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7 Ways iPhone CANNOT Replace Your Home Computer

January 29th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

In his post on eWeek titled The iPhone Has Replaced My Home PC, Cameron Sturdevant writes:

Will a generation that has grown up with high-powered smartphones but is confronted with either unemployment or low-wage jobs make a choice between a smartphone with a healthy dose of data plan and cable/DSL-based broadband Internet access?

Cameron claims that he would abandon his PC in favor of his iPhone except for one thing: “Netflix. I am completely addicted to the ‘watch instantly’ feature that allows me to view a movie on-demand.” Is that all?

Yes, the iPhone can replace your home computer for plenty of tasks like email, browsing and multimedia, but there are some things you still need a computer for.

Here are 7 things your computer can do that your iPhone can’t:

  1. Word processing. Yes, you could type out long documents on your iPhone’s touchscreen keypad, but you would sure lose a lot of time.
  2. Copy & paste. Besides a few primitive workarounds, you can’t copy & paste on the iPhone, a much-needed feature that’s reason enough not to get rid of your computer.
  3. Open more than 8 tabs. If you’re like me, you open a lot of tabs when you’re browsing. If you’re doing research, this can be especially helpful for improving productivity. You can’t, however, open more than 8 windows in iPhone’s Safari app. Even if you could, iPhone’s Safari crashes pretty easily, so it’s not very reliable for heavy browsing.
  4. Undo. Ever hold the backspace key on your iPhone for too long, accidentally erasing a whole paragraph of text? Or have you deleted something unintentionally? Unlike your computer, the iPhone has no Undo function that provides a safety net against these kinds of mistakes.
  5. Edit multimedia. If you like to edit your photos in Photoshop, or you make movies with Final Cut, then getting rid of your home computer is a bad idea. You can’t edit multimedia on your iPhone.
  6. Render Flash & Java. Ever go looking for some info on your iPhone, only to realize the website you need is made with Flash or Java and you can’t access it on your iPhone? You need a computer (or another phone) to run Flash and Java.
  7. Support plugins & add-ons. You can enhance a lot of software to suit your needs with plugins and extensions, like iTunes plugins, Firefox Add-Ons and Greasemonkey scripts. While you can improve your iPhone in general with apps from the App Store, you can’t improve any of iPhone’s apps themselves with plugins.

Yes, the iPhone could be improved to eventually include these features, but for the time being, they are my reasons for not ditching my computer in favor of my iPhone.

What do you think?

Could you see yourself abandoning your home computer and just using your iPhone instead? Let us know in the comments why you think the iPhone could or could not replace your home computer.

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