Am I totally brain-dead? Or am I just getting old and no longer able to cope with technology?
Probably both. Whatever the answers, these questions popped into my addled mind this morning after I’d excitedly updated my iPhone’s software from 2.1 to 2.2. “Excited” is perhaps too strong a word, but I was hoping for some new iPhone features to play with for 10 mins or so.
I’d heard about street view coming to the iPhone. Although we don’t yet have this for UK cities, it’s still fun to play around with. So where was this bright new iPhone future? I mean, you go into maps… and… no new buttons. Nothing saying ‘press for street view’, no options saying ‘turn on street view’.
Apple’s site in fact proudly announces the arrival of street view to the iPhone. There are photos of it there, and it’s working on their demo phone. What about on my phone?! I was clearly missing something obvious and had just become an Old Man overnight.
So after half an hour of searching on google I find some blog somewhere mentioning something about dropping a pin and pressing a tiny red man somewhere. Huh? The plot thickens.
Surely this can’t be true? Have Apple gone mad?
“Oh yes it is”. And “oh yes they have”.
Really, it’s true. To use a lovely new built in feature like Google Street View on your iPhone you actually have to arse around with a pin thing and a tiny icon of a red man that only appears when you drop the pin. Even worse, you have to press a button to get to the page which lets you drop a pin. And then press another button to drop the pin.
One… two… three…
So that’s three button presses to get to street view? None of the steps are at all obvious. And pressing that little red man icon thingy? Yes, that’s really obvious…
Apple have clearly ditched any attempt to make interfaces intuitive in favour of making it a requirement to read an explanation first. This is the kind of thing some crazed nerd might do. Not Apple. Not the company that Jef Raskin once worked for. Not the makers of OSX and the iMac and the original iPod.
Phew… rant over. Sorry.
Well, not quite. That other new feature: podcast live downloads. In principle it’s simple: you search for a podcast on the go, download it, then listen to it. Nice idea. Trouble is – again – that the user interface is just bizarre.
You enter podcast mode in the iPod app. Press a “get more episodes…” button which takes you to a different app, where you download the podcast or search for something different.
There are some nagging questions though:
- How do I get out of podcast app and back to iPod? Hmmm, press the Home button and press on iPod. Not brilliant design really.
- And how do you delete old unwanted podcasts that you just downloaded? Well, you don’t. Unless of course there’s some other hidden icon of a red man or you have to guess some combination of button presses.
All in all, Apple’s tried to add in a few new features with the 2.2 update. They’re nice features, but just a bit weird and poorly thought out.
Expect 2.2.1 fairly soon because unless my brain really has died, surely others will be asking the same questions and wanting answers.