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Just a Peek
An iPhone! Finally!
Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 4:00 PM - by Vern Seward
There I am, driving through a torrential downpour while crossing a bridge a few miles east of Mobile Alabama, on my way to a wedding (my niece on my wifes side of the family) when my ancient RAZR vibrates.
I always check the numbers nowadays because telemarketers (who arent supposed to use computerized calling to call cellphones) call every so often, seemingly just to irritate anyone silly enough to answer. The number was not familiar to me, but since it didnt show up as being "Private," I answered.
A nasally voice greeted me. "Mr. Seward, this is Dan (not his real name) at AT&T. We have your iPhone here. Can you come in today?"
It was Friday morning, August 1, a full 2 weeks after I reluctantly ordered my 16 GB black iPhone from AT&T. Reluctant because they gave me bogus info by telling me that Apple could handle my special account. Apple couldnt, of course, and it peeved me mightily to have to go back to these
bozos people to get my phone.
To add insult to the 2 week injury, the guys where I work had pestered me mercilessly about my lack of iPhone.
"Got it yet?"
"No," Id answer in a tone that would stop a charging rhino.
"Hey Vern, got that iPhone yet?"
"Yo! Vern! You got that..."
Also, it seems odd how office conversations seemed to always wind up centered on iPhones and Apple while everyone whips out the latest gen Blackberries and RAZRs.
My only solace was the receipt I had tucked in my wallet that promised, at least on paper, that I owned an iPhone.
A week had gone by and my wife reminded me of the impending wedding trip. While I planned the route we would take I lamented that the trip might be better planned, or at least a lot cooler if I had my iPhone.
I imagined getting lost on some well-rutted dirt road in some forgotten part of Mississippi, where women and children still go bare foot out of necessity and no one has ever heard of Starbucks. In the distance, adding to the cacophony of cricket and frog songs, a banjo, played by some blind kid sitting in a tree, is being plucked lazily, waiting for a city slicker challenge.
Instead of risking my machismo to the whims of the locals I would whip out my iPhone while safe in the air-conditioned mosquito-free comfort of my SUV and have it plot a course for me back to civilization.
If things got really weird I could confidently call in the Marines instead of depending on my wifes archery skillz.
Technology to the rescue. Ned Beatty would be envious.
Days before I was scheduled to go to Ol Miss I told a friend that with my luck AT&T would call me about my iPhone while the vows were being said. Reality, as it turns out, was bad enough.
I picked up my phone the following Monday and Ive had it for a little more than a week now.
Was all the running around, the wanting, and the waiting worth it? Well, yes and no.
First let me state that I really, REALLY like my iPhone. It is everything I had hoped it would be, but...
There are some things that I dont like. These are mostly niggling little annoyances or things I wish were better. Heres my list:
- Battery life is bad in certain circumstances. If fact, I did something, and Im still not sure what, that caused the battery to almost completely drain in 3 hours. I thought the iPhone was off, but every time I fired it up the little battery charge indicator showed less time remaining. The problem seemed to be linked to GPS or 3G usage. I havent used GPS in a while and Ive cut back on 3G web surfing, the battery charge seems OK now. This is probably the most serious issue I have with my iPhone.
- Sometimes an application or a phone call just stops after using it for about 1 minute. This is a weird problem and I noticed it first while making calls. Sometimes, not always, after about 1 minute into a phone call Ill hear 4 beeps and the iPhone will indicate that the call failed. It presents me with the option to reconnect and it usually does, but its very annoying. After reconnecting it always works fine.
I also noticed this with some applications. The app will start up fine, run for about a minute, then the screen will blank and I wind up at the home screen. Restarting the app will work and it wont blank again. Its just the first time using it after turning the device on. Its very annoying.
- When in iPod cover-flow mode the only controls I have is to play or pause the music, the other controls are not on the screen. Some genius thought it would be cool to move the next/previous buttons to the remote. What if I dont or cant use the remote? I have to pick up the iPhone and rotate it vertically get to the controls I want. Silly.
- Earbuds! I cant use them! Worse, I have nothing to replace them with. No vendors Im aware of sells small wired stereo headsets with built-in mic and iPod controls. Very frustrating.
- I cant use most of my iPod charging equipment to charge the iPhone. None of my direct iPod wall and car chargers work with the iPhone. I get a message on the phone that says the charger is incompatible with the iPhone. Now I have to buy all new chargers. My powered speakers with an iPod dock works, however, and thats a good thing.
There are a bunch of things I wish the iPhone would do that it currently does not. For instance, I wish it had better Bluetooth support. I see no reason why I cant use a Bluetooth keyboard with my iPhone, or a Bluetooth stereo headset. Both of these features are available on other devices, but the iPhone wont even recognize a Bluetooth keyboard, and you get no stereo if the Bluetooth headset connects at all. Silly, silly, silly!
So, I finally have an iPhone 3G and I am, for the most part, a happy camper. Life is good.
Vern Seward is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He’s been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.
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