My summer fling with iPhone

Amy Tiemann's summer with the iPhone has left her with a case of buyer's remorse now that she is locked into a two-year contract.

"Summer lovin'had me a blast. Summer lovin' happened so fast..."

When iPhone came out, I fell hard. I was all ready to sign up as an early adopter. After all, the iPodtops my list as the gadget that has improved my life the most over the the past five years (with TiVO in a close second place). Apple convinced me that the iPhone was the next quantum leap in the digital lifestyle.

Well, now that iPhone and I have been together for a couple of months, I wish I could kick it to the curb like a summer fling. Unfortunately, we're bonded together by a two-year contract. Why hasn't iPhone been the end-all, be-all device I was hoping for?

A lot my problem boils down to the basic impracticality of carrying the iPhone around. As I mentioned in my previous post about my first impressions of the iPhone, it is an awkwardly large, fragile device. I don't feel comfortable throwing it in my backpack when we go to the pool. When I walk the dog in the morning with the iPhone clipped to my belt, it tends to fall off. Even when it's in a protective case, every time I hear that "clunk," I think it's over. I am not sure what AT&T would do if I showed up with my iPhone cracked in two. Would they still hold me to my monthly contract?

It turns out that combining multiple functions into one device isn't always more convenient. For me, a Blackberry Pearl plus an iPod Nano seems to be the best combination. I need basic online access on my smart phone, but I don't browse a lot or compose a lot of e-mail on my Pearl. I either call back, answer e-mails from my desk, or if I am traveling, I have my laptop with me.

There are some situations I can imagine that would make the iPhone a superior device. I would recommend the iPhone if...

...the iPhone's browser and e-mail function mean that you can leave a laptop at home when you would otherwise need to bring one.

...you need to process a lot of voice mail. I really like the visual voice mail navigation that lets you choose any voice mail on the list. The contact management system is also very useful.

....you have a long commute on public transit, or other downtime, when you can watch videos on a regular basis. I could imagine catching up with The Daily Show or other TV shows on the iPhone. But for movie viewing, I would rather buy a DVD and watch it on my laptop. I don't want to shell out 10 to 15 bucks for a movie download that I can't watch on my TV.

The iPhone has one final quirk that really annoyed me. The headphone jack is a recessed just a bit more than normal, so when I tried to plug in my noise-canceling headphones I had brought along on a trip, they did not work at all. The airport gadget store was able to sell me an adapter for $15. I was grateful at the time that there was a way to get it to work but very annoyed that the jack required an adapter at all. Apple should have at least included one in the original package.

So like many a summer fling, the iPhone has left me with a tinge of disappointment. But since I am locked into a long-term relationship, I am trying to make the best of it. Perhaps one day the iPhone will come in handy in ways I have not yet imagined. If this crush manages to grow into true love, I'll be sure to let you know.

 

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