iPhone 5 Tryout Reveals That Smartphone Ergonomics Need More Thought
NEWS ANALYSIS: The tale of the sad end of my brief fling with the Apple iPhone 5 illustrates the equally sad state of smartphone ergonomics where cool design trumps usability.As I wrote in my Dec. 12 column, I went to the Apple Store and bought an unlocked Apple iPhone 5 to see what it takes to get it running on T-Mobile’s network. A week later I went back to the Apple Store and returned it. The story of my ill-fated fling with the iPhone 5 does disprove one popular saying. You really can be too thin. In the case of the iPhone, it made the device impossible for me to hold and to type on. But first, here’s the good news. The iPhone 5 worked perfectly on T-Mobile’s network in the DC area. The Washington, DC, metro area was one of the first to be refarmed to the 1900 MHz frequencies that the iPhone uses. And while T-Mobile supports 42M bps per second, the iPhone works at 21M bps, but it did work and worked well. The other good news is that T-Mobile CEO John Legere told me in a phone call that the company was working to make the iPhone setup instructions easier to find and follow, and he said that the T-Mobile stores located near Apple Stores would have a greater supply of nano-SIM cards.
When I visited one of the T-Mobile stores that previously had been out of stock of nano-SIMs, this time they had a good supply. T-Mobile can clearly move very quickly when they need to. Encouraged, I took the iPhone with me when I traveled to Richmond, Va., for the weekend.