HomeHome : Reviews : Jul 31, 2007

Apple iPhone Review - Part 2

July 31, 2007 — by Per Christensson

I wrote the initial review of the iPhone within 24 hours of buying the phone. While I tested the phone rather rigorously during the first day I owned it, there was only so much I could evaluate after 24 hours. During the last month, however, I have become more accustomed to the iPhone's features and have compiled a list of suggestions that I think would make the iPhone even better. Therefore, I have decided to write the iPhone Review, Part 2.

In my initial review, I gave the iPhone a rating of 10 out of 10 stars because many of the phone's features are so revolutionary and well-designed. While I still think it is an amazing device, I have come up with a substantial list of improvements I would like to see in future versions of the iPhone. Therefore, my second rating of the phone isn't perfect, but is still pretty close.

For three of the last four weeks, I used the iPhone in Europe. Since the European release date for the iPhone is a few months away, you can imagine how popular I was when pulled the latest Apple gadget out of my pocket. But when I wasn't showing off the phone to awestruck bystanders, I had plenty of time to test the phone on my own. I soon found out that, as amazing as the iPhone is, there are still many things that could be added to it. The following list includes features I would like to see added or changed in future versions of the iPhone.


  • International Data Plan
    The most annoying thing about using the iPhone overseas is that you cannot turn off the EDGE network. This would not be a problem, except for the fact that AT&T charges almost $0.02 per kilobyte transferred overseas. That means each megabyte costs $20.00. So you better find a Wi-Fi spot if you want to check your e-mail, and especially if you want to browse the Web or use the Maps feature.

    Unfortunately, if you are using a Wi-Fi connection and the signal drops out, the phone automatically switches to the EDGE network, which is impossible to prevent. At least the Wi-Fi icon at the top of the screen switches to the "E" logo, letting you know your current data transfer is costing you big money. So, whenever I saw the Wi-Fi icon switch to the E, I would immediately press the Home button, select Settings, and turn on Airplane Mode to stop the communication. It was a annoying, but effective.

    If you choose to transfer data over the cell network overseas, you might as well be filling your car with premium gasoline, since it can charge you several dollars a minute. The bottom line is that you better monitor your data transfers while traveling internationally or you may have to apply for a second mortgage to pay your cell phone bill when you get home.

  • Ringtones
    The ringtones on the iPhone are the worst of any cell phone I have owned. To make matters worse, you cannot use any of your iTunes songs as ringtones, so you are stuck with the poor selection of ringtones included with the phone. Considering this lack of quality is uncharacteristic of Apple, I am guessing that Apple had planned on allowing users to use their iTunes library for ringtones, but AT&T refused since the downloadable ringtones business is a significant revenue generator. The negotiations probably went down to the last minute, and since AT&T wouldn't budge, Apple had to scramble to put some basic ringtones on the phone.

    Unfortunately, over half the ringtones are so bad they are not usable. (I don't want to be startled by a motorcycle engine of car horn each time my phone rings.) And currently there is no way to download ringtones (probably because Apple and AT&T are still working on an agreement). Ideally, Apple will be allowed to add a feature in which the user can create his or her own ringtones by selecting a song, and choosing the loop points for the ringtone. It makes the most sense for the user.

The Keyboard

  • Arrow Keys
    I have gotten used to typing with the iPhone's on-screen keypad, though it still requires a bit more focus than using the numeric keypad on my old phone. Pressing and holding your finger at a certain point in the text magnifies the area allowing you to place the cursor between letters. This is useful, since it means you don't have to delete a bunch of text move the cursor, but arrow keys would also be helpful. Adding a single button to the keyboard that would provide floating arrow keys might be a good way to implement this.
  • Selecting Text
    There is currently no way to select a block of text on the iPhone. This means you have to hold the Delete key for a long time to delete a lot of text (though the deletion does accelerate after a few words). And because you cannot select text, you also cannot...
  • Copy and Paste
    This is another basic computer function missing from the iPhone. There have been several occurrences where I have wanted copy and paste a block of text, but instead have had to retype it using the tiny iPhone keyboard. It is rather annoying, but the good news is I no longer take the Copy and Paste feature for granted on my computer.


  • Speaker
    The iPhone's built-in speaker is plenty loud for watching movies and listening to music. However, when putting a caller a speakerphone, even the maximum volume is often not loud enough. Hopefully, this issue can be addressed by a software update that increases the volume limit or compresses the sound so that the overall volume is louder. Also, it would be nice to have a speaker on the top and bottom of the phone so you could listen to music and videos in stereo sound.
  • Address Book
    I also find it strange that you have to go into the Phone option to access the address book. I think the address book should be accessible by itself from the Home menu, just like the calendar.


  • Set Up
    The .mac setup does not allow the user to edit the outgoing mail server. Unfortunately, many ISPs block port 25, which is the default port that .mac uses. You can get around this by switching the port to 587, but the .mac setup will not allow you to do this. Instead, you need to create a new IMAP account on the iPhone and enter all your .mac settings from scratch. Then you can set the outgoing mail server to "smtp.mac.com:587", which worked for me.
  • BCC
    There is no Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc) field, which can be useful for sending a message to several recipients, while hiding the addresses. Adding this option to the Mail settings would be pretty simple.


  • Address Bar
    The address bar in Safari takes up more space than it needs to and should be reduced by using a smaller font size and eliminating some of the border.
  • Closing Windows
    You currently cannot close all the windows in Safari. Instead one window always has to be open, which is strange. For example, if only your bank login page is open and you want to close it, you need to open another Web page since you cannot close the window.
  • Find on Page
    The "Find" feature is missing from the iPhone version of Safari. Adding this feature would be especially helpful on the iPhone since you currently have to zoom in and scroll around to search for text on a page.


  • No Complaints
    Thankfully, Apple's iPod experience shows up here. I really like the iPod interface and have no major complaints. I wonder if this reveals that the iPhone was originally was intended to be just a phone with iPod capabilities, but eventually evolved into a much more full-featured device. Hopefully the other aspects of the phone will soon be as polished as the iPod interface.

Home Options

  • Text Messaging
    The iChat text messaging interface is fine, but there really needs to be a way to save and organize messages. Currently, all correspondence with another person is saved in the same chat session, even if you or the other person starts a new conversation. I think each new message (that is not a reply) should be saved as a new conversation. Or at least there should be a way to save and archive chat sessions so they don't get to be so long.
  • Calendar
    You can't select which calendars are are active and which ones are hidden like you can in iCal. Therefore, you better make sure you only transfer the calendars you want from iCal when you sync your phone.
  • Photos
    You cannot organize photos on the iPhone. It would be nice to be able to create new folders and move pictures around once they are on the iPhone. This may be a bit much to ask, but basic editing features such as getting rid of red eye and image cropping would be helpful.
  • Camera
    The camera display has quite a bit of lag (like most cell phones). A faster image processor would be a nice addition. There is also no flash, so the iPhone cannot take pictures in the dark. Adding a flash would be a huge improvement.

    I hope to see possibly a 4 megapixel CCD and video capture capability in the next model. A 3x zoom feature would be great too.

  • You Tube
    The video search function doesn't work too well. I have had a hard time accessing videos I know are on YouTube by typing in keywords. Hopefully, this is a simple fix that may need to done on the YouTube side.
  • Stocks
    You cannot move the stocks around in the stock list. Instead, you have to delete stocks and add them again in a different order to rearrange them. Since it can take awhile for the iPhone to verify a ticker symbol, this can be a bit of a hassle. You can choose to view the point change or percentage change for each stock, but I would like to see both at the same time.

    Stock alerts (which notify the user when a stock hits a certain price) would be a useful feature, though it would require the iPhone to continually check the stock prices throughout the day.

  • Maps
    I would like to be able to save maps on the iPhone instead of having to access the Internet each time I want to load a previously viewed map. The iPhone does cache a certain amount of the Maps data, but you cannot designate how much. Adding the capability to download and save maps of specific areas or routes would be great, especially overseas.
  • Weather
    Like the Stocks feature, you cannot move the cities around once you have added them to the list. Being able to view a detailed forecast for the current and next day would be helpful. Currently, the iPhone only shows the temperature and a picture that represents sun, clouds, rain, or snow.
  • Clock
    The only thing I would change is to add hundredths of seconds to the stopwatch feature, since it only records tenths. I have no complaints about the Alarm feature, which even includes a Snooze button.
  • Calculator
    You cannot get more of a basic calculator than the one included with the iPhone. I would like to see more scientific functions in the next version as well graphing capabilities down the line. Instead of the TI-86 or TI-89, how about the Ti-Phone?
  • Notes
    Each note is named according to the first line in the note. It would be nice to be able to save each note with a custom name, just like saving a text document on the computer.

    Again, you cannot move notes around once have created them. The iPhone does sort the notes by the most recently updated, but it still would be nice to organize them manually.

  • Settings
    I think it would make sense to be able to access the settings for the different iPhone applications from within each application instead of going to the Home menu, selecting Settings, then locating the application.

Other Comments

  • Additional Applications
    There are only 11 applications currently in the Home menu and there is clearly room for more. The top three I would like to see added are Dictionary/Thesaurus, a Units Converter, and a Language Translation utility. I would also like to see a more full-featured word processor than just the Notes application. Hopefully, one day we will be able to download new apps to the iPhone just like Widgets in Apple's Dashboard.
  • More Computer Functions
    As capable as the iPhone is, it is very limited compared to a full-featured computer. I would like the capability to download, save, and organize files with the iPhone. Hopefully, it won't be long until Apple adds an iPhone Desktop, where the user can create folders and save files, just like a on a computer.

After reading this list, it may seem like I am rather negative towards the iPhone. But keep in mind, I gave the iPhone a 10 out of 10 score in my initial review and I continue to be amazed by it to this day. The purpose of this "Part 2" review has been to list improvements I would like to see in the iPhone, not to evaluate it as a whole. For a more comprehensive (and positive) review of the iPhone, be sure to read the original iPhone review.


  • A revolutionary device with amazing capabilities


  • Missing some practical features that will hopefully be added in future updates

PC.net Rating

10 / 10