Feeds

Sarin to Jobs: your sneakers stink and your GUI sucks

Playground taunts

High performance access to file storage

Vodafone chief Arun Sarin is relishing a fight with Apple's Steve Jobs - and he aims to wound. But it's a throwaway remark the Financial Times published on Monday that caught the attention. It was surely designed to create maximum personal offence.

The iPhone offers the user a "a pretty poor experience", said the boss of the world's biggest phone network.

Can this be right? Jobs regards himself as a Prophet of the user experience, whose wisdom is then perverted by charlatans. Apple's multitouch UI for the iPhone has been described as the biggest advance in usability since the Mac.

It's hard to see what Sarin could have said that was more calculated to offend. Well, he could have said that Jobs didn't appreciate the beauty of good typography, or that the Mac had always had too many buttons: but these are easily refutable.

So the corporate dick-measuring contest between Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile phone operator, and Apple, gets personal.

(After this metaphor, dear reader, count yourselves lucky that we don't employ the kind of extremely literal-minded art director employed by one US business weekly. The magazine illustrated its story about the wheels coming off the iPhone bandwagon last week with an picture of an iPhone. With wheels. That were coming off.)

But does Sarin have a point?

It's unthinkable to American iPhone fans, where silent sobriety rules, and iPhones are contemplated in the Zen-like silence their inventor surely intended. But he might just be onto something.

Having used both implementations of multitouch on the market - the iPhone and the iPod Touch - I can safely say that the breakthrough UI suits the "viewing device" much better than the phone. The Touch is quite sensational - how could a simple music player be any better?*

Why does the iPhone then not do so well, on a device that's essentially the same? It's in how you use it. Europeans and Japanese users simply do a lot more texting than Americans - where few people over 25 have ever got into the habit. And entering text - which is rarely needed on the Touch - is the iPhone's Achilles Heel (tipping the iPhone into landscape model may fix this - a larger keyboard should appear here in landscape mode, but doesn't. Entering text in landscape on the Nokia N800's "huge"-sized keyboard really isn't a chore).

Nor is that the full story. A PoP (Plain Old Phone) is simply better in what we might call "adverse situations" - such as making a phone call from a tree while trying to rescue a cat, while driving... or being bladdered.

The coming few weeks will tell.

Britons spend December in a foggy cloud of Christmas Parties, work booze-ups - and then into the final straight of the holiday break itself: family get togethers in which reality is best tempered by even more alcohol. The whole country, I noticed when I returned for my first British December in years, looks like a bouncy castle.

Trying to text with an iPhone in such situations makes you want to chuck it against a wall. It isn't a fatal flaw. But it's splendidly ironic that Californians have designed a device based around "motion" - that requires the human to be perfectly upright and still.

Round here, what are the chances of that happening? ®

Slurred words to the author here please.

*Bootnote With internal stereo speakers, of course. The only practical Touch drawback.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.