I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

iPhone and the First Generation Woes

The iPhoneFor everybody who was hiding under a Godzilla-sized rock, Apple released the iPhone last weekend. It represents a big step forward in pure humane-ness of mobile devices. Despite the slow network, the poor customer service provided by AT&T, and the lack of an open development environment, I am still on the verge of getting one. Using its interface is a like drinking refreshingly cool water after a crawl over a barren desert made of discarded cell phones.

Instead of singing the praises of the iPhone (which it deserves), I want to describe some of the unpolished corners that escaped Apple’s quality assurance.

The Volume Buttons and Tilt

Apple, like many other cellphone makers, realized that changing the volume of the phone is so important that it warrants its own hardware buttons, not screen buttons — at any time, no matter what you are doing, you’ll need to be able to change the volume of the phone. That Apple made this concession is particularly impressive given how much they seemed to desire a sexy and button-less exterior.

I love the fact that the iPhone switches between portrait mode* and landscape mode automatically when the phone is rotated — when we were working on a cellphone project a couple years ago, this was a feature we really wanted but couldn’t push through. I did find, when playing, that the implementation on the iPhone was somewhat finicky: It took some fiddling to make it register the rotation.

That aside, there is a serious mismapping that Apple forgot to correct. When the phone is in the portrait mode it uses the correct natural mapping: Pressing the higher key increases the volume and pressing the lower key decreases the volume. However, when the phone is rotated, the once correct mapping is broken: pressing the left key increases the volume and pressing the right key decreases the volume. It should be the other way around.

When rotated, the iPhone's volume buttons end up in the wrong orientation
This isn’t a huge deal, but it messed me up a number of times. It’s just sloppy craftsmanship and I expect better from Apple. It’s an easily fixable problem: when the phone is in the landscape mode where the buttons are on the bottom (you can rotate either direction to get to landscape mode), just swap the buttons roles. This can be fixed purely in software. Hopefully Apple will.

*This should rather be called the portrait/landscape quasimode. The problems that go along with full modes don’t apply here because you are always aware of the iPhone’s orientation kinesthetically.

The Camera Button

There isn’t one. That’s a problem. The iPhone actually takes a step backward in this regard over its competition. On my Nokia, there is simply a button I can push to take a picture. I press it, a picture is taken. With the iPhone, I have to (1) Press the home button, (2) Press the camera icon, (3) Press the take-a-picture button. That’s just too much pressing.

Taking a picture is another one of those things I want to be able to do anytime, anywhere. Why do I think that this is a first generation problem? Because I think Apple will eventually realize that adding the camera to the VIP list of physical buttons would not only be useful, but also sexy*. Here’s hoping for a dedicated button in a later generation.

*How could this be sexy? How can you do do an interface that doesn’t dislodge you from your current location while taking a picture? For now, I leave this as an exercise for the reader. Perhaps it will become a puzzler latter on, or the solution a blog post.

On-Screen Keyboard

The on-screen keyboard was much better than I expected it to be. I was ready to condemn the iPhone to the good-idea-with-fatal-flaw pile because of the keyboard, so it is with great surprise that I say that it “isn’t too bad”. With index-finger typing, text entry felt pretty zippy. When I tried to type with two thumbs, I could go faster, but I made an unacceptable number of mistakes. The Apple-store folks claimed that it will learn my particular typing habits and adjust the keyboard accordingly, but I can’t comment on whether that is true or not. Typing punctuation marks was quite annoying, because you have to go into a separate keyboard mode to access them.

A company called Immersion is working on a technology that gives tactile feedback to a touchscreen. This could not only solve my still-lingering skepticism about the on-screen keyboard, but possibly morph the iPhone into the Best Thing Ever(tm). All of a sudden, it would become fully possible to type and navigate without looking. One of the nice things about the iPhone is how the interface feels “real”. Interacting with it feels like interacting with a physical object. When you flick your finger on a list, the list scrolls with momentum. It’s a nice touch. With the addition of programmable tactile feedback, there is a wealth of interaction and “realness” of the interface that becomes possible. This is clearly not a feature for the second or even third generation. But I truly hope it is an nth generation feature.

There are some genuine first-generation woes with the onscreen keyboard. In the web browser, you can rotate the iPhone to browse in landscape mode. An added side-effect is that this enlarges the size of the keyboard, effectively making your typing faster and more reliable. As I was attempting to enter an email in the Mail application, I tried the same trick. No luck. There are only certain times and places when the iPhone will successfully go into landscape mode. There is no indication of when it will and when it won’t. I spent a frustrating minute thinking that the orientation detection wasn’t working. One particularly inhumane mode is that while typing, you are not allowed to switch from portrait to landscape: You have to stop editing, rotate the phone, and resume editing. Senseless.

The solution to this UI problem is to always allow landscape mode. If you are going to implement a feature, don’t do it half-way. I actually began to feel somewhat insecure about the device, not knowing when the accelerometer was being sticky and when I wasn’t allowed to change orientations.

In the next generations, I expect to be able to use the landscape-mode enlarged keyboard anywhere that I want to type, and I’ll be able to switch orientations at all times.

Autocorrections

The reason that typing feels so zippy is that the iPhone is clever and corrects your mistakes as you type. Unfortunately, the iPhone is not so clever when you are not typing English. In this case, the iPhone replaces the word you want with a different word entirely — and there is no way to undo its mistakes. It evokes the feeling of running through a field where every 25 paces there may be a landmine.

To accept an autocorrect suggestion you tap the spacebar. To cancel an autocorrection you tap on the suggestion. That’s just weird. Plus, it’s hard to habituate to because the suggestion appears beneath the word you have typed. That means the place you need to tap could be anywhere.

Bluetooth Keyboard

I had convinced myself that I would take the plunge and buy an iPhone if it had just one feature: The ability to hook up with an external Bluetooth keyboard. That way, I could eschew the on-screen keyboard for some real text-entry power. The iPhone could take the place of my computer for text editing purposes: I could email and write with impunity, and I wouldn’t need pay for an Internet connection at home.

Most of the work I do on the computer is writing. With a fold-able Bluetooth keyboard and Google Docs, I would have the ultimate portable writing system.

I spent a long time with the folks at the Apple store talking about this issue. Alas, there does not appear to be a driver for this yet. Apple just hasn’t thought of it. That’s okay — they had a finite amount of time to get the first generation phone out. Yet… the driver would be fairly easy to write and tiny to include. In fact, if there were a true SDK, I would write one. But the platform is closed, so I’ll probably have to wait at least half a generation for this feature.

Copy and Paste

There isn’t any. This really hurts, especially when typing is somewhat laborious. I’m not advocating standard copy and paste — the standard invisible buffer that can only hold one thing is pretty inhumane. I am advocating some method of moving text around the system without the need to retype it. Also, the ability to select text is key as well. This will get fixed, I am sure. It had better get fixed. For now, though it’s just another rough and troublesome first-generation edge.

Dragging Lists

I mentioned above that dragging a list up/down feels smooth. It’s fast and it’s efficient. (Because of Fitts’ law, standard scroll bars are very inefficient, and I’m happy to see them gone.) But Apple missed a great opportunity: Scrolling left/right between lists.

Let me give an example. I’m on this screen in settings:

How the 'back' button looks on the iPhone
To change a particular set of settings, I click on one of the options. The screen slides over to reveal the new list of settings. I might even do this twice. To get back, I have to click on a small button near the top of the screen. It’s annoying and unsexy. And it’s Fitts’-law bad. How could Apple do it better? Simplify.

To move up/down in any of the settings I just drag my finger in the direction I want to go. I should be able to do the same thing left and right to move between the different settings screens. The slide-over metaphor is already visually there. In fact, I was expecting the drag method to just work and was confused when it didn’t. The same thing is true for changing “tabs” in the web browser. Apple has already implemented zoom; why does the iPhone need a separate mechanism for changing tabs? Simply zooming out and panning would accomplish the same thing, faster and more naturally.

I hope that Apple will eventually settle on using the drag method consistently throughout the interface. They even use it for moving between photos. But, I’m not holding my breath. Apple may already be committed to this kind of back-button. It would be a shame for the back-button to become Apple’s standard design pattern, when they’ve already implemented a superior method.

Attaching an Image to an Email

There was a discussion on this blog a couple weeks ago about icons after I wrote a eulogy to the floppy-disk-as-save icon. The problem with icons exhibited itself fully in the iPhone photo-viewing interface.

The send photo icon.
How do I send an image? After looking over the screen for something to help me, the only thing that looks remotely right is that image of a rectangle with an arrow. I touched it and the iPhone went into slideshow mode. The icon does look a little like something meaning “slideshow”. Because that button wasn’t it, I tried everything I could think of. I starting drafting an email but the Mail application didn’t have a way of attaching an image. I even asked a Apple store guy if it was possible to send an image as an email. “Nope”, he replied, “they should be adding that soon. You can see incoming emails but you can’t send them.”

It turns out that you can send an email as an attachment, although not from inside Mail (talk about frustrating). How? By clicking that little icon I tried before. It just so happened that because of the touchscreen’s lack of kinesthetic feedback, I tapped the photo instead of the icon. Thus, the iPhone began the cycling the images and I thought the icon meant “slideshow”. I went around for a day telling people that the iPhone didn’t support sending images.

Icons look pretty, but they cannot replace text.

Conclusion

The iPhone represents a new era of more humane phones. For the most part it’s excellent. I’m not sure that I can recommend the phone to my friends yet*, but once these first generation woes get worked out, it will be an awesomely humane machine. I’m excited that there will be a slew of “me-too” phones. Not because they will be better than the iPhone, but because it will raise the bar on cell phone humane-ness.

*Although I might still get one. I’m in the interface design business, so it’s a necessary buy for research. Right?

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View all 171 comments


Good post, but I disagree about the volume button. I think that having a hardware button whose meaning gets remapped based on the orientation of the phone would be really confusing. The up button should always be the up button, even if it’s not always in the “natural” mapping. Besides, left-down, right-up is hardly natural; it just happens to be what we’re used to.

Is it possible for the phone to enter landscape mode when you are talking? If so, then the volume button might remap while you are talking on the phone (if it was on your left ear).


Yes, you’re right, it’s a necessary purchase for *serious* research. But not for fun. I repeat, not for fun.



Aaron White

I can agree w/ you about the volume buttons (they tripped me up many times in the horizontal orientation) as well as allowing horizontal orientation in more places: I too wondered if the device was behaving erratically. Also, the mail app very weak in terms of its ability to do ‘obvious things’

I can’t say I agree w/ your solution for the settings screen. Yes, the ‘back’ button is tiny, and could be made larger, or replaced with some other mechanism. I’m sure however that trying to swipe a latch for a setting, and suddenly being thrown into another page would be more annoying.

As for icons, they can replace text, and frequently do. Text has advantages, but pictures are here to stay (notice the reversal?) There is some amount of learning people are willing to do for any system. For Enso, the key-stroke to open it, and its particular brand of text interface, and for the iPhone, the need to understand the occasional icon. I don’t think it’s so clear cut as to text being superior and irreplaceable by icons. Perhaps an article on how *much* an app is allowed to train its user. That is to say, what is the acceptable amount of learning can you put a user through, before you are being impolite?


Good analysis. The iPhone’s been a long time in coming – I’ve been writing about it since 1979 … it will time to work out all of the imperfections…


I too disagree with your assertion that the volume buttons should switch. Buttons should not change function without some kind of feedback, and just because you got confused a few times doesn’t mean it’s a problem. You’ll never make that mistake again.

Indeed, making mistakes isn’t necessarily a sign of a poor UI, as they’re a normal part of the learning process.

Secondly, the lack of Bluetooth keyboard isn’t really a problem with the iPhone. It may be something you personally would like, but I doubt the vast majority of people would want it. It’s possible it may be added at a later date, but just because something’s not right for you, doesn’t mean it’s a valid criticism of the product overall. you simply may not be the target market.


    I agree with you, move the volume knob may affect the appearance of the iPhone and other buttons position, while the volume is not too important.

    I also like to get confused when using the new gadget. Although the brand, there is usually a difference in each type. It was used to make a person confused when first using these gadgets. But after some time, we will get used and by itself can master all the features



Walter Davis

One of the things I’ve been noticing about the iPhone launch from a marketing perspective is how they have been under-promising features, or holding back on pre-announcing features, in order to have something *else* to say about the product.

Likewise, a lot of the 1.0-ness of this product seems calculated.

As far as the keyboard goes, I think that it will come, but not before people get used to using the soft keys (and the soft keys improve a little as well).

I think it’s a case of “This is not a Mac, or even a computer for that matter.” Or, as Yoda might say, “Some un-learning you have to do.”


Who decided that a quantity variable like volume should be controlled with a binary control like a pair of buttons? That’s not what my 1960′s-era human factors handbook says. It should be something like a knob, thumbwheel, or slider. Yeah, everyone uses buttons, but I thought Apple learned something from their iPod.

As for mapping consistancy, what if they moved the volume control to the top of the iPhone as held for portrait mode? That would make Right/Up consistently mean “more” with no direction swapping. Or can you rotate the iPhone clockwise or counterclockwise 90 degrees to get a correctly oriented landscape mode?


If you wanted to do the camera button ‘right’, you’d put capacitance detection on it. Put your finger on the button and you go to a viewfinder quasimode, click to snap the pic. Placement of the button to prevent accidental touch becomes an issue but a solvable one.

As for applications, OCR is a nontraditional one. Example App: Mobile finance — snap a pic of the receipt, phone OCRs. Total is probably last number on the right 30% of the recepit. Match all text on the receipt against the known set of vendors. Failing that, take current location (you know it’s coming) and match against known vendors. Failing that, hit the web and geo-lookup business against location, present multiple choices as list to the user. Manual entry fallback.

P.S. Where’s the weather app?


P.S. I’d have one now if I could write real apps for it. As is, I’m waiting on the next hardware rev.


You guys should check out OpenMoko. It’s an open source project developing a free operating system for cell phones.

The Neo1973 (has a big touchscreen!) is the first hardware platform they’re developing for, though they plan on expanding.

I’m interested in seeing if the lack of open development will harm the iPhone as much as I think it will and if the future will be open.


Your opinions on usability are in doubt. I disagree with many of your recommendations.

1. Physical buttons should not change functions just because you rotated the device 90 degrees. Doing so would be very in-humane in my estimation.

2. A multi-function device must make compromised with its interface. Every user of the device will have their own priorities and will think the buttons for their most used features should be prioritized. If I planned to use the iPhone as a digital recorder frequently I could say that the “record” function should have been a physical button. Either way, some subset of users will not be happy.

3. Recommending “swipe sideways” to navigate from a screen with horizontal slider widgets seems unwise.


Chris Cook – I would be interested to hear *why* you think these things are unwise rather than a blanker, it *is* unwise.


ICR: If you swipe sideways near the volume control widget how does the UI know if you want to change the volume or change to another screen?

“So swipe in another part of the screen” I hear you say. Well, suddenly a gesture which is supposed to be intuitive and problem free (refer to discussion about the auto-correction minefield) requires the user to restrict their gesture to “appropriate” areas of the screen (which could change from screen to screen).

I thought it was obvious which is why I didn’t elaborate.


One simple solution to the volume button mapping would simply reorient the landscape mode for videos by 180˚ (i.e. rotate the phone clockwise instead of counter clockwise to view videos). That way the volume buttons would be on the top of the phone instead of the underside and the mapping would be intuitive and consistent.

There are a number of other UI quirks and oversights that I thing/hope will be addressed soon. Top among them are:

1. The ability to delete multiple emails messages at once. Currently you can delete email messages individually by sliding your finger across the message preview and confirming your action by hitting the “delete” button spawned by that action. Alternatively you can hit edit and get a column of little “do not enter” symbols along the left hand side. Tapping each symbol brings up the aforementioned delete button on the right hand side of the screen, which you have to tap to delete. The “edit” feature, therefore, offers no advantage whatsoever over the first “sliding” method. It would be far better if the edit feature brought up check boxes that could be selected, allowing the user to apply a delete action to all the selected messages.

2. Another critical oversight is the ability to quickly locate and dial a contact. Right now the only way to access a contact is to scroll through your contact list or tap a “favorite.” Apple needs to add a search field in the contacts view so you can type the first few letters of a person’s name to jump to a contact. It’s just too slow and cumbersome the way it works now (no matter how fun “flicking” is.

There are a ton of other little quirks and oversights, but these are the few that really need to be addressed immediately.



AL

Interesting ideas and solutions both in the article and the comments.

However, I’d like to stress 2 points:

* Like Kevin Cannon said, Apple must have considered iPhone’s demographic profiles and chose to include the features that will be required by the majority of its users. That doesn’t give Apple an excuse for not including a camera button, but it does say that not many people, statistically speaking, would find this an absolute requirement.

* Speaking of statistics, I think if we were to approach one design decision or tradeoff, we should not do so based on personal and sometimes subjective viewpoints. Making such decisions is better accomplished by performing various types of usability testing on candidate representatives of iPhone’s demographic profiles. By aggregating this data, Apple should be able to make future design decisions for the second generation that is based on statistical input from real users. Hopefully that will address some of the issues that are mentioned in this article as well as what other minor annoyances.



Stephen

I’m actually glad there’s no camera button: I can’t stand it when my phone is constantly taking pictures of the inside of my pocket.


    I like the camera button, because I love to take pictures. I’m getting used to lock the keypad


It’s really a shame this isn’t a free software system as the multi touch screen, and design of the hardware is truly the first time this is available for consumers. I’d buy one of these if it was a little bit larger, not a phone, and I could install Gnu/Linux on it.

Look at all the problems you were able to point out with the software. Apple is best at making things look minimal, simple, elegant. But sucks at interface design!


Chris Cook , seeing as Aza and others, who are generally quite good at usability, didn’t seem to make/realize the same point it was perhaps less obvious to others than yourself.


“Look at all the problems you were able to point out with the software. Apple is best at making things look minimal, simple, elegant. But sucks at interface design!”

Spoken like a true Windows fan boy.

If there is one thing Apple *is* good at it’s interface design. In case you have not been paying attention, its the one thing that separates the iPhone from the bazillion of other cell phones out there and why almost a million of them were sold in the first week.

Just because the UI has some quirks doesn’t mean it isn’t 200% better in its design than the Palm OS, Windows CE or Symbian… which it is.


I don’t understand your comment about the settings. When you select a setting and the screen slides to show a new screen of settings, those settings are contextual to the original setting you selected. The ‘Usage’ and ‘Sounds’ settings, for example, take you to different things.

So, how could you “swipe” backwards and forwards without selecting a setting to view?



stwf

I like most of the suggestions. But not the volume buttons. The most urgent volume adjusting is when your cell goes off at an inopportune time. I like being able to turn it off while its still in my pocket. That way I can pretend it wasn’t my phone!
Having to look at it to determine the orientation would ruin this effect. At that point I might as well answer the call!



Liam

Vis-a-vis the volume button thing – are you right or left handed.



Matt

Terrible volume button idea.

What if the iPhone is tilted 45 degrees – as mine is right now as I type this? Which button is up then?

Just a really bad idea.

Matt


I’m surprised nobody else has said it, or that I can find, anyway:

If the volume buttons change based on the orientation of the handset, then which button does which function when it’s held up to my ear at about a 45 angle?

(I started to write more, but I think my point’s been made.)



Travis Butler

I’ve used three open-source based handhelds extensively – the Zarus 5500, Nokia 770, and Nokia 800. Based on experience with those devices, I would argue that so far open developers have proven themselves incapable of making a truly integrated, ‘humane’ interface experience. All of them have had overly complex and not always consistent interfaces just with the system default install.

Once you add in third party software, which was wildly inconsistent, any hope of a clean consistent interface is lost. (Examples included sloppy ports whose menus displayed underlines for keyboard shortcuts that don’t exist on the Nokias, which don’t have a physical keyboard; and applications that vary between using the user-space open file browser, which highlights the user folders for pictures, documents, etc., and a file browser that requires wading through a novice-user-hostile Unix directory tree.)

So no, I have no confidence in the OpenMoko project to deliver anything close to good usability for ordinary users, let alone something that rethinks the portable UI paradigm in as polished a fashion as the iPhone does. Having a ‘big touchscreen’ is the least important part; if it continues to use pop-up menus, scroll bars, and other elements more suited to a full-sized computer than a handheld, it’s not likely to show any improvement over current smartphones.



Shaun

Michael Zuschlag nails the volume button problem. It shouldn’t be two buttons, it should be a dial.

IME the Sony Ericsson P800 to P910 have the best navigation tool on any phone – a 5 way jog dial. It acts as a volume dial or for scrolling. You push it in like you would a mouse button – great as a mute button You push it away from you to cancel, end a call or go back a page or toward you to go forward a page. Most of the time you can use the phone entirely one handed without looking at the phone once you have the motor memory.

They screwed it up subsequently on the P990 as it’s only 3 way plus a cancel button. btw. A big step backwards.

The lack of camera button I reckon is because Apple just aren’t that interested in cameras. The iPhone camera is pretty bad for an expensive phone – no flash, no autofocus, only 2mp, small lens. It’s pretty obvious the camera wasn’t high on the priority list in the design.


“How do I send an image? After looking over the screen for something to help me, the only thing that looks remotely right is that image of a rectangle with an arrow. I touched it and the iPhone went into slideshow mode.”

Are you sure you didn’t hit the “play” button in the middle? Hitting the rectangle+arrow button while viewing a photo calls up a pane of options for “Use As Wallpaper”, “Email Photo” and “Assign To Contact”.


I agree with most people who say that changing the orientation of the volume buttons would be a bad idea. I’ve never been confused by the buttons. The one near the top of the phone is volume up. What could be simpler? I just wish there was a way to control iPod app volume while the phone is in your pocket (Apple’s own wired remote doesn’t work with the iPhone).

Regarding the icons on the photo app, the author admits that he actually chose the right icon on first guess, and there only 4 of them to begin with. I don’t see what the problem is here. This isn’t Microsoft Word with dozens of hard to decipher icons.

As for Immersion providing “tactile feedback” for onscreen keyboards, I’m pretty sure this just entails small vibrations that occur when you tap a key. (Immersion has the patent on the “rumble” feature used in video game controllers.) You can see a similar feature (although not related to Immersion as far as I know) on the Nintendo Wii: when you move the onscreen pointer from button to button, you get a little vibration. It helps a little bit, but it’s not actually tactile feedback, and in no way would allow you to use an onscreen keyboard without looking at it. Apple’s current “typewriter” sound has pretty much the same effect.



Dan Dallie

Nice article. The comments about the camera seem to be a “straw man,” however. On my Nokia I have go to the menu, pick camera, then press a button to click the shutter. Exactly the same number of steps. What’s the difference?



Gordon anderson

this volume thing must be a leftie problem.
how can you rotate the phone counter-clockwise (as shown in the photo) with any degree of comfort while holding the phone in your right hand?


A button is a button. It shouldn’t change the way it works just because I reorient the device.



Brian

Good stuff, but I have to disagree on the volume button. I prefer and expect consistency in placement of such parts…rejiggering vol up/down would only result in a lot of unnecessary confusion.



Greg

Its been hinted at here but I don’t know that anyone has clearly stated that the phone can be rotated in either direction. If you dont like the order if the volume buttons simply rotate in the opposite direction next time you want to use landscape mode.

Also, keep in mind that volume buttons rather than a dial or something similar allow people to adjust the volume while the phone is still in their pocket, without actually putting their hand in that pocket. I’ve been in many a meeting where colleagues simply pinch the the outside of their pants to silence unwanted rings.



Kendall Gelner

Dials are too easy to jog, especially when in-pocket sliding around.

On the swipe-sideways to go back and forth between menus – I like it, when swiping forward instead of back you could simply go to the submenu for whatever line you were swiping on (if there was one).



Corky Williams

Why couldn’t you just rotate the iPhone the other way and then the volume buttons are in their right spots.

So, instead of rotating to the left, what if everything rotated to the right. The Safari browser does this. However, the video player in the ipod doesn’t.

Just seems like a natural solution.

Also, if you are right handed, then it is a natural rotation in your hand.



Fred Hamranhansenhansen

If your iPhone rings and you want to silence it you push the top button once, not the volume. If you push the top button twice the call goes to voicemail. The silent ring switch is also physical, no need to touch the volume.

For the OpenMoko guy, notice that there are more iPhone apps two weeks after launch than all other smart phone apps combined. Also notice that Ajax is just getting started and is entirely open and even though you are in a sandbox on iPhone it is a bigger sandbox than native on other smart phones which have storage measured in megabytes and poor graphics, no proper Web rendering. I have run lots of my own code on iPhone and it just worked even though it was written to an open spec before iPhone came out. Finally I would say you are propagating FUD because iPhone is 1.0 and shipping and OpenMoko is not, it is in alpha.

In general this article makes good points nut it is suffering from the same thing as many iPhone reviews which is you have to go far to criticize it and it is easy to fall into rhe trap of comaring to a computer not other phones. Everybody is tired pf talking about the keyboard and battery but the truth is nobody could reasonably expect iPhone v1.0 to be this good.

I’m sure ther will be a selection of Bluetooth keyboard momentarily. That would serve the exact same purpose as Palm Folio, sometimes you sit down for an hour of email at a desk and the real keyboard helps, but this should be an accessory in a pocket device so it can fold.



ratiosans

yeah, i don’t know – the Send icon in Photos seems pretty intuitive to me. see, it takes that square thing (your picture) and it Sends it in a direction (arrow) – the possible places to send it being Wallpaper, Email, or Contacts. don’t assume just because you didn’t get something on the first go, the 1-year old on YouTube didn’t get it either.

and yeah, the Volume directionality swap? not a good call. it seems to be kind of a slightly askew sense of direction that might be your problem. once you learn to orient yourself to the buttons, you’ll be livin’ easy, ridin’ that volume up down all the live long day.

one issue i (sort of) agree with, though, is the tactility of the camera shutter release. makes it difficult to take a picture of yourself (and i do love to take pictures of myself). but the shutter release button on my both of my old Nokias (6680 and 6230), the center button had such a small footprint, 1 out of 10 times, after 3 clicks to get there, i would end up missing the shot.



Jeff D

About taking photos or yourself: you can push and hold the photo button as long as you want, so push it with your index finger, rotate the phone around, point it at you, and then release your index finger and the phone with take the photo.

In reference to the volume button, I argree that the button should change according to present configuration. I agree because landscape could be in either top-to-right or top-to-left, and the bottons should dictate with way the volume is going – left or right – compared to me, not to the machine. The orientation of the machine doesn’t matter to me, I just want the volume to move to MY right or left.
Finally, in reference to emailing the photos. I don’t know what button you pressed, because that button brings up a menu that does what you were looking for, just as some other person said earlier.



Richard Drysdall

Re: Tactile feedback when pressing keyboard buttons, I wonder if it would be possible to make the tactile feedback ‘describe’ a shape under your finger. On my computer keyboard, the symbol on each key is slightly raised – if I pause my finger on a key, I can feel the shape of the symbol. Even though it’s hard to imagine that your brain could process this at natural typing speed, I suspect that once the user was used to it, it would become unconscious, making it possible to detect an incorrect key press without looking at the screen/keyboard.
I guess I just described Braille for people with good vision.



Joseph Yancey

I AGREE to an extent on the volume button thing. the buttons are fine if i am not paying much attention, but if I am watching a movie and I want to turn it down, the natural thing to do is to hit the left button which turns it up. If the video was rotated the other way this would work perfect.

The issue here is that the on screen display moves right(up) when you press the left button and left(down) when you press the right button.

The mapping of the physical buttons do NOT need to be changed, but the UI needs to do something different in respect to letting the user know what is going on with the volume.

on a side note: camera buttons are EVIL


The most egregious problem with the volume buttons comes when you have the volume bar visible while watching video in the iPod or YouTube modes.

Pressing the left button moves the volume bar right, and vice versa. What’s worse, the most prominent bar is the volume bar and is placed next to all the navigation controls, but the playback position bar is stuck away at the top. The grouping feels completely broken.



pflap

So if you had your way the whole thing would have been covered in buttons when you have a massive touch screen to play with.

Should have expected this really judging by the fact Enso launcher rips off something good like quicksilver but then gets it so wrong, how is typing close more humanized than a close icon. Computer keys are just buttons with icons on, so pressing buttons with icons on to make a sentence which substitutes a button with an icon on is absolute madness.



pflaps

oh and physical buttons would be wrong too when rotated…. can’t believe I’m having to point this out to you


pflap – The keyboard and icons represent two different input methods – namely keyboard and mouse respectively. The close icon works okay if you are using the mouse, but the idea is to also provide a good input method using the keyboard. To this end, typing “Close” makes much more sense than “Alt+F4″ or other such methods.



jules

The thing I find most upsetting is not being able to use iPhone as a portable harddrive like it is possible with iPod. I consider this a very basic and worthy function. Hope this gets solved along with some other first generation problems.

But please, no switching the physical volume buttons according to orientation. I think any minor benefits would be greatly outweighed by the disadvantages of such a mode solution.

Apart from that, I heartily agree to all suggestions for improving the thing, so it will actually be really worth buying once they get it on to the European markets. Being able to chose the phone company would be good too, as a matter of fact.


That seems minor compared to the phone turning off when you put it into your pocket. Try it yourself by being on call, clicking the sleep button, and boom the call ends, which means if you want to talk with the headphones on, put the phone away to say walk around and stuff, and the button gets touched, the call ends.



J.

The soft camera button drives me nuts, I can’t stand it. It makes self portraits nearly impossible too.

Apple should simply allow the user to select (reprogram) which button she’d like as picture-taker. I’d prefer to simply use the big main button, and perhaps allow a double-click to retreat to the main menu. This solution would work excellently.


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So if you had your way the whole thing would have been covered in buttons when you have a massive touch screen to play with.


Apple should simply allow the user to select (reprogram) which button she’d like as picture-taker. I’d prefer to simply use the big main button, and perhaps allow a double-click to retreat to the main menu. This solution would work excellently.



Sex

oh and physical buttons would be wrong too when rotated…. can’t believe I’m having to point this out to you


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