My first week with the iPt has been a thorough validation of my decision to jump ship from the Palm platform. The things this new device doesn’t do are still a problem, but the things it does do it does incredibly well. I won’t gush over those because they’ve all been thoroughly gushed over. But anybody who thinks the success of the iPhone/iPt platform is primarily based on superficial factors of appearance or brand image likely hasn’t used one for more than two minutes.
Here are some things I’m still wishing for:
- A screen that doesn’t flicker at the lowest brightness settings (though I love how dim it goes – much better than my Palm in that respect).
- Better volume and fast-forward/reverse controls on the audio player. I should be able to adjust either of those with my thumb while walking the dog. The double-click that brings up the basic player controls is great, but the actual controls are too fussy. Skipping forward and back through podcasts kind of sucks compared to the way it works on a “real” iPod.
- A better offline reading solution. Even explicitly cached pages (q.v. Blazer) would be a start. I’ve been emailing myself documents and filing them in a special folder (yay IMAP). But I want my offline Django docs and I don’t want them as a PDF.
- Word completion during text entry. The correction feature isn’t nearly as useful as something predictive like T9.
- Historical battery life information. How much on-time am I really getting per charge, and how much is it being affected by my use of wifi, backlight setting, etc.?
- A translucent mode for the on-screen keyboard.
- More consistent support for screen rotation (and a way to disable it – especially important for extended reading, which may happen standing up, lying on the couch, in bed, etc.).
- A faster/easier way to turn wifi on and off.
- A Weather app icon that updates itself, instead of showing sunny-and-73-degrees throughout the long New England winter (Thursday’s predicted low: 2 degrees F).
- A way to flag messages in Mail (like I do in Mail.app or mutt).
- The ability to see the entirety of long track titles in the audio player.
There’s no reason this all has to come from Apple. Friday is the deadline for them to make good on Steve Jobs' promise of an SDK in February. Since they’re still linking to that notice from the main iPhone development page, I’m hoping that it really is about to appear. And I’m hoping that it isn’t hobbled with excessive iTMS integration.
As long as there’s a shell somewhere in there, I’ll be happy.
Update: A BusinessWeek blog post says it’s going to be late. Then a bunch of people comment and say stuff. I don’t know what they said because I fell asleep while scrolling.
Update the second: Disappointed!
Update the third: Today, February 35th, the SDK arrived. When the Apple site recovers from the onslaught, you can read more there. Looks like I need to upgrade to Leopard!
p.s. Personal note: February 29th is also Bissextile, the ersatz Bissex family holiday that happens only once every four years.