Home > Editorials > MY RANT: Five Reasons Why I Left the iPhone for the Palm Pre

MY RANT: Five Reasons Why I Left the iPhone for the Palm Pre

If you’ve read any of my tweets on Twitter (where else would ya read tweets?!), you’ve probably heard a thing or two about how I owned an iPhone before I got my awesome Palm Pre, and how I think the Pre is "soooo much better for this, and soooo much better for that."

Well….. it is, for many things.

Now… the iPhone has plenty of redeeming qualities.  When I’m in my less "trash-talky" moods, I’ll answer the common "what to get… iPhone or Palm Pre?" tweet with something along the lines of:  "Depends on your needs… Media/games biggest priority? Then iPhone. Everything else, plus multitasking? Palm Pre. Easy."

I tweet this because it’s true: as a media and app platform, the iPhone remains second to none…  that, in addition to slick advertising and the mind-controlling chemicals that Steve Jobs puts in our water, has been a major reason for its success.  It’s simple, simple, simple to use: my MOTHER could use it…  well, almost.

After the break is a rant I wrote (courtesy of Twitlonger) to someone who asked me why I left the iPhone. It’s by no means complete or as detailed as I’d like it to be, but I don’t want to put you to sleep, either.  Enjoy. (Or “iHate…” whatever you prefer…)

With my Treo 650 growing very long in the tooth (okay by this point it had no teeth!), I naturally the iPhone very enticing. I drooled over television images of the iPhone’s sleek edges, and equally sleek user interface.  So there I was, with $600 of my hard-earned cash, waiting in line for my shiny new iPhone on launch day.  I had read up on it for months beforehand.  It was a thing of beauty.. No other phone on the planet had created such a simple, intuitive, and smooth device. I bragged about it constantly when I first got it.

I was almost (but not quite!) as obnoxiously in love with the iPhone as I am with the Palm Pre…

But, with time, there were several things I began to hate about the iPhone:

1) AT&T

Having come from Sprint I was used to pretty reliable service. Dropped calls left and right on AT&T. It was infuriating. One time I was bitching to AT&T customer service about this and ironically, my call was dropped!

2) Virtual Keyboard

Steve Jobs kept telling me I’d get used to him. With my iSheep mentality, I  believed him.  But after almost a year and a half I just couldn’t stand it. The autocorrect helped, but often was too intrusive. ("Whaddaya mean you got a ‘bog dock?!’") And… typing in Spanish to my relatives? Forget about it. (I know there’s language packs now but I didn’t have them then!)

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3) Lousy productivity device

At the time that I had it, there was no copy/paste. Keyboard wouldn’t even turn to landscape mode. The iPhone has it now and it works well, but these were terrible omissions and I was upset that after so many months and so many people asking for it, that they weren’t granted yet. Google calendar and contact sync? Lousy. Speakerphone? Terrible. Removable battery for long trips? No. Medical software like Epocrates (I’m a physician)? Not for TWO YEARS.  When the App Store launched, I was hopefuly that these problems would improve.  As this image of the App Store’s #1 app shows you, it didn’t.

4) No multitasking

If you haven’t experienced multitasking yet, you probably think this is a gimmick. But now that I look back on it, the fact that the iPhone couldn’t do more than one thing at once annoyed me. Example: I’d sign into my AIM chat account. I’d chat, then I’d want to check an email. I’d have to log out of the chat account (stopping my discussion), open my email, close my email, open my chat window, and log into my chat account. Very annoying. On the Pre, I can do whatever I want while my friend chats with me. When I use my wife’s iPhone 3G, it really starts to feel primitive, despite some cool apps that she has.

5) Apple’s ecosystem

– We’re all idiots, according to Apple: I was a huge Steve Jobs fan. I admired him, and had a stupid geek crush on him when he’d give his keynotes. But after a while? It really felt like Apple was treating me like a moron. Like THEY knew what was best for me. There’s lots of people who have come up with great apps and functionalities for the iPhone that Apple has flatly rejected because again, "Apple knows what’s best.”

– Restrictive: I don’t know when this started… maybe it was from the very outset and I hadn’t noticed.  But Apple’s whole "we know what’s best"  mantra has done two things:

1) They’ve become "App Store Ayatollahs" with their erratic banning of apps for their "objectionable content."

2) Worse, by not allowing any apps that are similar or BETTER than the functionalities they offer, they deny their consumers the best interoperability and individual user experience. Apple recently broke the last straw for many people when they rejected Google Voice… finally some people have taken their mouths off the Kool-Aid straws.  (P.S. And as of this writing? The "app-empty" Palm Pre has THREE Google Voice apps available.  Apple… keep your iFart apps. Have fun.)

– iTunes: I had bought some DRM’ed music on iTunes… it was just a few songs as I usually obtained my music through *ahem* OTHER means *cough*, but was furious that the few songs I purchased would be forever "trapped" there… of course they offered me a $100 "upgrade" fee to release it. Ugh. Screw you! And also, why should people have to buy an iPhone to have direct access to the music that I BOUGHT?  No matter… I haven’t used that consumerist-driven, resource-hogging bloatware in a good while.

– Lack of innovation. Two years is an eternity in the tech world. And after TWO YEARS, what does Apple have to offer us? … Video recording and MMS? Really? Please. This is probably my biggest beef with Apple: they’re complacent. They feel that they don’t have to innovate because people around the world have been sipping the Kool-Aid for a while now and think iPhone is the ONLY option. Meanwhile, a company like Palm (that is 1/35th their size!) is able to push out new ideas like multitasking, discreet notifications, and synergy.  Indeed, new phones like the Palm Pre and the HTC Hero may cause Apple to take notice, but they’re also so stubborn (and I think cocky) that they just may continue doing what they’re doing.

Update: Seen the 2009 iPod Touch? The iPad? Yeah. I rest my case.

… So one day I basically woke up… kinda like Keaunu Reeves in the Matrix (haha). I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid, and switched to the less-flashy Palm Centro to finish my contract with AT&T. Even though the Centro wasn’t near as sexy, I found I could do more with it than I ever could on the iPhone (MMS, quick texting, multiple email account sync with VPN client, Epocrates, 60,000 PalmOS apps……)  I now own the Palm Pre and realize it’s what the iPhone should have been… and more.

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