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Why I’ll Never Own an iPhone

July 15, 2008

When I first read about the iPhone, I thought it was brilliant. iPod combined with phone combined with a beautiful touch screen that also happens to be motion sensitive. Great concept.

Then the iPhone 2 came out last week. Once more, I got really excited. This iPhone was better than ever—it had everything its predecessor did, except you no longer needed a 2-year contract with AT&T, it had GPS, and it opened up its software language so anyone could make an application for the device. I read about one app that allows you to point the phone in a certain direction, and it’ll give you a list of restaurants over there. Pretty cool.

Given all these amazing features, plus the hype that the iPhone is the phone of the future, I was seriously thinking about getting one. Until I actually used one.

At the wedding this weekend, someone was passing around their iPhone. I took a look; indeed, it looked and felt extremely cool. However, I wanted to try one specific thing. Something I had my doubts about ever since I heard that the iPhone didn’t have a retractable keyboard. Instead, it uses a touch-sensitive keyboard on the screen itself.

After trying to use the “keyboard,” I can say with all fairness that it’s the worse decision Apple has ever made.

Seriously. Give it a try. The word recognition software is quite accurate, and it’ll correct mistakes from you. But without having some sort of sensory output—the equivalent of the sensation of depressing a button on any other phone—you have very little control over what you’re typing. You can’t judge if your finger is pressing the Q or the W from the way it feels. That little groove between buttons on other phones is really important—it lets you distinguish between keys. The iPhone doesn’t grant you that. It’s like you’re typing blindly.

Apple says that you get used to the “keyboard” after a while. However, no matter how accurate you get at clicking those little images, you’ll never have the same speed or accuracy as when you’re using a keyboard you can touch. I sincerely hope that Apple comes out with a slightly thicker iPhone with a retractable keyboard. Until that day, I’m sticking with my archaic flip phone (or maybe I’ll get a Blackberry).

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