Feeds

Sarin to Jobs: your sneakers stink and your GUI sucks

Playground taunts

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.