I’ve recently gotten my mitts on a 4GB iPhone for testing and because I’m a geek. I’ve been playing with it for a few days, but the first thing I’ve come to realize is that it’s far from the ultimate music phone.
The problem is not in getting music ON the phone (which is where most other handsets fail miserably). It’s disgustingly simple to get music ONTO the iPhone, and the organization is similar to the iPod, which is well accepted to be dead-easy to use.
The problem lies in attempting to ENJOY that music. You can’t easily do so. There’s three main ways to enjoy music – wired, wireless, and through loudspeakers. The iPhone sucks at all three. It has a 3.5mm jack, so Jobs would say it’s not proprietary. However, that jack was recessed into the handset, so you must use Apple’s specially designed headphones, or purchase a special adapter, which means it might as well be proprietary, for all intents and purposes.
Now let’s look at wireless. The iPhone HAS Bluetooth, but you can’t do much with it. The necessary profiles are missing, namely A2DP. This is something that Apple has routinely NOT put in their iPod line, and it really bothers me. It’s secure, there’s no reason not to include it. Thus, the iPhone cannot be used with any stereo Bluetooth headphones.
Last, the speakers built-in suck. They’re inconveniently located at the bottom of the device, and they’re dual-mono, meaning you get the same sound out of both speakers. They don’t get very loud, and they’re simply sub-par for what seems to be marketed as a ‘music device’. Again, you can’t use external speakers, other than using a proprietary dock.
Coming from the Nokia N95, I’m used to having a bear of a time trying to get music ONTO the device (save for having to suffer through Windows Media Player), but having zero issues enjoying the music in whatever form suits me. WIth the Nokia, I can even pair a regular single-ear Bluetooth headset and listen to music, which is great for podcasts and the like. I have a 3.5mm lead in my truck that I added myself, to use with my iPod, and more recently, my N81 8GB or N95. This lead won’t work on the iPhone, which is frustrating.
It begs the question, though. What is more important to get mass usage? Being able to easily *get* music onto your music phone, or having the ability to enjoy that music in several different ways?