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DHH on iPhone 2.0's Glitches

iPhone 2.0: The glory wore off in wash - (37signals)

[via DF]

While acknowledging the complexity of Apple's ambitious launch, David Heinemeier Hansson says iPhone 2.0 wasn't ready for prime time on a number of levels.

Combined, it’s a rather big disappointment. I’m surprised just how much impact the small griefs have when they add up to a lack of confidence in the system. It’s a great example of the cumulative effects of problems. They have an exponential damage on the experience. [...]

It feels a little like Apple got swept up in knocking down every single detraction point from 1.0 that they lost sight of what everyone loved about the first version. Yes, it got cheaper (not really), faster (some times), installable apps, and GPS, but it lost a bit of Apple soul in the process.

David also has a laundry list of complaints on stability and performance. I went through his items and ticked off each of the ones I've also noticed (with a 01-10 for how big a problem it's been for me):

  • [ 0^ ] "Annoying delays all over the place." [MDM: Kinda. I guess that's how I'd describe it.]
  • [ -- ] "Changing to the SMS view can take more than 10 seconds at times." [MDM: Mmm. I haven't seen this. But then I hate SMS and avoid it like the plague.]
  • [ -- ] "Transitions between apps are being dropped entirely or cut short (the latter looks like a UI stutter)." [MDM: Nope.]
  • [ -- ] "It some times requires 3 clicks on the fast-forward button in iTunes to get a response." [MDM: Nope.]
  • [ 07 ] "The screen will freeze for 4-5 seconds not accepting any input, then replay ALL your feverous tapping when it finally returns." [MDM: Oh yeah. Feels like a page out.]
  • [ 09 ] "Some times the keyboard will not keep up with your input (and I’m not that fast of a typer)." [MDM: I'm a *really* slow typer and I get this almost nonstop]
  • [ 07 ] "I’ve had applications crash numerous times." [MDM: Poof. Multiples a day.]
  • [ 10 ] "The entire phone has crashed twice." [MDM: Closer to a half-dozen times for me.]
  • [ 02 ] "Restarting the phone kinda helps some of these problems, but not for long and it feels so dirty and Windows-like to do." [MDM: I guess. More opinion than observation.]

I'll also add a few of my own:

  • Wildly-varying response errors. Similar to the screen freeze I guess, I'm getting substantial lag time -- especially between ending a drag gesture and having the thing I was trying to change register the movement. I'm constantly selecting the "wrong" thing for example. Over and over.
  • The crazy-long Backup time in iTunes. Wow. Can I request a lot fewer of those?
  • Apps I've removed from the phone mysteriously reappear after the next sync
  • Hangs. Huge, old-school, everything freezes, hold all the buttons and wait til restart hangs.

Hm. I hadn't really thought about all these at once, but, yeah. That's a big bunch of broken. Let's hope an update is out soon that addresses some of these.

AquaMethod's picture

Re: Oh, Come on Guys!

I agree that the 128MB of RAM on the iPhone is the most limiting factor of it; that's why Safari and the iPod app don't get along very well. But isn't that why background apps aren't allowed in the first place? Apple touted this as one of the reasons for the SDK delay and one of the benefits of using the iPhone over other platforms. Users don't care about objects or autorealease pools; users care about the stability of their phone. And I think Apple does have to take some of the blame--they personally vouch for every application in the App Store, a process which is delaying updated versions of applications from reaching users.

Further, a lot of very talented Cocoa developers do believe that some of the crashing and weirdness can be accredited to the iPhone 2.0 OS--but that leads to the single biggest problem with iPhone application development right now, that Effing NDA. Developers can't share code, get help, or teach others how to make a good iPhone app. Once you plunk down that $99, you're on your own. If developers are writing poor software for the iPhone, then the NDA is the reason why. And that's purely the fault of Apple.

I agree that the media overstates everything, and like the sheep many of us have become, we overreact to their exaggerations. Not a good combo. And sometimes, there is just plain misinformation out there; however, in this case, Apple released a sloppy version of the OS with big promises. Is it the end of the world for the iPhone? No; it'll be one of Apple's platforms for years to come. But Apple needs to get this kind of feedback now, while the userbase is still manageable. After all, it's the real fans who are the hardest on Apple: we love our OS X/iPod/iPhone/AppleTV, and we want to see it be improved and make up for its deficiencies.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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