Browsing With iPhone Is Abject Faliure

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[ Technology]

"Even the iPhone’s browser can disappoint. It has a version of the Apple Safari browser that doesn’t support Flash, a programming language widely used on Web sites, so users are limited in what they can see on the Web.

And, you pay a lot to experience the pain of surfing the mobile Web. Lewis Ward, an analyst at the International Data Corporation, compares the mobile Web today to AOL before it went with flat-rate pricing in the early 1990s. Most people surf on a pay-per-kilobyte model, which encourages them to surf as fast as they can, he says."

An article out from the New York Times entitled "Mobile Web: So Close Yet So Far" talks about how disappointing the mobile web experience has largely been for consumers thus far.

While I can only speak as one U.S. consumer using one U.S. web based phone (the iPhone), I will chalk the internet browsing experience on my iPhone after several months now as an abject failure.

As much as I love the iPhone, and it is the best mobile phone I’ve ever used, the web browsing on it leaves so much to be desired. AT&T’s sucky "Edge" network is not worth using at all. Unless you are really in a pinch and absolutely must get somethign from the web it simply is not worth using.

When I got my iPhone I thought that browsing the web was one of the big things that I’d be doing with it. I do not do this at all.

A case in point. I whip out my iPhone as I’m heading up the escalator at the West Oakland BART station and try to go to a web page. There is no train at the landing yet. The iPhone fires up like it’s going to load but then it just moves so slow. Maybe a minute later the train arrives. I hop in. My page still has not loaded. The train pulls forward. It’s probably a good half mile and maybe another minute and a half before the train pulls into the tunnel that goes under the Bay (where I lose all internet access). Still no web page loads.

Now I’m under the Bay after about 3 minutes or so of waiting and I’ve given up. After about 5 days in a row of this performance I simply stop trying to use my iPhone on the way to work. This is disappointing because I would like to have read an article on the iPhone on my way to work during the 8 minutes or so I’m under the Bay in the BART tunnel.

While it is true that you can use wi-fi with the iPhone this is kind of stupid. Why? Because in general it’s too much work to screw around trying to find unsecure wifi spots to use. In the few places (like home) where you *know* you have wifi, you don’t need to be on your iPhone when your MacBook Pro is a much more suitable way to browse the web.

Yes, there is the occasional occurrence when you are standing in North Beach and want to call the sushi restaurant to inquire about dinner and you’re willing to wait the 3 minutes plus to get the phone number on your iPhone. But as for general web surfability? I’d rather surf my first ever AOL dial up connection than AT&T’s "Edge" network.

And it’s a big disappointment to me that the iPhone disappoints so much in terms of internet useage as this is something that I was actually very much looking forward to doing with it when I shelled out the $700 to buy it in the first place.

And before you say $700 – $100 (generous rebate gift certificate sort of thing back) = $600 not $700, not in my case. Apple’s "generous" $100 rebate code didn’t work for me in the store when I tried to use it and I’ve yet to get around to trying to figure out who to deal with on that one.


Browsing With iPhone Is Abject Faliure
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  • you suck

    basically go back to your old phone, you arent worthy of the iphone

  • 910-715-5388

    Apparently you’ve never used any other ‘mobile’ browser as you did not discuss comparisons. I have had a Blackberry for years now and am a certified Crackberry user. However, this article describes THAT device’s web surfing not the iPhones!

    My wife, still mad at me for even buying the iPhone, spent the entire 4 hours driving to Charleston ‘surfing’ the web down the highway and she NEVER complained – and now she has her OWN iPhone.

    And no, she is no longer mad at me for buying my own.

  • twr

    I am sorry you are having such a poor experience with your iPhone. Mine works fine with the web. Speeds not nearly as slow as you describe.

  • Sluggo

    You’re disappointed in web browsing on your iPhone? YOU’RE FRICKIN’ UNDERGROUND!

    Maybe you should keep your perspective and not only take into account your selfish little world before you write an article like that.

    Do you get paid for journalism like that? Hope not.

  • anonymous coward

    so the first gripe you have for the iphone is that it doesn’t support flash, ok lets talk about this for a second. have you BEEN to websites lately that USE flash? no wonder all the ISP’s try to upsale their services, its so your beloved FLASH BLOATED webpages load faster. sure, flash is nice. flash is pretty. but in reality all its good for is shooting the ducks or slapping the fat guys belly or creating a PHOTO library.

    Once you finished your moaning about flash, you focused your attention on complaining about the EDGE network. obviously, your more of a photographer than you are a technology guru. wireless web, on ANY carrier, is slow. its the nature of the beast. sure, they use buzz words liks broadband speeds and whatnot, but in reality its only a bit faster than dial up.

    being the studious persion i am, i decided to run a test of some sorts and time how long it took to load THIS article on my iPhone, my Vz Blackberry and my PC. Funny thing, it wouldn’t load on my blackberry. IE just sat there for a long time and then suddenly everything showed up at once on my PC and my iPhone, well took about the same amount of time to load as my PC did, except it rendered parts of the page as they were finished. but hey, maybe its just this site.. or article.

    yes, it is true that you can use wifi. but its “too much work?” Really, its ASKS you to join a network. If its secure, it ASKS you for the password. Oh and guess what, it REMEMBERS the password for future use. imagine that. since wifi isn’t free apparently anywhere in San Francisco i can see how much easier it is to use your macbook.. oh, wait.. mac book PRO. since obviously you like to throw your weight around. i mean, since it ways of joining wifi networks are.. well.. the same.

    so, i guess we’re all entitled to our opinions, but unfortunetly your opinion is poorly slated, ill-informed and about three months to late to be taken seriously. go back to what your good at and take a picture of the iphone and tell us whats wrong with the picture instead of the subject.

  • James

    that’s funny… you can surf the web, including flash pages flawlessly, with any old smartphone post 2003.  I can even download files directly off of webpages, check gmail.com, or even transfer/play/open/stream files directly off of my home network shares via wi-fi.

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  • Guest

    In my opinion iPhone provides the best mobile web browser available today. All other mobile web browsers that I’ve tried are just toys.

  • Guest

    The author wrote:

    “Even the iPhone

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