ON MONDAY we suffered through the shameless spectacle of another Apple product launch.
Steve Jobs, the Liberace of the tech world, showed off the latest Iphone 4 smartphone with the idea that it will replace his stonklingly successful 3G gizmo. However here are ten reasons why buying an Iphone 4 is not a good idea.
1. Most of the problems associated with living in Apple's walled garden are still not fixed. You are still too dependant on having Steve Jobs decide what you can download and when. Since Jobs thinks that Adobe Flash is bad and won't allow it on Apple devices, you can't see half of what's out on the web.
2. The name implies that it is a 4th generation mobile phone when it is actually still 3G. Apple says that it is the Iphone 4, however some might be dumb enough to believe that it can use the 4th generation wireless broadband standards, although it really can't.
3. The Iphone 4 appears to have trouble with WiFi. Apple is historically quite bad at engineering WiFi products that work. Many of its flaws have been related to Airport. When Jobs attempted to show off the Iphone 4 yesterday the WiFi did not not work. Jobs claimed it was because there were too many people using WiFi in the Moscone conference centre, but we have to take his word for that. The Apple Ipad has a similar problem in that you have to be practically sitting on a wireless router for it to get a decent WiFi connection. This is ironic as the Iphone 4 has a stainless-steel band around the outside edge that Apple says is designed to improve WiFi network reception, but it still doesn't seem to work very well.
4. The Iphone 4 is selling on its video-calling program, called FaceTime. However this is limited to WiFi networks for now, which means that the best thing about the Iphone 4 will not work in most locations unless you happen to be near a WiFi hot spot. Also you can only conference with other Iphone 4 users.
5. The Iphone 4, while thinner, still has that easy to slip out of your hands shape. This means that you have to buy those covers which bulk the thing out again. It also still has a plastic back which can be scratched and break.
6. A 16GB model is priced at $199, and a 32GB version will sell for $299. The markups on the devices are outrageous. The monthly charges on contracts are higher than with other smartphones because not only are the network operators subsidising Apple's ridiculously high prices for the devices, but Apple also demands a cut, said to be up to 30 per cent, of users' monthly charges, further driving up the cost.
7. Judging by Apple's previous behaviour the Iphone 4 will be out of date within a year, although most mobile phone contracts are for two years.
8. Something more Androidish in a smartphone does more for the same price, without the Apple lock in.
9. The Iphone 4 is built by Chinese wage-slaves working 12-hour shifts in conditions that have led to a rash of suicides, and Apple has called police to suppress freedom of the press. While the Iphone 4 is not 'less moral' than the Iphone 3G, users now have less excuse to turn a blind eye to how the product is made.
10. It uses Bing instead of Google for Internet search. µ