There’s no question that no single phone has done more to change the mobile phone industry than Apple’s iPhone. It’s responsible for making touchscreens a must-have, for creating the app store industry out of nothing and for putting the operating system and what it can do front and centre when it comes to choosing a new phone.
But not everyone is convinced by Apple’s ‘wonder-phone’, and if you’re not a believer you’ll find no shortage of good reasons to give the iPhone a wide berth. Here we look at 10 of the most convincing:
1. There’s just one iPhone
Choose to align your stars with Apple and its iOS operating system and you have exactly one choice open to you: the iPhone. Yes, there are different storage options available but that’s about the extent of choice available to you. Opt for any of Apple’s rivals and you have a range of handsets to choose from, and new options arriving every other month.
2. Closed OS
Even if Android’s claim of being open-source is looking more and more of a stretch the greater its market share grows, it’s still a long way more open than Apple’s iOS. Much of the Cupertino company’s success is tied to its ‘walled garden’ approach, where what Apple says is the only opinion that matters. The result is a near complete lack of choice, if your choice in apps or services doesn’t meet with Apple’s approval.
3. High price
The iPhone has been seen as one of the best smartphones on the planet right back to the first generation handset’s debut in 2007. But particularly since Android has risen to prominence, high-end smartphone features have increasingly found their way into more affordable handsets, isolating the iPhone increasingly at the high end of the market. Apple is strongly rumored to be considering introducing a more affordable ‘iPhone nano’ – a sure sign that it’s feeling the heat.
4. Average camera
iPhone users will rightfully argue that the quality of the Apple handset’s camera can’t be judged simply by glancing at a spec sheet, but there’s no denying that there are considerably better camera phones on the market. Nokia’s N8 is nearly a year old now yet still boasts a class-leading 12-megapixel camera, while Sony Ericsson is making serious strides forward with each new generation thanks to Sony’s Exmor imaging technology.
5. Limited screen size
They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but a new breed of ‘superphone’ has emerged in the last year boasting dual-core processors and screen sizes well upwards of 4 inches across. Apple will no doubt match the processing power with the next-generation iPhone, but it’s unlikely to go beyond a 4-inch screen in a bid to keep everyone happy. That means serious big-screen video fans are best served looking elsewhere.
6. Connectivity concerns
Apple is highly protective about who and what it allows to connect up to its hardware, and in practical terms that means you’re limited in your ability to connect up external devices and accessories. The iPhone’s overall popularity means accessory makers have been happy to play Apple’s game, but the upshot for the end user is normally higher prices for iPhone add-ons than for other handsets.
7. No Flash support
Apple’s iOS-powered trio of the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad are united in their inability to work with Flash web content, the result of a long-running spat with Adobe. While Apple has pushed hard in support of the rival HTML5 protocol, the iPhone still has issues working with an awful lot of web content.
8. Approach to third-party apps
When it comes to the App Store, Apple holds all the cards and it knows it. As such, it doesn’t allow third-party apps to process transactions on the iPhone unless Apple gets a rich cut, or there’s an iOS-specific version of the app available as an alternative. It’s an approach that’s increasingly alienating other tech companies – names as big as Sony and Amazon.
9. Fixed battery
When you sign up for an iPhone you’re agreeing to do everything Apple’s way, such as being unable to do anything at all on your own should you experience battery difficulties. Other phones allow you to remove and replace the battery; not the iPhone: you have to hand over your precious handset to an Apple technician to do the job for you.
10. No 3D
3D is only now surfacing as an emerging technology in the mobile space, but rest assured it’ll be considerably more advanced 12 months down the line. LG and HTC have already laid down early markers, and Apple faces a major dilemma with the next iPhone, due to be announced over the summer: does it chance it as one of the early adopters now, or sit it out this time around and risk being one of the last to make the jump 12 months down the line?
[Today’s guest column comes from Martin James, editor of Mobot.net, a mobile phones community. Martin writes about all things mobile phones, from iPhones to Android, on a daily basis.]