Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Apple Learns From Mistakes Quickly

Apple made iPhone 2.1 update available yesterday (or today - depends on the time zone).  Originally, beta testers had reported push feature for apps.  This feature was meant to be a compromise to developers and users that allows apps to be notified of an event when the app is not running.  For example, if someone were to send the user an AOL IM message and the AIM app is not running, the user would be notified of an in coming message.

So, why is it good that Apple left this out?  Because it's not ready.  Because they want to make sure it works as advertised and does not cause more problems than it fixes.  Well, doesn't every developer do that anyway?  Sure but in light of the MobileMe mess and recent 3G connectivity issues (which may not be Apple fault as third party studies indicate), I think Apple is particularly sensitive to more criticisms and bad press.

So instead of rushing out features, it decides to hold things back a bit.  Take its time and do what the old confident Apple would have done:  doing things at its own pace and when it is confident the products are ready for public consumption.

No doubt, some additional features like directional GPS for the iPhone 3G may have been included in the original plans but were removed in favor of releasing this 2.1 update that brings about an assortment of fixes. So, what features do the new update bring?

  • Squashed bugs and has better security.
  • Less crashes - but still will crash.  It's a true OS after all.
  • Faster backup.
  • Better battery life.
  • Reduced dropped calls - for iPhone 3G only.
  • $9.95 if updating an iPod Touch from version 1.  Free for to 2.0 owners.
  • Genius function.
  • Scientific calculator for the iPod Touch.
  • Better mail management.
  • Microsoft ActiveSync for Push Mail.
  • Better attachment viewing.
  • Updated dictionary and keyboard layouts.
  • Multiple Calendar Capability.
  • Contact Search.
All in all, this is a worthwhile update if you use the above features.  The bug fixes, less crashes, and better security alone may be worth it.  Personally, I've not experience a lot of crashes myself on the iPhone so I can't help you there.

So, what features are left out?  Maybe we'll find out on the next update or next year.  Knowing Apple wants to take its time rolling features and products out is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

I'm hoping Apple competitors like Google, Nokia, and Blackberry have learned from the MobileMe debacle.  If not, they better.  I'm really eyeing the new Android phone and I am not interested in being in Google's Android beta for years and years while my T-Mobile contract is only two.  

Anyway, Apple could be back to releasing products and features when they're ready and on their own timeline.  We may not like waiting but in the end, we know it'll be worth it. 

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