I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Re: Dawn’s “Popularity is usually overrated”

Dawn: My Creative mp3 player was cheaper and has more features than the comparable iPod. I won’t pay extra for a brand name. Mac lovers are Mac FANS.

There are two kinds of Apple buyers:

  1. Style/brand people who buy it for the Apple name or its aesthetics. This is the machine you’re raging against. It’s a small market.

  2. People who truly care about the quality of Apple products and are willing to pay the usual Apple premium to use them. This is me and most people who bother writing positive things about Apple on the internet.

The reason the iPhone has such huge hype and demand is not that it’s pretty - many pretty cellphones have already come and gone. It’s because people absolutely hate their phones, especially “smartphones”. These devices are buggy and limited with nonsensical design in both hardware and software.

Personally, I don’t want an iPhone yet - I’m very happy with my 2-year-old Verizon Motorola E815 that lets me use it as a Bluetooth EVDO modem simply by using “minutes” at no additional charge, and since it’s Verizon, I can get coverage nearly anywhere. (And in the places where I can’t, neither can anyone else.) Until there’s a Verizon iPhone, I’ll keep admiring from afar, even though I’m out of contract and could leave Verizon if I wanted to.

But the E815 is mediocre, like every phone I’ve ever used. Interface flaws prevent many of its features from being useful or usable, such as call waiting, call forwarding, and conference calling. It just seems like none of the designers (if they exist) ever actually use these phones.

If someone calls and leaves a voicemail, and I open the phone, the first alert says “1 new voicemail. Call/Ignore”, where “Call” means “Call your voicemail.” But I want to know who left the message before I spend time to listen to it. If I choose “Ignore”, it shows a second alert: “1 missed call. View/Ignore.” There, I can view the missed call, but then to check my voicemail, I have to exit and manually dial the voicemail number.

I’ve seen this “design” on almost every phone, and it’s completely backwards. Why are there two alerts? Why can’t the first one include the phone number/name from the second? And why do I have to then dial a special number to get my voicemail, then sit through a painfully slow voice reciting every last detail of the call’s metadata, during which I cannot delete or skip the message, before I can hear it? And why does my brief outbound message to callers (“Speak.”) get a massive menu appended to it that people will never use? (“To leave a callback number… to page this person…”)

The iPhone’s voicemail system is such a head-smacker: Why did it take until 2007 for someone to figure that out?