones on the market today.

You can only make iPhone ringtones from music that you purchase from the iTunes Store and for which, you already paid $0.99. Even so, Apple wants to charge you an additional $0.99 for a ringtone made from that already purchased music. Hello?!!! What's wrong with this picture? Worse yet, not all songs on the iTunes Store are allowed to be turned into ringtones. Only certain Apple-approved songs can be made into ringtones. You can't even make ringtones out of music that you have on an old CD, that is not available on the iTunes Store. At least six of my ringtones on my old cell phone fall into that category. So to recap, Apple wants you to pay $0.99 for a song and then, only if they approve of that song, pay an additional $0.99 for a 15 to 20 second clip of that song, to be used as a ringtone and ignore the fact that on your previous phone, you could download ANY ringtone from ANY music source that you already own and the ringtone service provided by

In short, Apple's idea of downloadable ringtones is far more restrictive and infinitely more expensive than what is available for almost all other cell phones, meaning that the iPhone still doesn't have downloadable ringtones that can be considered even close to modern.

Note to Steve Jobs: There are certain things that I expect from any cell phone. It's sort of like expecting a car to have brakes, headlights and a horn. For that reason, I will not buy any cell phone, no matter how glitzy, if it does not have true downloadable ringtone functionality, support voice dialing and cut and paste. I will not buy any music player, no matter how glitzy, if it does not support A2DP Bluetooth stereo. Other features of which I expect to see most, on any smartphone are, expandable memory, Java support, video recording, a user replaceable battery, instant messaging support and an API (application program interface) and SDK (software developer kit), so 3rd parties can develop specialized applications for the phone, as they have long done on the Blackberry, the Treo and the Nokia, to name just a few. None of those features are available on the iPhone. It would also be nice if you were to add GPS and fix that headphone jack that won't fit my high-end noise-reduction headphones that cost almost as much as the iPhone. So in short, Steve, the iPhone has a long way to go, before I will even think about buying another one (I took the first one back on July 3rd). I also recommend that our readers consider these things, as well. I look forward to a version 2 of the iPhone that has more than just some glitzy features and actually includes the most used features that we have all come to expect of any cell phone.