In the future you will have to use a really bad spell checker

In the blog post titled Twitter! Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! Eric Sink said:

Fast forward to today.  Computers, by and large, are still designed for geeks.  This is why we all buy T-shirts that say "No, I will not fix your computer".  The genius of the iPad is that it cannot get things like viruses.  It is a closed platform.  You can't put apps on it.  You can't write and distribute software for it without Apple's permission.  This is why geeks hate it and normal people will love it.

He think that the future consumer computer will be an iPhone-like closed system, that people will love it because it’s simple to use – I don’t think so.

I’ve got an iPhone, it’s an amazing device, It’s really fun to use and the app store is filled with all sort of weird and fun apps

… But …

I got a smartphone because I wanted a way to use e-mail when I’m away from my PC, I was worried about the on-screen keyboard but I wasn’t worried at all about the mail software, after all the app store as an app for anything imaginable so if there’s any problems with the built in e-mail software some enterprising software developer is bound to make a lot of money fixing it.

The on-screen keyboard is actually very good compared to what you can get at that size – so no problems there - but the iPhone e-mail software has two fatal problems it doesn’t have a spam filter and the spell checker is really bad.

So, I went to the app store and looked for a spam filter and a spell checker – and I discovered the major drawback of a closed system – Apple doesn’t allow apps that extend other apps – so there’s no spam filters or spell checkers that plug into the built in mail software, they also don’t allow replacements of built in apps – so there’s no complete mail clients that fix those problems.

The workaround for spam filtering is to route all your e-mail into a service that does spam filtering (like g-mail) I don’t like it but at least its seamless.

The workaround for spell checking is to use a special spell checking app to write your e-mail and the built in app to read your e-mail (and god knows how you’re supposed to reply) – I find this completely unacceptable.

Apple – in their infinite wisdom – has produced a spell checker that doesn’t even tell me if what I wrote has typos or not (I guess Steve Jobs either knows how to spell or doesn’t write e-mail) and Apple has decided I have to use this completely brain-dead spell checker – and that I should be thankful that I’m allowed near the wonderful iPhone in the first place.

The app store is full of crazy and fun apps – but if the app you need is against Apple completely arbitrary and subject to change without notice rules you are out of luck.

My guess (and hope) is that after “normal people” mail boxes are overwhelmed by spam, they’re mail messages get full of typos and they can’t open a file from the internet because it’s not in an Apple-approved format they will put the iPad in the bottom of a cabinet with all the other devices they never use (bread-maker anyone?) and decide that open and useful beats limited and simple (remember AOL vs. the Internet?).

I know the next time I get a new cell phone it won’t be an iPhone.

posted @ Tuesday, April 6, 2010 11:21 AM

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