Sunday, January 12, 2014

Satisfying Design, Unsatisfactory Solution

I broke my phone yesterday. The screen I cracked back in July (a few weeks after I got the thing) cracked all the way through the LCD this time.

I AM going to have it fixed. The phone is functional except for the screen and it's $200 to replace that. No sense in NOT fixing a $700 phone.

Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of moving and business travel, and it's going to be a couple weeks to get my old phone fixed. I can't go a couple weeks without a phone.

When I'm working, I can't go two DAYS without a smartphone frankly. It's not only my telephone, it's also my organizer, my email client, my internet connection etc...

So, I had to rush out and get a new one.

Since I've already got multiple android devices (between us, I think Mel and I have seven or eight devices of some type, which run android in some fashion), and my iDevices are all several years old, I decided to grab an iPhone 5s (64gb black ).

Given my job, I need to have a working iDevice around for testing purposes if nothing else. My old iPhones are VERY old at this point. Having been purchased in 2009 makes them dinosaurs, which can't run the latest iOs, and thus no longer useful for testing. I was planning on picking up an iPad mini at some point soon... but what the heck, here's an opportunity to get a new iDevice while filling another need.

Verizon has a pay by installment plan that lets you keep your existing service plan (I'm well beyond my contract period, and have grandfathered unlimited data), so I DIDN'T have to lay out $800 all at once yesterday for a new phone, which is rather useful.

In fact, because I have a discount plan, I ended up getting the phone, and a great accessory bundle worth about $200 (including a mophie Juice pack power station pro ), for a grand total of $200 up front.

Unfortunately, I don't like the phone at all. In fact, I rather hate it both as a phone, and as a computing device.

Oh, it's pretty... it's just stupid and broken, by design.

I just don't care for iDevices. I need to have at least one around for testing purposes, and because there are still an unfortunate number of iDevice exclusive apps; so I don't regret buying it, and I'm not going to take it back...

I just don't like it.

I don't like how limited and simplistic iDevices are, even once jailbroken. I don't like being forced into Steve Jobs and Jony Ive's personal vision of "perfection". I like things the way I want them, not how Apple tells me I should want them.

I WANT options. I WANT complexity, when complexity is appropriate. I want to be able to do with my device what I wish, when I wish, how I wish...

Even jailbroken, iDevices just don't do that.

A perfect example: tethering

Even jailbroken, tethering is pathetic with an iPhone. You can't configure ANY options of any kind other than your WPA password. You can't even configure your SSID, as it's set automatically and unchangeably, to the host name of the phone.

Worse, when you are using the iDevice as a hotspot, it doesn't participate in the hotspot network. It can act as a gateway, but you can't be tethered to it, and communicate with it directly at the same time.

That is... universally, phenomenally, stupid and broken.

... but its "simple" and "elegant"... after all "users shouldn't have to think about those sorts of details and techy stuff, they just want it to work when they hit the button".

Yeah... I want it to work... and I want it to work in situations OTHER than what apple thinks will be common.

So, when I get my android phone fixed, I'm switching back... and I will have a very nice media streaming, game playing, and testing device.