It’s been a nasty week for iPhone users. Apple has buckled to pressure from AT&T and denied Google’s Voice application from the App Store: a nifty service that helps you consolidate phones and manage your voicemail online. The app lives on at the BlackBerry App World and Android Market, making some of the technorati so angry they’ve vowed to ditch AT&T in protest–and their beloved iPhone with it. Here are seven reasons why you should make AT&T and Apple suffer for their sins.
They’re anticompetitive. Sure, every business wants to edge out its foes, but AT&T and Apple are now under FCC investigation for their black-box app approval process. Regulators want to know who killed the app, and why Voice is different than VOIP apps like Skype. Check out the inquiries here.
They’re targets. Heavy lies the crown; just ask Microsoft. When your software platform is the world leader, it earns a lot of antipathy from hackers, who spend their time engineering ways to make your device crash and burn. Already, the iPhone has been the subject of several frightening security breaches like the text message vulnerability, which Apple has fixed. But the platform has only been around a couple of years– the more success it finds, the more trouble will find you.
They’re dicks. When Apple rejected Google Voice from the App Store, it also pulled all other GV-related apps, some of which customers paid for. Now they’re pissed because they want refunds, and Apple is telling developers that those refunds are supposed to come out of the developers’ pockets. Not. Cool.
Apps are mayhem. When the iPhone had a couple of hundred apps available, you responded by downloading a handful. Now there are 50,000 of them, and you’ve responded by downloading approximately 30,000 of them. The problem: you don’t delete your superfluous apps–they’re what make the iPhone the iPhone–but you don’t want to trip over them getting to, say, important stuff like the camera. Apple’s organizational system for apps on the phone is terrible; move one, and the rest tumble into disarray, and there aren’t any ways to organize them by name, size or kind. What happens when you have more than 11 screens of apps?
You can’t find anything. The disarray plaguing the iPhone’s interface doesn’t get any better in iTunes, where it’s almost impossible to discover cool new apps easily without having to sift through garbage first. Third-party sites like AppBeacon help, but the more apps flood the store, the more bloated and unwieldy iTunes gets. Right now, the main conduit for discovery is the “What’s New” list, which is killing developers: it encourages them to do updates as often as possible, so they can stay on that list. That, in turn, inundates the App Store with approval requests they can’t handle. Stupid.
Android is beautiful. As I’ve written before, some of the Android phones out there–and 18 or 20 more are expected before 2010–are more gorgeous and functional than the iPhone could ever dream of being. Plus, each company in the Open Handset Alliance has a different customization, letting you choose a phone that is built up the way you want.
T-Mobile is cheaper. A lot cheaper. Check out their plans and weep. Like BlackBerrys over Android phones? Verizon has better customer service, and Sprint is faster, with WiMAX already rolled out in several cities. If you have an iPhone, you know that AT&T connects calls about as often as the Cubs win games. Which is not often. Not often at all. I’m not even a baseball fan and I know this analogy fits.
I should note that I’m no unilateral iPhone hater: right beside me sits my precious white 3G S, 3G before that, 2G before that. And when die-hards like me and this guy (and this guy) start talking about jumping ship, Apple should listen up: customer malice is just about the only thing they can’t afford right now.