Theres a maxim well known to the tech-savvy that you should never buy the first version of any new gadget.
Yet Apples iPhone has been a success, getting snapped up by consumers and professionals alike. Still, some experts in coding and product design have wish lists for what theyd like to see Apple change when and if iPhone 2.0 makes it to market.
"The product itself is disappointing," wrote Dave Winer, a pioneer in RSS, founder of UserLand Software and owner of Scripting News. He said hed want a search feature in the iPhones e-mail and questions its Web browsing capabilities.
Winer said that the iPhone is "much prettier than a BlackBerry and feels better in your hand. Im not mocking Apple for that; style matters, especially in a personal device. But it seems they could have studied the competition more closely to produce a more feature-complete product."
One feature Winer felt is sorely lacking in the iPhone is the ability to search across e-mails.
With a BlackBerry mobile device, Winer said, he can "search for the persons name in my inbox, open the first message, highlight the phone number, click the scroll wheel twice—once to dial the number, the second time to confirm that I want to do it."
Winer also wondered about Apples decision to include a desktop-analogue version of Safari, the companys Web browser, in the iPhone.
"It also seems were going to have a long-term discussion over whether it makes sense to have a mobile Web or take the iPhone trade-off," Winer said. The iPhone requires more effort to use the Web with lots of scrolling and pinching, but it makes the whole Web accessible—mobile sites as well as non-mobile sites, he said.
"I think what Apple has attempted is noble, but its not going to work. The screens have limited resolution, and even if they didnt, even if they could cram a billion pixels into every square inch, theres the limit of how much detail our eyes can see and how big our hands are," Winer said.
Donald A. Norman, breed professor of design at Northwestern University and principal at the Nielsen Norman Group, said he agreed with much of Winers criticisms of the iPhone.
"The iPhone, as expected, is a brilliant piece of design, with some buts," he said. His main criticism is that, "its not finished yet."
"If you are a business person who mainly wants to do phone calls and e-mails, its not the right machine. There, the BlackBerry, Treo and some of the Nokia phones are the winners. They understand business people. They have real keyboards," said Norman, who is the author of the soon to be released book, "The Design of Future Things."
Click here to read more about hacker groups efforts to unlock the iPhone from the AT&T cellular service.
"Apple has never understood the needs of business people," he said. Norman qualified this statement: "This is not a complaint. Every product has to focus, has to decide who its audience is. I represent a niche audience. Apple as right to aim it for the entertainment junkie. But that isnt me."
He also addressed other aspects of interaction with the iPhone.
"The browser is clunky. Typing is a pain," he said. "The great feature of switching automatically between portrait and landscape mode does not work for most of the keyboards."
He also reiterated Winers main complaint: "There is no search function."
As for the Web browsing experience, Norman said that "stretching and shrinking photos and browsers with two fingers is fun, at first, but a real pain when one realizes that it is a necessity, all the time, in order to see the parts that are of interest," he said. But he noted that Apple "did a great job of making a tap reset the size."
"So," he concluded, "a very nice piece of technology. But not yet finished, and not for everyone."