Friday, December 18, 2009

iPhone Stockholm Syndrome?

I’m not sure it’s true. I don’t think I have iPhone Stockholm Syndrome, as suggested by the article. It’s actually written about mobile operators, not end users, but it does raise some interesting points.

I’ve had a lot of people say that they won’t buy an iPhone because it’s a closed platform, and it locks you into Apple’s business model. They prefer Windows Mobile, Android, or Blackberry instead. I don’t get the last one because as handy as a Blackberry is, you’re locked into RIM and even need to purchase a license for their server to get the benefits (or subscribe to a telco version of the server).

I’ve said it before, that I think the iPhone is the best phone I’ve had. I had a Windows Mobile 5.x and a 6.0 phone, both of which I liked, but I had hardware issues. Actually I had a Dash that was too fragile for life on a ranch. After breaking 3 of them, I moved to a Sidekick. That worked, but it was an older, antiquated interface (I had a Sidekick 3) and didn’t serve my purposes that well for the modern techie.

Then I got a G1, the first Android phone on the market. I thought that was much better than Windows Mobile, and the phone itself was more durable. I liked the interface, and thought that the touch screen was very handy. Over time I found myself using the virtual keyboard instead of the physical one.

However then I got an iPhone. I had a chance to get one for free and jailbreak/unlock it, so I did and I loved it. The main thing that prompted me to move was that I had been reading on my iTouch and listening to music, both of which did not work well on my G1. For one thing I didn’t have an easy way to sync itunes and the G1, and there weren’t any bookstores with reading apps for the G1. I had hoped Barnes and Noble would build one, but as of the time I’m writing this, they still haven’t.

The iPhone, while the hardware and software is closed by Apple, still allow lots of apps to be distributed. I know the Google Voice thing got them upset, but I think that was more an ATT issue than an Apple one. Yes, with a more open OS it might not have been blocked, but the networks still might have prevented the packets from going to Google Voice.

Windows Mobile is controlled by Microsoft and while you can install apps on your phone, they don’t have a good storefront from which to get apps, nor is there support or backing. In fact, when I had a phone and had issues, the carriers refused to talk about problems there. Maybe things have changed there, but when working with T-Mobile, they were more than happy to help me get it working and even offer advice.

Android has lots of apps, but the lack of a mature store was something I noticed right away, especially away from the phone. I don’t want to do everything on the phone because it’s just hard. The iTunes/iPhone integration is smooth, I can buy from either interface and have things synced without my doing anything more than plugging in my phone.

Perhaps I have some Stockholm Syndrome, but from what I’ve seen so far, the iPhone is just a more mature platform right now. I don’t expect that to change in 2010, but I bet by 2011 that Android, and perhaps Windows Mobile will copy a lot of the iTunes features and we’ll be back to buying phones more on price because all the features will be available on all platforms.

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