The iPhone : Mobile Productivity, Headaches Included?

By | August 28, 2009

First, let me say long time no post for me! I’ve been quite busy with my graphic design work, part time job and getting ready for college, but as always I’m up to the challenge of sharing some knowledge with everyone today!

First, let me point you to the following Engadget article: http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/10/editorial-taking-the-iphone-3gs-off-the-job-market/

Now that you’ve read this, you may understand what this blog post is about. For the past 9 months I’ve been a fairly satisfied iPhone user, and I’ve always plugged the iPhone as being a business-centric device.

Now, let’s refer back to that Engadget article. Mr. Topolsky, in his post, brings to light the most upsetting flaw in the iPhone: it’s inability to multitask. Now, with the release of the iPhone 3.0 firmware Apple has tried to diminish the lack of this feature by adding it’s Push Notification system. Unfortunately, what is even more upsetting to me here is that developers are either having an incredibly hard time utilizing this Push system or they aren’t.

Or they can’t. There are just too many things that cannot work in a Push environment. What are Push Notifications? Basically, whenever an internet based application like an IM client or newsreader gets a new update or message, it pushes the message to you (for example, you’d recieve a message whenever you got a new IM).

But, say, how does an Internet radio application use this push method to continue playing music? Or a blogging application to keep your draft open while you refer to an email?


What it comes down to in the end is the apps that can have their background tasks pushed, and those that can’t. And there are a lot of applications that can’t, and that is one of the key reasons I’m beginning to doubt the iPhones business capibility as well.

Especially during the summer, when I’ve been working 10+ hour dayshifts at work, coming home, eating and heading out again, I’ve been finding it incredibly infuriating to use the iPhone as a business device.

For example, I wrote a blog post about the social mediasphere a little while back for my personal blog that I will soon be posting here on this blog, and, as I was on my break at work and sitting outside enjoying a cup of coffee, I was naturally on my phone, in iBlogger, typing away. About 5 or 6 paragraphs into the post my girlfriend sent me a rather important text message, but iBlogger doesn’t have a draft save option (bad design choice by them, but Apples folly nonetheless in this case). In order to reply to her text, I’d either have to finish the post or delete it and start again. I took a half and half way out and copied the entire post into the built-in Notes application so I could work on it at anytime now, but again, this was very irritating. Had the iPhone been multitask-capable, I simply would’ve been able to leave iBlogger open, jump into Messages, text my girlfriend back, and go back to my writing.

Another example just occured today: my client and I were conferring over Facebook and I was out of the house. It was of the essence I stay in contact with him throughout the day, and I had emailed myself notes to pass along to him during our discussions. I began typing a message to the client in the Facebook mobile app but forgot one of the points I had to send him, so I copied and pasted the whole thing into Notes and continued working there, flipping between Notes and Mail. But then I needed to refer back to his message, but I can’t copy and paste his message at all. And everytime I wanted to look back at his long message, I’d have to relaunch the app, watch it hang for a minute, then reload the message, read, hop out, go back into Notes, back into Mail, repeat. This process of application surfing, believe me, is a very painful one.

This is, by far, and all firmware bugs aside, Apples greatest mistake and the iPhones greatest weakness. Unfortunately for the end user, the iPhone is the only phone out there with the applications to truly enable mobile businesses. I honestly don’t think I could live without the ability to access the apps I have on my iPhone, but the way in which I use them together doesn’t make sense.

The Palm Pre, the most reknowned iPhone competitor, has an app store similar to Apples, a weaker developer base, but multitasking. If multitasking doesn’t end up on the iPhone soon, the Pre will inevitably overcome the iPhone with it’s easy and seamless multitasking system, but until it’s developer community grows exponentially, the iPhone’s app base is a thousandfold stronger then Palms.

So it really comes down to what your willing to deal with; those that want multitasking but are willing to give more to do less can get the Pre, and those that are willing to endure lots of headaches to accomplish their business on the go can choose the iPhone.

For now I’m sticking with the iPhone, but when it comes time to get another phone in 2 years time, I’m not so sure I’ll be taking that well designed and all so prestigious Apple path again.

2 thoughts on “The iPhone : Mobile Productivity, Headaches Included?

  1. Andrew

    Hi Dion,

    Very interesting read and look forward to seeing when Apple tackle this and in what manner.

    Apple’s has a huge userbase. It’s trendy, feature rich and as you point out a smorgasbord of available apps from a huge community, but you highlight an important bridge that must be tackled soon.

    They’ve gained traction, but needs to do more and go further to dent the blackberry and windows mobile business markets, which are massive. It’s going to be fun seeing the competition heat up and the innovation that continues to emerge from all players…. including improved multitasking and productivity.

    Cheers for the detailed blog post and look forward to further insight and updates.

    Best Regards

  2. Dion Rodrigues Post author

    Thanks Andrew!

    In response to your comment, the problem is that, despite the heavy competition, Apple is at the top of its market and still growing despite its niche userbase, and it seems that Apple is only willing to progress this userbase’s feature set at a nominal rate that, eventually, will be the tipping point for customers wishing to use the phone in a work environment.

    Without this vital multitasking capability Apple is starting to dig itself a hole, especially with the app store growing exponentially and the capabilities of the phone growing.

    I’m sure there are many more iPhone users out there who’d love to use many amazing apps in tandem for a full smartphone experience.
    .-= Dion Rodrigues´s last blog ..Artwork Featured… Again 🙂 =-.

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