Recently high profile ZDnet blogger Matt Miller accused Apple of doing the impossible – making the iPhone 3G more unstable than Windows Mobile. Of course this was unfair to Windows Mobile, which is now pretty stable, but it did underline how far Apple landed from its goal of ensuring device stability when it finally opened up its walled garden.
Of course Mr Miller’s experience can easily be dismissed as that of one isolated user, which is why this survey done on the popular Macrumors site is so interesting. Involving more than 100 forum members, the participants were asked how frequently their device needed to be restarted (soft-reset in Windows Mobile parlance). The results were startling and should serve as a cold wake-up call to Steve Jobs.
Around 28% needed to restart at least once per day, 4% more than 3 times per day and 1.5% more than 6 times per day. 2/3 of users needed to do it less frequently than daily, this could range from every second day to never at all. This leaves at least 1/3 of users with a seriously unstable phone. Reports such as spontaneous restarts, inability to answer the phone, and being unable to start 3rd party applications seem particularly rife, and appear to exist even after the latest update to firmware 2.01.
While I can empathize with blighted iPhone users, their experience is what one would expect from users locked into an immature platform. However bearing in mind that the iPhone is a closed system, with Apple responsible for the quality of the hardware, software and even 3rd party software through its app store, the instability of the iPhone is a terrible indictment of Apple’s performance and one can only hope for the sake of its users Apple achieves some semblance of stability in version 3 or 4.