Saturday, November 22, 2008

iPhone 2.2 - First Impressions

After a few hours of using version 2.2 of the iPhone here are my findings.

The map enhancements are certainly appreciated, especially if you happen to live in a city with "digitized" public transportation info. In Portugal, only Lisbon is currently supported - and I hope it won't take long for all other cities to do the same.
Being able to go from one place to the other using public transportation is a very nice addition when visiting a new city.
The walking directions are also nice.

A lot less "nice" is the Streetview implementation. Even if I don't consider myself a genious, I'm usually capable of finding my way around gadgets without reading instruction manuals. But, to find how to use streetview, to find where it was hiding, I had to google for it on the Internet!
Which got me thinking: was this really done by the same Apple usually known for doing "user-friendly" interfaces?

You first have to drop a pin, and then click on a small icon on its description - if that street happens to have streetview.

Maybe it's just me that find that a bit awkward and not very practical...

As for the crashing Safari (since 2.1 that Safari has been practially unsuable for me) I was hoping it would go bacl to the pre-2.1 days, where it was rock-solid.
The new URL+Search bar feels a little cramped... and I don't understand why they had to waste so much space on "Google" - as it doesn't even show the keywords you're searching for. Why couldn't they use a smaller icon for it?

As for stability, Safari crashed just a couple of minutes after using it - not a very nice start.
But I've since cleared all caches, so there was no "excuse" from the previous version, and will report back to you in a couple of days.

There are also some small details that should have been done from the start. When updating an App you no longer get a new icon while downloading, the status is updated in the existing App icon (at last!)
Though the option to install all updates is still missing - it was there a couple of updates back, I don't know why they ever took it, not to mention why they don't put it back.

Clicking the home button to go back to the first home page is but a sign of an issue Apple should better address, and soon.
The "nice" iPhone interface we all love might have served us well in pre-App Store days, where you had a couple of pages at most. Now, with users having lots of pages, flipping back and forth is certainly not a very good way to spend your time when you're searching for a specific App.

This shortcut to go back to the first page is just a way for Apple to say: "We know this isn't working."
And if they want to keep their lead as the best "user-interface" guys, they'll need to do better than that.

Even if it may hurt some, I think implementing some "folder icons" would probably do it. Why can't I place all my game apps, and seldom used utilities under some folder icons, instead of wasting "screens"?

But, they're the experts, I'm happy with any other solution they come up with.

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