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Apple iPhone: DOA?

I for one won’t be buying an Apple iPhone once it’s released later this month. I don’t see enough compelling reasons to buy such a “me too” product. I watched with keen interest the recent Apple iPhone Guided Tour and identified a long, long list of essential features that are simply not there…

an frontal photograph of the Apple iPhoneI for one won’t be buying an Apple iPhone once it’s released later this month. I don’t see enough compelling reasons to buy such a “me too” product. I watched with keen interest the recent Apple iPhone Guided Tour and identified a long, long list of essential features that are simply not there…

For example, the motion sensor clearly wouldn’t work while in LEO (Low Earth Orbit), which is a huge oversight and a real let down.

In one fell swoop, Apple eschew the entire space exploration market, abandoning astronauts and space tourists alike.

Then there’s the lack of proper waterproofing, which makes operating the iPhone at or around depths close to the 1,000 metre mark in either fresh or saline water impossible.

Clearly this will hit the deep-sea exploration industry the hardest, leaving them with little alternative but to look to competing handset manufacturers.

Frankly, I’m appalled by the complete absence of on-the-fly multi-lingual translation for voice calls. I’m personally devastated at not being able to randomly call a complete stranger anywhere in the world and not speak to them in English and have my words translated into the recipients native language.

And as for there being no retinal scanning via the built-in camera, or even finger-print recognition from the touch screen for secure access to the iPhone, well, the less said the better. I watched the guided tour video and read through the technical specifications twice, all to no avail.

I’m not alone in my abject disappointment either. In an Apple iPhone FAQ by David Pogue, he too finds several issues:

“Can you use it underwater? And can you recharge it using solar power? And does it have an optical scanner that detects your eyeball movements so that you merely have to look at a name in your contacts list and blink in order to choose and call him? Apple, you have a long way to go…”

So true.

Photographers will find little cheer when they discover that the iPhone’s crude built-in camera won’t allow you to control such basics as shutter speed, depth of field, EC (Exposure compensation) and white point. Then there’s the lack of zoom function, timer mode, any kind of flash option, no telescopic lens to speak of, nor any low-light or infra-red mode, either.

Apart from anything else, nuclear physicists will be the ones to suffer the most, as there’s no rapatronic mode at all. So capturing nanosecond events after atom bomb detonations is another missed opportunity by Apple.

Video producers will also be crest-fallen to discover that the iPhone has no video capture facilities. It isn’t even possible to install Final Cut Pro on the iPhone, and it seems that Apple have no plans to support video, other than simple playback.

The weight of the iPhone is 4.8 ounces (135 grams) which immediately set alarm bells ringing. There is no EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) shielding of any kind, rendering the iPhone unusable in any kind of military field operations.

It’s not even possible to use Apple’s iPhone as a remote control for the Hughes M230 Chain Gun 30mm, single-barrel automatic cannon. After speaking to those more in the know than myself, the minimum and maximum temperature range of the iPhone confirm its preclusion from such use.

And speaking of temperature tolerances, it’s clear that those in the business of long-term food storage, cryogenics, fire rescue, as well as those in the metallurgical industries have nothing to look forward to with the iPhone, which singularly fails to meet their simple needs.

What the experts say

“I can’t even use the iPhone as a portable X-ray device. What a shame.” Consultant radiographic specialist based in India.

“I do a lot of presentations, and I was surprised to discover the iPhone has no projector function. This will surely stymie it’s deployment throughout our company.” Head of Sales & Marketing at a large financial institution in New York, USA.

“I was gob-smacked when I realized I couldn’t print full-colour proofs. No, the iPhone won’t be much use to me.” Professional photojournalist, currently working in the Sudan.

“Personally, I’m amazed that there’s no digital OCR option. We’re planning on digitizing the Library of Congress, and we had such high hopes for Apples’ iPhone.” Professional book conservator and committed Republican politician.

It’s hard to put into words how badly Apple have managed the development of the iPhone, or how the market will react to such a clearly lame, insufficiently equipped and already out-of-date product that fails to meet the simple needs of so many different industries.

Only time will tell whether Apple have made the right call…

BTW: just in case you read this and thought I was being serious, well I’m not. So no angry misspelled verbiage in the comments, please!

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

10 replies on “Apple iPhone: DOA?”

Great post, Wayne. Trouble is, I can’t tell whether or not you’re serious about NOT buying one, either! I won’t be – I’m too tight.

I’m not tight, I’m just skint!

I think the iPhone is a sublime piece of design, but it’s also likely to be bloody expensive, too.

I’m holding out for Apple and Sony working to combine the PlayStation 3 with the iPhone into the same form factor.

Only then will I buy one…

Haha, I laughed more than a few times at that. Thanks for brightening up an otherwise dull day.

I’d like to think I’ll get one, mostly for the video bits on the iPod size — one spends a lot of time waiting around when one is sat in a wheelchair. I’ll probably wait an update of some kind first.

Also: Wayne? Tight? I always assumed he was quite loose …

Hi Tim, nice to see you around these parts again.

The number of so-called commentators pokin’ holes in the iPhone for not supporting this feature or that just made me roll my eyes and sigh.

Yeah, if Microsoft were doing this, there’d be about 9 different versions of the iPhone. But this isn’t Microsoft and while they do try to please everyone, it’s a fools errand to even try.

So this is my parody of all those daft pre-release pseudo-reviews floatin’ around…

I’ve come up a rapatronic mode hack for the iPhone that will allow you to carry out femtosecond homegeneous spectroscopic measurements on a wide range of nanocomposite materials and endonuclear discombarmentalizations. It involves the use of a Hamiltonian disentratcherator, some double sided sticky tape and a pair of Lesley Judd’s old knickers.

email me offlist to find out more and I’ll let you have details of one I made earlier.


You see, David should have been on the design team for the iPhone.

It’s these little details that let the whole product down.

What about a mass spectrometer? Or a magnetometer?

Straight away, chemists and geophysicists are just pushed to one side.

It’s disgusting .. I’m going to my local MP (Minister for Parliament, a bit like a Senator) to complain!

Excellent post, Wayne! I thoroughly enjoyed it… I’ve always thought these devices should have a shower installation of some sort, you know… take a shower anywhere… 😉

Probably wouldn’t work too well as a ring tone, though.

Imagine an in-bound call and your pants fill up with water…

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