I used to love my iPhone, because it kept me all up-to-date and synced. See – on my mac, Address Book and iCal were fully matched up to my calendar. But then I realized that I really don’t need to sync very often, at first because syncing pre-version 2.1 was painful, but later because it’s just not needed. MobileMe syncs over the air, but I’m not paying $99/yr for that service, especially not after the well covered problems with it, and the fact that I don’t see myself migrating from Gmail anytime soon. IMAP, however, was handling my work mail. When iPhone firmware 2.1 came out, I began immediately using ActiveSync, which easily crawls through port 443 (or 80, I think, if you have no cert) on the firewall. I set it up to handle my email and calendar. Then I realized, now that my calendar was handled by ActiveSync and Exchange, iTunes wasn’t syncing it anymore. And by the way, it was seconds behind live data. And I had to sync my phone even less.
Fast forward a few weeks and I finally decided to sync my contacts. I backed up, then wiped my phone contacts and synced them with Exchange. My contacts all arrived in good shape with their pictures. But now iTunes doesn’t sync Contacts with my iPhone. So the backend is now complex, but only on the Apple side.
On the phone, email, contacts, and calendar are pushed to the phone, often times before they even show up in Outlook itself. I sync my calendar from Outlook to Google and I pull my Google calendar down to iCal, only when I open iCal, since I’m subscribed via an ical file on Google’s servers. I set up Address Book to sync with my Exchange server via the OWA interface that Address Book supports by default, but it only syncs every hour, and only when the Mac is running. So it seemlessly syncs with Windows/Exchange, for free. But it takes several programs to get to the Mac, and then, only once an hour.
I sync less and less these days, but if the iPhone included the ability to sync via Bluetooth or wifi – both of which should be fairly trivial to implement – I’d sync much more regularly and trust my Mac to be the master copy. Instead, due to Apple itself, I rely on Exchange.
All of this makes me wonder if one day in the not too distant future, I’ll be using a phone running Android. After all, if all of my core data is synced elsewhere anyway, why would I want a phone that has no voice dial, can’t do picture messaging, can’t view flash, can’t do copy and paste, doesn’t allow for any wifi syncing, permits apps seemingly at will with no guidelines, gets more closed every month, has shitty battery life, and drops calls randomly? Just because it has a pretty apple on it?