Tuesday, January 09, 2007

As far as Apple's new I-Phone, it's going to be interesting to see how they reconciled the conflict between phone and music player.

With my Treo, if I'm using it as an MP3 player, the headphone jack disables the speaker, so the phone doesn't 'ring'... but it doesn't reset the offical ringer button so the phone doesn't go to vibrate the way it does when the ringer is off. As a result, with no audible ring and no vibrate the only way I know a call is coming in is that the song skips a bit, almost like a bad recording (it's probably a defect in the device but it works out to my advantage). I could also stare at the screen as it does flash when a call comes in, but that's not real practical if I'm not in a position to be constantly staring at the screen (for instance, if I'm using it in the car and have the headphone jack connected to an FM transmitter).

After about the third skip or so, it finally occurs to me what is going on, that I have a call coming in. I then grab the Treo and, not knowing how long I have before the call rolls into voice mail, I immediately hit the answer button on the touchscreen which connects the call. Then, because there's no microphone on my headphones, I also have to rush and yank the headphone cord out of the Treo in order to re-activate the phone's microphone which allows me to say hello before the person calling, not hearing anything, hangs up thinking they've lost the connection. Finally I have to yank the earphones off as talking on the phone while having a useless earphone on is both inefficient and uncomfortable.

As far as the Apple phone goes, imagine someone walking down the street listening to their Ipod. The device has to somehow let them know a call is coming in. Perhaps they'll do so by interupting the song audio and playing a ring tone. And perhaps they have designed the phone so that the phone speakers and microphone work even if headphones are plugged into the headphone jack. But how do they get around having to have the user take their headphones off in order to hear what the other party is saying?

I know Apple has done some nice stuff in the past.... I wonder if they're going to keep their string going... or if the IPhone is where they've finally tried a bridge too far.