The members of the Infusion Development Department are true geeks, me included. I say that as a compliment! We love gadgets and the latest technologies. Well, the latest “toy” that has my team enamored is the Apple iPhone. It really is a thing of beauty. The iPhone interface is genuinely enjoyable to use as you navigate the device. When was the last time you thought a user interface was “enjoyable”? Yeah, made ya think, huh? While using the iPhone the idea of “Elegant Simplicity” comes to mind; the nirvana of user experience that we are striving for with Infusion CRM (more on this topic in another blog posting). Anyway, the iPhone is a great device and I applaud Apple for their design and innovation. Heck, even our resident Linux disciple, Jeremy Gurr wants one! Jeremy and Ryan Peterson (Ryan is our true all-things-Apple devotee) have even made a systems monitoring and alerting web application dashboard that runs on the iPhone. Also, Eric Martineau, our Chief Software Architect is working on a framework to allow Infusion CRM to be accessed via the iPhone! Cool stuff for sure.
So, my guys ask me when I’m going to get an iPhone??? Answer: I probably won’t. WHAT? The iPhone is missing some key functionality in my opinion. Actually this is my beef with most of Apple’s products, that they are missing a few key things that keep them from pushing over the tipping point for me. This is especially true given the premium price Apple can demand for their gear.
Okay, as cool as the iPhone is, there are a few things it lacks that to me are no-brainers. For starters, the Bluetooth functionality is limited to a mono earpiece. That’s it. Why not allow Bluetooth stereo headsets? This is especially annoying when one considers that the iPhone headphone jack is completely jacked-up (no pun intended). But the biggest Bluetooth vacancy is the lack of keyboard support. With a little more RAM, the ability to load third party applications and Bluetooth keyboard support I envision the iPhone possibly becoming a viable productivity platform. (Remember that cool fold-up keyboard for the Palm Pilot? Imagine that type of keyboard with Bluetooth support and the perfect iPhone!) Then there is file and calendar synching that is not possible via iPhone Bluetooth. I don’t get it. You can’t even upload music files via Bluetooth…you have to be plugged in.
There are a few other little things that I wish were different. Like having a landscape oriented docking cradle. The ability to use T-Mobile SIM cards. The difficulty of adding third party applications without hacking the device. So, while I love the iPhone I’m waiting for version 2.0.
The Apple TV is in the same boat as the iPhone. I was very excited when I learned that Apple was building a “media center” device. I have been struggling with my D-Link DSM 520 media extender for a while and I wanted something with more “Elegant Simplicity”. To put it another way, my wife can’t get the DSM 520 to work so she can listen to our catalogue of mp3s on my home server. And believe me when I tell you it is the DSM 520 that has the problems, not my wife’s technical prowess. So I took a trip over to the local Apple store and checked out the Apple TV only to find out it doesn’t do 1080P. I was shocked, really. The full, true HD resolution of 1920×1080 progressive scan was not supported. Why make such a beautiful and simple media device, including HDMI support, that does not support 1080P resolutions? I know that iTunes does not typically encode content greater than 720P and true HD 1080P content would take too long to download, according to Apple’s defenders. But to put a HDMI port on a device touting that it will only work on a 16×9 aspect ratio screen, and then to not support 1080P resolutions ¬ gheesh! So, while I love the Apple TV I’m waiting for version 2.0.
The Mac Mini just recently upgraded the Intel processor from a Core Duo to a Core 2 Duo. This should have been the way it was built from the beginning. Also, where is the HDMI port on the Mac Mini? Now THAT would be a cool media extender, but it only had DVI support. I know, I know, I could get a DVI to HDMI converter, but why not just make it with HDMI support to start with?
The MacBook Pro needs more USB ports and gaming support is weak. You have to dual boot to a Widows environment to game-it-up. By the way, where is the docking station support?
Sort of on a different subject now, but still related to Apple is their ability to dodge the anti-trust bullets. On September 17th, 2007 Microsoft lost their appeal with the EU on their anti-trust case with Window and Media Player. Get the full story here. Does anyone else see the parallels with Microsoft and the Windows Media Player, and Apple and iTunes? I’m not sure how, but Apple seems to be off the radar.
Anyway, I do love Apple products. I really do. I’m just waiting for version 2.0 of a few of their offerings before I take a bite. ;-)