iPhone: Experience and Conclusion

Someone may say “Never say never”. Those ones, either have not used the iPhone within the mobile operators networks in the Czech Republic, or do have so much time and enthusiasm to spend money like water for overpaid mobile services and act as an unpaid beta-tester for Apple. None of the above described am I…

Apple iPhone Design and Compatibility

The first smart phone, I experienced, was a Symbian-based Samsung i8910 (Omnia HD), the first smartphone able to capture 720p footages. The phone was great, I liked it, but the iPhone mystery made me buy it. I did not regret its high price. To be honest, the iPhone 4S with iOS 6.1.3 was flawless and perfect in every way — the manufacturing quality, the speed, no spontaneous restarts/crashes (known from *droid phones), the applications (validated before uploaded to the Apple Store), the design of the iOS environment (embossed and focused on maximum detail), the photos and footages it was able to capture, and finally, the Retina display resolution, the smoothness while scrolling I have never seen before.

Of course, I did not like the iTunes software (to upload music/videos I have had from different origins), but I did get used to that despite such fascist policy. All of a sudden, with the upcoming release of iOS 7, the problems became to appear…

Apple Store Unavailability and Scrolling Resets

It started with the unavailability of the Apple Store — the virtual environment and the only way to buy new applications (for money or for free). Time to time, in evenings particularly, it was impossible to get in. Moreover, when finally scrolling down through an items list and selecting one, returning back did reset the search to the first item. After a few days of picking over the online forums and discussions, I figured out that it will be fixed after the official iOS 7 is released. It took about five months to be able to install the official iOS 7 release, and get rid of this issue.

iOS 7

Let’s put away the discussions whether the flat design is a step front or a step back. Some people like it, some do not. However, it obviously looks cheap now.

Impossibility to Change the Search Engine

It’s the 21st century, but Apple denies its customers to modify the default search engine in Safari. The customers are forced to still use the 3 “big brothers” then (i.e. Google, Yahoo! or Bing). Full integration of a different browser, such as Chrome or Opera (Mozilla Firefox still struggles with Apple’s restrictions), thus still remains a dream only. Why it reminds me of G. Orwell’s 1982?!

Update: In iOS 8, users received a fourth option duckduckgo. So the customers are still denied to freely decide themselves anyway.

Retina Display

Anyway, what has the new design completely denied is the Retina display. The resolution is not utilized anymore. The senseless spaces between elements, everything zoomed to max, unnatural shine of the white causing eye strains, etc. Most of that, what was the original iOS about, vanished. Right, there is a possibility to lower the size of the fonts, but look at the calendar. Originally, the screen was filled with information. Now, there are 3 rows with tons of space among them. I always think of Apple managers became old and have sight problems now. Obviously, it is just an unproved theory.

Calendar

Many discussions appear on the Internet, on the apple.com sites particularly. Some may say, that teaching an old dog new tricks is not easy, but that is groundless. The new calendar is graphically a step back and replacing it with a third party app is not a good remedy nor a good advertisement for Apple designers and developers.

Calendar

Since July 2014, a never-subscribed calendar started to appear in the “Other” section of my iPhone calendar. First, it was a “HK Holidays” calendar. After a few days, it spontaneously changed to a “Canadian Holidays“. Both pretending as “Subscribed”. The iPhone has never been jailbroken. I have not subscribed to any of the holidays, nor any application have done that. Moreover, these calendars cannot be removed from the iPhone. Dear Apple, you are a bunch of !@#$%^&* amateurs!

Update: As a side effect, after I downgraded from iOS 8.0 back to 7.1.2, the foreign calendars are no longer present in my iPhone. Hallelujah!

Daylight Saving Time

Another problem that repeats since ever, is issues with daylight saving time. The line indicating the current time is displaced by one hour in the calendar app, despite displaying the correct time beside the line and in the system notification bar.

(In)sufficient Memory

After upgrading to iOS 7, it was the first time I have experienced spontaneous crashes of applications such as Safari, Mail, Calendar, and many of the 3rd party apps (I got the logs from: “General -> About -> Diagnostic & Usage” section info). I do not think this is multitasking…

Trust This Computer

In iOS7, the Apple developpers finally woke up and implemented a security measure to prevent theft of personal information from iPhones by malicious computers. As usually, a crApple feature emerged. iPhone/iPad users are unable to manage the list trusted/untrusted devices as it is “hidden somewhere in the mist of iOS7”. The only “manage-way” is by the resetting the system settings. Moreover, users experience repetitive pop-ups of this message each time they connect their device to the same previously approved device via a original Apple cable (not some third party). What a mess!

FaceTime and iMessages

The FaceTime and iMessages function is generally a great idead how to send messages via IP-based networks. Apperently, this idea is not shared by the mobile operators as it completely reduces their revenues. Whatever, most of the providers defend themselves they do not filter or cripple such traffic at all. Most of the VoIP users already experienced that such traffic is really unreliable and useable in a very limited way when routed via the mobile IP core network. The reason was already stated — revenue. Again, some of the iPhone users become stuck with “Waiting for activation” message after they tried to register their iMessage/FaceTime function. This issue repeats since ever (not necessary based on the iOS 7 release) nor related to a specific mobile operator.

The extreme situation occured in the Czech Republic with the mobile operator Vodafone. The FaceTime service did not register at all. However, the mobile operator charged the users for the international SMSs (UK destination: 00447786205094). The Apple helpdesk claimed that the Vodafone service was responsible. The Vodafone CZ helpdesk claimed it was Apple’s fault. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Fortunately, in a deafening silence, the charges were nullified. At least something.

Update: I experienced that after some time the FaceTime service cannot register again. I paid two international SMSs again with “Waiting for activation” result.

I cannot prove whether it’s Vodafone’s or Apple’s fault. Apparently, it is not a problem related to the Czech Republic only. The same can be found on the Apple forums and obviously it is taking years with no solution to appear.

Update: iOS 7.0.3 should have updated iMessage issues. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that. It’s really a crApple product and/or service.

The Sooner You Do the Update, the More Problems You Get

Many of Apple users looked forward to test the new official release of iOS. They downloaded it as soon as available. During the first few days, several security and other issues were disclosed. The unpaid beta-testers, the users paying high prices for the Apple products revealed security vulnerabilities which had not been disclosed by the Apple developers. That looks like a mockery to all the Apple community, a spit in their face. No one can excuse such act differently as the beta version had been tested for several months. It is a general fact that during the first month after the first release, 2 updates have been release and everybody anticipates the 7.0.3.

Analogous problems occured with IOS 6 before. Apperently, Apple did not learn a lesson, and its customers have always been free beta-testers. Shame on Apple, or shame on them? Time to start thinking.

I can confirm that such (considered) a high quality (luxury?) and (obviously) a high price device and software can have bugs of such kind after it is officialy released, and that its customers will be those to disclose them. I do not accept that…

Update: iOS 8 confirmed the above implications: Over and over, Apple pretends to provide a brand new shiny blahblah iOS while leveraging its customers as beta testers for free. Now, I can clearly see it (14 days after iOS 8 release there is a 8.0.2 update).

Mail Messages (No Sender) No Subject

A different strange thing happen time to time when opening emails. The first two or three emails display in a list correctly. However, the rest of them is depicted as “(no sender) no subject“. This problem is older than Methuselah.

Google Calendar Invites Sharing

Since the beginning of iOS, time to time people claim that they cannot share invites from Google calendar with other people. Unfortunately, I was one of them. Two iPhones 4S within the family, both bought within a few months and one of them is working, one of them not. The only workaround usable was to use iCloud email address for sharing instead of the google one. Apple claims it has been Google’s fault, and Google claims it has been Apple’s fault. Useful solution cannot be found for several years…

Gmail account greyed out in mail solution seems to be: input imap.gmail.com as IN server and smtp.gmail.com as OUT.

Missing “Reject Call” Button

With iOS 7.x, the on-screen feature to reject an incomming call simply vanished. Users can only use the lock (hard) button on the top of the device. Whoever “invited such feature” shall be seriously punished…

Jailbreak

Since iOS 7.x, the jailbreak is not as useful as it was before. I can provide the phone with some other features like icons change, ringtones change and some “cracked” apps. The USB-host feature did not work for me either way, so I was not able to upload music otherwise than the old clumsy iTunes method… What I don’t like is that Cydia software, designed to manage the trird party packages, provides apps that are not supported by iOS 7.x (only 6.x), I don’t get it since it uses the well know Debian-based “APT tool”. Moreover, the device does not become fully cracked such as “root-ed” *droid phones. As a prerequisity, the phone has to be completely reset into factory defaults and consequently after the jailbreak is successful, restore everything from the iCloud again. I understand that for some people, this can be a worthy process, but for me it is not…

Hints and Solutions

In the very most cases, the customers are advised to either turn their device off/on or Settings > General > Reset (Scroll Down) > Reset All Settings or both. It reminds me of IT Crowd. But that is not what did the customers pay for, is it? … is it?! … is … it!!!

iOS 8

Here we go, a new iOS 8.0 is out. It may sound as great news, but it would not be Apple to screw this up… again.

First, even thought iPhone 4S is officially supported, people experience substantial decrease in phone performance. Unfortunatelly, I experience the same. I understand that the HW can be obsolete, but why the hell it is on the supported devices list!

Second, users expectedly received some “brand new” features most of which have been used for several years by users of rival mobile OS vendors. Apparently, Apple is not the features leader anymore.

Third, Apple forces users to listen to U2. I understand that some people like it. I personally like some songs of them, but come on, having the new album in iTunes list without an option to remove it? Sure, now I have the link. LOL, in 21st century…

Update: The iPhone 4S was purchased with iOS 6. After a year, a new iOS 7 was introduced. After the second year, a new iOS 8 was introduced. Even though 4S has been officially supported, it is laggy. Obviously, another update of iOS will not support 4S. Consequently, HW needs to be upgraded every two years, as per the experience. What a hypocrisy!

Hardware Repair (WiFi Grayed Out)

Even though I phone proudly states on the back of each device, that it was designed in the USA and manufactured in Chine, the second part of the information “rings the bell” regarding its manufactured quality. Soon after waranty time expiration, WiFi connectivity of the iPhone device “grayed out and unclickable” and suddenly stopped working. Beside official service, the repair process consists of reflowing the Murata SW SS1830010 Wi-Fi chip on the logic board. There’s no quality anymore…

Conclusion

Now I know, how does Apple “treat” its customers and what can of product it provides. Nobody can convince me, that such approach is common in “complex” systems nowadays. I can admit it within cheap and low end/quality systems, but not within products that are assumed to be the top standard.

The new look in the term of utilizing the great Retina display vanished. iPhone 5(s, c, etc.) became “aiFone” — a piece of ill-developed and ill-designed plastic crap with no style at all, which looks like a common *droid phone and somethimes works much worse, including the native apps. The charm of iPhone disappeared. Based on my own experience, it is not worth the price anymore. No additional value at all. Rest in piece Steve, as there is nothing to be currently proud of.

If I would ever think that the above is a tiny problem and Apple is the greatest company in the world, let’s have a look at the current terms (2014):
Apple reserves the right to change content options (including eligibility for particular features) without notice.

You agree to use the iTunes Service at your sole risk and Apple shall have no liability to you for material that may be found to be offensive, indecent, or objectionable.

Apple reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the iTunes Service (or any part or content thereof) at any time with or without notice to you, and Apple will not be liable to you or to any third party should it exercise such rights.

Yes, a spit in the eye and a kick in the butt as a bonus!

The question is, which device to use instead. I do not want to spend my whole life testing buggy products while paying for them. Hopefully, I will find out soon… Sure thing is, it will not be Apple.

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