iPhone Missing Needed Applications

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No, iHockey is not one of them. Cool, though, huh?

When the iPhone was unveiled, I had never wanted to own a new gadget as badly. For ten years, all I’ve ever wanted was a Newton with a phone. Suddenly, here was the Apple device to meet that specification. I was overjoyed.

Now, some time has passed, and I’m able to look at things through a more analytical lens. Bathed in the light of reality, it is clearly apparent that, despite everyone’s expectation otherwise, the iPhone is not for me… not yet, anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the device, and I think Apple’s hit a home run here… we’re just waiting to see how far the wind actually carries it. I think it has the potential to change a lot of thinking where smartphone design is concerned, and it makes Windows Mobile look like a joke. The overall concept, design, implementation of the device: I am in love with it. My reticence stems from very specific needs, which are twofold:

  1. The iPhone does not support AOL Instant Messenger.
  2. The iPhone does not feature an AOL Mail client.

The latter shortcoming, I can work around: AOL supports the IMAP protocol, and so does the iPhone’s Mail application.

AIM, on the other hand, is a sine qua non — an application which no smartphone should be without. In fact, no other moderately intelligent wireless mobile device is without it. AIM comes installed on my SideKick 3. It’s readilly available or pre-installed on Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Palm, and Symbian. AIM’s omission on the iPhone, given its iChat presence in Mac OS X, is odd, to say the least.

In fact, it would seem that AOL has been totally snubbed. I find Steve’s remarks about the popularity of Yahoo! and Google mail kinda funny, when AOL is synonymous with Email. We have more AOL Mail users than both of their services put together. Someone needs to reach out to Steve Jobs, and do so with all speed.

So, what do I want, to meet my needs? Well, I’d like an official AOL Mail client, but I can make do with IMAP for that. AIM, on the other hand, has no usable workaround. So, here’s how I’d like to see things implemented: Take that “SMS” app and turn it into “Chat”. Make it a multi-protocol client (SMS, MMS, AIM, Jabber) with the same consistent UI as was demonstrated at the iPhone’s intoduction. Then, I could — would —buy an iPhone at launch.

Now, I just have to find out a bit more about how “closed” the platform really is…

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