iPhone vs. Treo 6502007-07-01
The iPhone came out yesterday. I didn't feel it warranted waiting for hours in line, and I wasn't sure I wanted one yet. But I called the Apple Store (Barton Creek) today and was told that iPhones were still in stock (ha ha to all you suckers that waited in line for hours yesterday!) and I just couldn't resist. So now I've played with it for about three hours. Here are my thoughts.
Ways the iPhone beats the Treo 650:
- The user interface is beautiful. The screen's resolution is apparently slightly lower than my Treo 650's (165 dpi vs. 178 dpi), but Apple's interface looks so much better. It always annoyed me that the Treo doesn't use anti-aliased text. The iPhone does. This makes a huge difference.
- It appears to sync perfectly with my Mac OS X Address Book and iCal. My Treo (with Missing Sync) did an acceptable job of this, but not perfect, since its Contacts and Calendar schemata are a little different from those of Address Book and iCal. The iPhone was presumably designed to work perfectly with these apps.
- Safari works great. It's no faster at loading pages over the cellular network than the Treo 650, but the browser does a much better job rendering pages than Blazer (the Treo browser).
- My iPhone plan is cheaper than my Treo plan. I paid Verizon $105/month for the Treo (including unlimited data and no SMS messages). I'm only paying $60/month with the iPhone, including 200 SMS messages. (If I could get a plan with fewer airtime minutes for less money, I would. I only use about 50-100 minutes per month. This was a problem with the Treo too. Nobody sells a plan with as few minutes as I need, apparently.)
- I can't search the iPhone's address book by typing. On the Treo, I just start typing a first name, or last name, or first initial plus last name, and it filters the contact list. It usually takes no more than 2 or 3 keystrokes to isolate the person I want to find. On the iPhone, I have to scroll and look. Scrolling is smooth and fast, but not as fast as the Treo's keyboard search. As a bonus, the Treo magically figures out when I'm typing a phone number instead of searching by name. On the iPhone I have to press the keyboard button to dial a number. You might think this is nit-picking, and I should just use the iPhone's "Favorites" list to store my commonly-dialed numbers. But the Treo keyboard search was so efficient that I never needed a separate mechanism for accessing my oft-dialed numbers.
- I can't install my own ring tones on the iPhone.
- The Treo can sync over Bluetooth. The iPhone can't. (Nor can it sync over WiFi.)
- Neither works with the Mac OS X Address Book. The Address Book has a Bluetooth button, , right in the toolbar. Supposedly, if you pair your Mac with a cell phone, you can dial numbers on the cell phone just by clicking Address Book entries. It doesn't work with either the Treo or the iPhone. In the case of the Treo, it's annoying but understandable. In the case of the iPhone, it's just stupid.
- Neither has a 3G radio. (Newer Treos do.)
- The iPhone can't access the iTunes store.
- It seems to have trouble remembering my home WiFi password, so when I leave the WiFi network and come back later, I have to re-enter it. This doesn't happen every time.
- A few days ago, Google enhanced Google Maps. Now you can change its driving directions just by dragging the route with your mouse. It's terrific - totally intuitive, and lightning-fast. Want to do that on your iPhone? You can't. The built-in Maps application doesn't support it. And if you go to maps.google.com in the iPhone web browser, you still can't. As soon as you click the "Search Maps" button in the web page, the iPhone takes you to the built-in Maps application. I feel like Apple might as well have just displayed "fuck you" in inch-tall letters.
- So far, it's been much easier for me to type with two thumbs in the sideways orientation, but only Safari offers it. Phone, Calendar, Maps, Notes, etc., only offer the cramped, clumsy portrait-mode keyboard. Also, once you bring up the keyboard in Safari, you can't then rotate the iPhone and have the keyboard change its orientation. You have to back out of the keyboard screen and re-enter it to make it rotate.