you can’t go back. go home and start again

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<RANT WARNING – Apple fanboys, and people who love positivity should leave now>

Over the last 3 years I’ve been lucky(?) enough to have 3 different smart phones as my main phone:

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone5
HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone 5

I’m very disappointed with the iPhone5. I want to revert to the Nokia. I was unimpressed by the Nokia but not to the extent that I wanted to give up using it within the week.

The reasons I dislike the iPhone would all be easily uncovered by usability testing with new users, so why do they STILL exist in version 5? Doesn’t Apple test it’s products with people switching from other smart phones? Maybe Apple doesn’t know because it doesn’t bother to test, maybe it knows but doesn’t think they’re worth fixing?

The problems I’m encountering are the sort of thing that should have been fixed by version 2, or for Microsoft – version 3. if the company prioritised input from users other than Apple fan boys who appear to live in a world that lacks perspective.  My 5 main problems were discovered within the first hour of using the iPhone:

  1. No ‘back’ control – you have to go to ‘home’ and then navigate forward to where you were. Android has a hardware back button and Windows has a software back button. All the browsers I’ve ever used have got a back button. You never have to ‘start again’.  Arrrghhhhhhh! It’s hellishly inefficient and irritating. It affects virtually everything I want to do on the phone unless the app provider has included either an ever-present software back button or easy in-App navigation. Apple has effectively offloaded the overhead of designing good navigation to App providers which will result in diverse navigation methods, more effort for the user to learn them. That’s not good.
  2. No service detected. OH MY GOODNESS! After putting in the SIM card, there was no service. I first assumed that I’d put the SIM card in the wrong way.  As soon as I removed the SIM the phone said ‘No SIM detected’. So the problem wasn’t with the SIM placement. I rebooted the phone. SIGH. No service. I showed the phone to a local, patient and peppy, Apple fanboy, who used his psychic Apple-fix-it skills and called my number. MAGIC. It wasn’t displaying that it could receive a signal, yet the phone rang and I was able to answer it! Bizarreness. The service signal strength was now showing on the phone. Unreliable OS messaging of hardware capabilities? That is, the hardware had detected a service but the Apple display hadn’t been updated to show this. What were the Apple test team doing when they set up tests that would let a product with this problem get released? Over the next few days I soon got into the habit of using my Windows Nokia phone (same service provider) to call my i-Phone so that the display would update to show the service signal.  HOW CRAP IS THAT?! More than a double face-palm. I tried a more traditional technique to get the signal to display – rebooting the phone. SIGH. The irritating thing about rebooting the phone to get a service signal is that I have to login to my iApple account again (see problem 3 below), and then the service signal isn’t always re-displayed.  I’ve tried shaking the phone and wandering around the office space. More out of desperation and frustration.CLEAN UP FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
  3. ALL CAPS LETTERS ONLY on the keyboard display, even when you’re typing in lower-case! Really poor visual feedback on what case to expect the keyboard to produce. I use a lot of passwords where there is a requirement for UPPER CASE letters and only a temporary view of the typed letter before it turns into a dot.  This meant that not being able to ‘see’, by looking at the keyboard,  which CASE the letter is going to be typed in was a pain. I had to look at the shift key, which has only a subtle ‘brightness’ contrast change and is covered by my finger that’s pressing it.  Lack of this feedback results in my having to be more careful entering passwords, and have to retype passwords more frequently.  My ‘new’ Apple ID had to be reset 3 times because I couldn’t work out if I’d miss-typed the ID or just tried to enter the wrong ID.  When creating the new password using “I-Forgot” – blame me why don’t you! – I got more “Passwords don’t match” messages than on any other phone I’ve used.  This is an easy OS software change, why haven’t Apple bothered to fix this obvious usability problem?
  4. Not connecting to my home wireless.  I’ve tried about 8 times. The phone can detect my wireless and offers me a password entry field.  I’ve retyped and retyped the network key but for some inexplicable reason the phone is unable to join this network and wont even hint at why. Just tells me it’s failed. At least it takes responsibility for this failure.
  5. No CAPS LOCK. Both Android and Windows have good simple software solutions for this behaviour, which I’d learnt. An Apple fan boy explained to me that I should keep one finger on shift and type the letters with a different finger.  No problem from his perspective. Another Apple fan boy told me a double-tap acts as shift-lock and that she only found out how to use her iPhone with multiple lessons from her daughter. This is only a miner discovery detail, but when added to the other issues for someone trying an iPhone after having used Android or Windows OS’s, it’s yet another poor design feature that implies lack of user-care by the OS development team.

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone5From my perspective the Apple iPhone OS behaviour is clearly less elegant with more user effort overhead than both Android and Windows. I’m surprised, I expected to love it.

Pish and Tush

<RANT TEMPORARILY ON HOLD- I suspect there will be more…>

you can’t go back. go home and start again
5 votes rating 5

5 bits of lovely banter on “you can’t go back. go home and start again”

  1. Scarlet writes:

    Ha! I got caught out by the network key for my iPad… the reason was because I kept entering what it was asking me for i.e the network key…. when actually what it wanted me to enter was the router access password… they are completely different things altogether.
    I think you can change the keyboard in Settings.
    The thing is with Apple kit is that you can be using the damn things for ages when you suddenly find the shortcuts… when in doubt double click… or tap… all sorts of weird and wonderful things might happen… and download the instruction manual for emergencies.
    I find the iPad illogical, but I more or less have gotten the hang of it now.



    wendy writes

    Scarlet – thanks for he tap tips. Very useful. I kept trying with the wireless network and the same password. After about 10 attempts I managed to connect. Being able to miss-type a password 10 times is a record, even for me, testament to the poor phone keyboard….



  2. Indigo Roth writes:

    Hey Wendy! I’ve tinkered with friends’ iPhones in recent years, and almost always put them down frustrated. Most recently I tried to use my brother’s iPhone as a SatNav; totally non-intuitive and annoying. Fanboys always assure me that “nobody will ever want to do that”, which – as someone who worked in UI design for many years – I know is the worst justification ever. Grrr, etc. Indigo x



  3. Stefan writes:

    Just the other day I helped my Dad change internet provider. One of the things his sons (I’m his fourth son 🙂 ) gave him for his last birthday is an iPad. He loves it according to my Mom, but since I have an aversion against everything Apple, that was the first time I ever held one one of those things.

    And indeed: the lack of a Back-button drove me up the walls! From a distance and somebody else using it those things do look sexy, but I think this was the last time I’ve ever held one of those things. No Apple for me.

    (and to be honest: Windows from 7 onwards is also on it’s way out for me: my next OS of choice will be either Limux or Android)



  4. wendy writes:

    Now I understand why people get so upset when their phone is broken or stolen – it takes SO long to set them up, and it’s such an eclectic, unintuitive, unmemorable, process that the thought of having to go through that process again is TERRIBLE!



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