Apple worse than Microsoft?

The Apple iPhone is currently one of the most wanted gimmicks as far as I noticed. And I had the opportunity to test it:
  • Design: There is no doubt that Apple has a good feeling for design - even if there is nothing particular on the iPhone. Basically it's just a rectangular brick similar to other mobile devices. But anyway, it feels good in the hand. But also talking about the GUI. At least a technical versatile person like me gets familiar quickly with it (and I am not a Mac user). However, there are also some critics: In some cases - contacts for instance - while dealing with contacts (looking up information for instance) you may accidently call a person. Further I would like to have the possibility to "officially" close the last Safari browser window (when I press the single real button on the phone I return to the main menu but I never feel sure that browsing is really stopped then).

  • Keyboard: However, a basic important instrument - the touchpad keyboard - has quite small keys and as I do not feel boundaries of keys on the touchpad I had typos all the time. This is really annoying.

  • Phone: The first thing I noticed: You can't use the phone if you did not first plugged it into a PC or Mac with iTunes installed. Hell, I only have Linux at home! Luckily my parents and my company notebook still have Windows installed. The phone speech quality was very good in the few tests I did - even using the hands-free mode (speaker) showed a good quality. I really wondered when I noticed that I cannot use an existing mp3 as ringtone. Apple really wants me to buy a ringtone from their store! - Luckily there are services helping to get around this silly limitation.

  • Browsing: Web browsing is not so annoying because the screen is quite large, you can zoom with the fingers and you can view a site also in landscape mode on the screen. GMail (or Google in general - was also easy to read my blog) is very optimized for mobile devices. Yahoo already less, many other sites worse.

  • Applications: There is a large set of applications available, many very useful ones available for free. Backdraft: You need an Apple ID for getting those (without dirty hacks) which you can get only if you provide your credit card information (no, I don't have a credit card) or your bank account information. Why that if I am not going to buy anything?

  • Synchronization: Synchronization of contacts can be done under Windows basically with Outlook, Yahoo and Google contacts (there was something else I don't remember yet). Calendar can only be synched with Outlook. In general these choices are poor. No Thunderbird synchronization and in general - as iTunes does not run on Linux - no synchronization features on Linux. Although there are some people who hacked it and there should be some possibility, but I didn't try that.

  • Usability in general: Once you got a little familiar, it is an efficient phone and mobile device. They have realized some very creative and good UI elements striving your finger(s). These can be used very efficiently. However, I still think that real keys do have advantages. Real keys could be either smaller being better to use because you feel the key boundaries. As long as you use the internal calendar you can be fine, I tried to use Google Calendar (through the Safari web browser) and it was very easy to lookup the appointments of the next days but very annoying to create a new one. Would have been faster writing the appointment onto a piece of paper and add it later on a real computer. Similar experience for taking notes or surfing on websites. So it's still (as other mobile devices) no real alternative to a real computer - no chance regarding productivity.
I have to say that I am not a fan of the business strategies of Microsoft (at least from the moral point of view) but my experience with Apple is even worse than Microsoft. I even tested an iPod about a week ago with similar experiences. They try to force me using their software as Microsoft does. They only support Microsoft products where really definitely necessary to sell their hardware to a larger amount of people. They don't support Linux. I read from people trying to get an iPod working with Linux complaining about encrypted firmware for instance. I probably also never understand, why a multimedia application (iTunes) holds and manages firmware and drivers for a piece of hardware. But worst, they urge me to provide them credit card information or a bank account even before they let me install the free stuff. But once they have the information they give me a lot of options what I can buy with just one click away (don't give such a phone to your kids!). When trying the iPod with Linux I could mount the iPod but the folder structure was quite strange and copying files there did not make them show up on the iPod - only with Songbird I was able to put a piece of music there. Why the hell? If I already can mount it why isn't it enough to copy something there? It could have been so simple...

Related post: Why Linux?.

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