As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of Apple, but I still think they make the best smartphone out there. However, the phone has a problem that drives me and any other audiobook listener who’s thought about it nuts. The iPhone has an iPod menu that comes up when you double-click the home button from the lock screen. This way, you don’t need to unlock the phone and go to iTunes. This works great for music, but apparently no one told the designers of this lock screen menu that audiobooks have a different interface. When the iPod app is playing an audiobook, there is a “go back 30 seconds button” that is not there for music. This is the most useful button other than pause/play for audiobooks. However, the lock screen menu doesn’t care that you are listening to an audiobook and only lets you play/pause and skip chapters. Wait, what? Skip chapters? Is that something anyone listening to an audiobook ever actually does on a regular basis? (That was a rhetorical question; the answer is of course not). Yet instead of giving the extremely useful go back 30 seconds button for when someone comes up and starts talking and you miss some of your book while pausing it, they put chapter skip buttons. This is worse than useless; it’s a hazard. The buttons are, for some baffling reason, placed precariously close together so the slightest imprecision when pressing pause will skip a chapter, losing your place in the current one and playing spoilers from the next chapter. Someone needs to point this oversight out to Apple so they can fix it.
I am on my third phone this week. The first one, my old trusty iPhone 3GS, suited me fine, but it had a date with the pavement and they hit it off smashingly. I got an iPhone 4 to replace it, since that cost as much as a screen repair from Apple. Unfortunately, the phone they gave me was completely broken. I assume the correct behavior for an iPhone is not to run much slower than my 3GS and have random screen corruption and restart every time I try to run an application. I took it back for a replacement and hopefully this one will actually work. The iPhone 4 is nice. The screen is amazing. It’s like going from DVD to Blu-ray (almost; the resolution is 4x higher, not 6x like Blu-ray over DVD). You can see small text in images clearly and the text looks perfect. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like the amazing screen technology Bella had in the movie Twilight. The camera shows a close up of her internet research on (SPOILER WARNING) vampires. You can see the Google search box perfectly; there are no pixels at all. She had a MacBook, and I know none of them actually have screens like that. No computer does. But the iPhone 4 looks like it does. Very nice. Photos look too yellowish sometimes though; I hope they fix that. Most photos end up okay though, and the new HDR and flash capabilities are really cool. The phone seems about the same speed as the 3GS, except in the Schlock Mercenary app, which scrolls less smoothly than it used to.
Since I dislike Apple, I wish someone else would make a good phone so I could stop giving Apple my money. For me, a phone must do the following:
- Phone calls (OK, they all do this)
- Internet and email (Any smartphone)
- GPS navigation (They all do this nowadays)
- Camera (Again, standard fare)
- Play audible.com audiobooks (For some reason Zunes can do this but Windows 7 Phones can’t)
This leaves me with two options: Android and iPhone. The iPhone has a much nicer interface, supports and has better software, and has the best screen right now. So, since no one else has shown enough interest in my money to make a phone I want to spend it on, Apple gets my business. I can put away my dislike of Apple* and choose the best tool for the job, which is currently an Apple product. This could change once better Windows 7 phones come out with Audible support and higher-resolution screens. Or if Android can get their act together and hardware-accelerate their slow UI and provide proper 3D support, I might consider that again.
* I don’t like Apple because:
- Force of habit; I’ve been on the PC side of the PC versus Mac debate since middle school.
- They make upper mid-range computers but charge high-end prices (My 17.3 inch laptop cost $700 less than a current 17 inch MBP, which it soundly beats in every area except battery life)
- They don’t support movies except in an obsolete, legacy format (DVD)
- They act smug about things they either don’t really have (better UI and stability) or only have due to their unpopularity (fewer viruses)
- They completely messed up the e-book market and they don’t even make an e-reader
- They always put form before function