The new iPhone 3G and the iPhone 2.0 software update can best be described as the most successful failure I can remember. Apple has sold an astounding number of phones and applications, and yet is failing in so many different ways:
- MobileMe: A terribly bungled deployment that is still suffering through issues of data integrity and push between the desktop and the iPhone is not what users expect.
- Lines and availability: Lines are long every day that phones are available, as a result of the terribly inefficient activation process. Since when did it become acceptable to make customers wait 2-4 hours to purchase a phone? I want to give you my money for a new iPhone, but I won’t until you stop wasting our time with a process designed to block people from unlocking their phones, but instead just slows things down for everyone.
- Cracking: Reports of the plastic cracking on new iPhones (sounds like the MacBook and G4 Cube mess all over again.
- Instability: iPhone software instability from dozens of people I know. My first generation iPhone is crashing much more regularly, is much much slower and less responsive when switching applications, and while the new apps are decent, the user experience for entering passwords is cumbersome, having apps not preserve state when quitting and returning later, and the phone locking up repeatedly during calls has so far not been worth the update. A jailbroken 1.1.4 iPhone was much more stable.
- StyleThe white iPhone looks terrible… 3-toned white, black, and silver? Who let this design get out the door? Saying that the white model is fugly is an understatement.
And yet, Apple can chalk this release up as yet another major success. I love my iPhone and other Apple products, but so far my expectations are not being met with the iPhone 2.0 software and the 3G iPhone experience. I fully understand why existing iPhone users are not as excited as new buyers.