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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Monday, July 09, 2007

And so it begins...

I've tried to remain very calm and measured in my reaction to the iPhone. It's not perfect, and it doesn't get some very basic things right, even as it raises the bar for mobile devices. Needless to say, I'm viewed as negative (and even a Microsoft toadie) for being brash enough to actually criticize the thing. But I think the iPhone is important. It's just not the be-all, end-all that some hype-sucking journalists would have you believe.

Well, the inevitable backtracking is starting to finally creep into the iPhone conversation. You may recall that I noted a few weeks ago that the truth of the iPhone would become obvious after weeks of real, normal people actually using the device. Today, The Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray, who previously penned an iPhone mini-review called "Believe the hype," has come back down to earth. No offense, but this is exactly the kind of baloney I was warning about when the first round of "OHMYGOD OOHMYGOD HMYGOD" reviews came out:
Despite the iPhone's indisputable cool, it would have to be well-nigh perfect to get $600 out of my wallet. And it's a long way from perfect.

Its worst problem, by far, is the iPhone's feud with Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook. A good deal of my life story for the past decade is tucked away inside Outlook, a combination e-mail program, address book, and appointment calendar that's arguably the best bit of software Microsoft makes.

It took about a dozen tries before the iPhone copied the Outlook data stored on my PC at the Globe; it's never worked on my home machine. I'm not alone in this; a quick Internet search found at least a dozen complaints from iPhone owners with similar problems. Either the iPhone won't sync with Outlook at all, or it does so intermittently or incompletely.

This is no minor glitch for the millions who rely on Outlook for keeping track of phone numbers and addresses.

My 10-year-old hand-held computer works just fine with Outlook. What's Apple's excuse? They need to take care of this, and fast.
It's amazing what actually using a product can do to color your opinion. People, Apple can hype their own products. We shouldn't be doing it for them, especially if we haven't actually used the thing. The iPhone is good technology. But it can only get better at this point and it's still unclear to me that this device is a decent solution for most people. Someone who writes for a mainstream publication like The Boston Globe should understand that, and understand their audience. And for crying out loud, learn to separate hype from reality.


[ Posted at 1:52 PM | Permalink ]


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