iPhone: The readers speak

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Meeting the iPhone

I was surprised at one major omission from your review of the iPhone (“Meet the iPhone,” September 2007 ): its lack of a voice-dialing feature. I love the look and the interface, but for those of us who often have to make calls while on the road for business, the inability to place a call simply by speaking the number or the contact’s name is a serious weakness. Until I can make a call without taking my hands off the wheel (as you can with most other new phones), I’ll have to hold off.— Chris Watson

In your review of the iPhone, you didn’t mention its biggest negative: you can’t replace the battery by yourself, and Apple rips you off $75 to do it. (And you don’t have a phone until Apple ships it back.) I’ll wait to buy the iPhone until I can change my own battery, thank you.— Bob Kocher

It is amazing that with all the ink you used on your iPhone coverage, you left out the biggest drawback to the iPhone: its [cell phone] carrier. Apple needs to open the iPhone to work with other carriers. Until it does, there will be many potential consumers (like me) who will reject the iPhone, no matter how many bells and whistles it has.— Doug Lindsay

Please don’t get me wrong. I love my new iPhone. I think it is worth every penny. However, I disagree with something you said in your September issue: “It’s also a full-featured iPod.” Not true. My iPod (an old, second-generation model) includes EQ and voice memos, and can accept files as an external hard drive; the iPhone doesn’t and can’t. You also quoted a buyer as saying “Today, I’ve got three things in my pocket. Tomorrow, I’ll have one.” Again, not true for me. The iPhone is missing critical PDA features; you can’t, for example, search for items in Calendar, Contacts, and Notes. The iPhone’s potential is exciting, but it won’t be a valid PDA replacement until it at least includes some way to search.— Joe Belotte

I read John Gruber’s Spotlight column about the iPhone in your September edition (“The New Frontier,” September 2007) with incredulity. His contention that a mouse is more precise than my fingers made me snort with derision. Unlike John, I have a lot of respect for my fingers. I think they’re fabulously precise. And they should be: nature’s been working on them for a few billion years (a bit longer than Steve Jobs and his team have been working on the Mac graphical interface). My mouse provides me with the equivalent of a single fingertip, with which I am expected to do everything. This is worse than inadequate—it’s hopelessly limiting.— Colin Bisset

Quicken pros and cons

While Quicken for Mac (“Smart Money,” September 2007 ) is probably an adequate program for most people, it is simply inadequate for small business use. You didn’t mention the most useful alternative: running Quicken Home and Business (available only for Windows) in Parallels. It’s a perfect combination: I can bring a terrific accounting system over to my machine of choice, the MacBook Pro (and I can finally get rid of my last PC).— Dan Beach

The author actually did make that very suggestion in the original draft of his story, but we cut it for space reasons. Apologies for the omission.—Dan Miller

I was surprised to see that you recommended Quicken Home Inventory in your otherwise good feature about Quicken tricks. In my experience, Quicken Home Inventory is a complete piece of junk. It is mind-numbingly slow and it constantly crashes. I do not understand why Intuit ever released this program.— Will Windham

I was disappointed not to see In2M’s Web-based accounting program Mvelopes Personal included in “8 Great Quicken Alternatives.” Mvelopes is based on the envelope method of budgeting, in which you set aside money for expenses in virtual envelopes—a proactive way to make sure your money goes where you intend before you spend it. Mvelopes is a subscription service, but it’s inexpensive (about $11 a month) and offers a free 30-day trial. I’ve tried many of the apps mentioned in your article, and for interface and features, I like Mvelopes best.— Frank Piacitelli

After converting to the Mac (thank goodness) after 25 years of using PCs, I found that Quicken for Mac made a mess of my Quicken for Windows data files. But Reilly Technologies’ Moneydance ($30) made the conversion flawlessly. I have found it a very easy and intuitive program to use, complete with automatic daily updates of stock and mutual fund prices. I’m sorry, but Gina Trapani missed the boat on this one—Moneydance is easily a “top 8” financial program alternative to Quicken.— Joe Henderson

I recently went through the (surprisingly difficult) process of finding a replacement for the venerable MacMoney (which, alas, never made the transition to OS X). I evaluated several of the apps you reviewed, but the one I ultimately chose was conspicuous in its absence. Nano Software’s Accounts ($35) is an inexpensive, elegant double-entry accounting application. It has some features (such as numbered accounts) and a few limitations (no linking to online accounts) that might not suit all users. But it offers the essentials of personal or small-business accounting with simplicity and aplomb.— Steven Naylor

Where’s my Mac?

In “GPS for the Mac” ( Mobile Mac, September 2007 ) you say, “I’ve tested Garmin’s MapSource software on Parallels, with a handful of current Garmin GPS units, and it worked just fine.” This might have been true before the latest Parallels upgrade, but now a problem with Parallels’ USB drivers keeps the Garmin unit from working with Parallels. This happens with several hardware combinations and there’s no workaround.— Sami Kulju

You might want to also mention the excellent GPSNavX ($60; gpsnavx.com) software, which I’ve used for years. For marine navigation, it’s superior to programs costing hundreds of dollars more.— Loren Beach

I have two Garmin GPS units, the nüvi 350 ($537) and GPSMap 76CSx ($482). The 350 has been very simple to use with my Mac; it shows up as a mass storage device, so it’s simple to drag things into and out of it. The 76CSx, on the other hand, has been a real pain. I attempted to load maps onto it from Windows XP Pro (via Parallels Desktop 2.0) on an Intel Mac Mini with no luck.— Mark Winchester

A modest proposal

In his September 2007 column ( From the Editor’s Desk ), Jason Snell noted that Macworld is “a magazine focused on everything Apple—not just the Mac.” Here is an idea: Apple recently changed its name to Apple Inc. since it now does more than just computers. Perhaps it’s time to change the name of your magazine to AppleWorld. If you want to extend my subscription for a few years for suggesting it, that would be cool.— Dan Losinger

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