Apple accused of iPhone sex discrimination

No comment from Apple

The LA Times has accused Apple of ignoring the plight of women with its new 3G iPhone, to be launched on July 11.

Its report claims that the 3G iPhone is just as incompatible with women as the original version — in that you can't really use it if you have long fingernails.

The newspaper quotes 39-year-old consultant and lecturer Erica Watson-Currie, who is frustrated that the improvements on the new iPhone didn't solve the fingernail problem — its hard to type on an iPhone if you don't bite your nails.

And the problem also affects people with chunky fingers!

Erica, who says her fingernails are typically between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch long, is demanding that the iPhone includes a Palm Pilot-like stylus.

"Considering ergonomics and user studies indicating men and women use their fingers and nails differently, why does Apple persist in this misogyny?" she told the <i>LA Times</i>.

Unfortunately Erica — quite literally — misses the point. The iPhone's touchscreen responds to the electrical charge emitted by fingertips, so a stylus would be just as useless as a fingernail, although just as likely to break.

The <i>New York Times</i> citing Nielsen Mobile, has predicted that in the future more women than men will use smartphones:

"In the last year the number of American women using smartphones more than doubled to 10.4 million, growing at a faster pace than among men, according to Nielsen Mobile, which tracks wireless trends.

The trend is mirrored in sales of the iPhone. In October, nearly one out of four owners of the iPhone was a woman, according to Nielsen. By March that number rose to one in three."

Apple declined to comment about fingernails and the iPhone, but its former Vice President of World Wide Developer Relations Heidi Roizen says she gets around the fingernail problem by using her thumbs.

"My thumbnail does not hit it," she told the LA Times. But she agrees this doesn't work entirely as "there's barely enough room on the iPhone screen when held vertically".

Roizen is hoping that the iPhone's virtual keyboard will be able to switch into "landscape mode" when she types email so that the keys are wider across the screen.

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Lexton Snol

PC Advisor (UK)
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