User expectations vs. iPhone limitations

We’ve touched on this before in the blog but I thought it was worth covering again. As a developer you soon discover – via feedback and reviews on the App Store – that your average user knows very little about the iPhone…

If you’re reading this then you’re not an average user. Most iPhone users don’t read Apple blogs or magazine articles about software development kits and have no idea about background tasks or memory leaks. They just want an app that works and does what they think it should do.

And that’s the problem – people think the iPhone should be able to do a lot more than it does – they don’t realise that as developers you have to work within the device’s limitations. It’s not unreasonable of them to expect some of these features but it does hurt when you consistently see people marking you down in a review for not doing something that’s impossible to do!

A typical comment runs along the lines of ‘I’ve only given you 3 stars because you can’t do XY&Z – if you fix this, I’ll give you 5 stars’. And to compound it, there’s no way of getting in touch with them to say that ‘XY&Z is obviously not possible because don’t you think we’d have done it if it was?’

I’m sure every developer has their own list of features they wanted to include in their app but then discovered they were unable to implement. For us, the most common complaints are:

Alerts – Users expect Done to be able to alert them about things to do – the calendar app does and so did their Palm Pilot so why can’t Done?

Wallpapers – Done users expect the app to be able to apply and update their wallpaper automatically.

Photo Albums – PhotoFrame users want to be able to point the app at one of tehir albums rather than have to manually import them a picture at a time.

Launch times – get rid of the splash screen so we can get straight into the app. The splash screen is their to disguise the launch time not cause it…

iTunes music – Why can’t I pick a tune from my iTunes library to use as an alarm?

Short of peppering each app description in the App Store with comments such as ‘we wanted to do this but found out we couldn’t so we’ve had to implement this stupid workaround’, I’m not sure what the answer is – any suggestions?

2 Responses to “User expectations vs. iPhone limitations”

  1. Scott Says:

    Specifically for Photoframe – will this be possible with 3.0?

    Photo Albums – PhotoFrame users want to be able to point the app at one of tehir albums rather than have to manually import them a picture at a time.

    • chillix Says:

      Hi Scott

      I’m afraid not 😦

      We’re looking at other ways round the problem – maybe letting you save predefined sets of pictures…

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