The 'dead zone': iPhone screen fails

After five short months and a bike ride in the rain, my touch screen gives out and texting is no longer feasible. The problem is solved relatively quickly, though.

You would think the iPhone's touch screen--the hallmark of the whole dang thing--would last for more than five months. Well, think again.

After a particularly wet bike ride on Saturday here in the Bay Area, my iPhone got somewhat damp. (You know, the type of rain that soaks through a coat but doesn't ruin anything.) After the ride, I wanted to text people and noticed the top row of the text keyboard was not responding. I had to press, no squish, down to get a letter. And the cursor would flip out. And the screen looked bad when I did so, just like when you press down on an LCD screen too hard.

After a reset, power-cycle and testing out different touch-based functions (aren't they all?), I was convinced I needed to get help at the Apple store. I made an appointment online for the next day. (All the Saturday appointments were gone by the time I looked online.)

The next day, I found out I wasn't the only one who had a "dead zone" on their screen. The guy next to me at the Genius Bar had the same problem. After attempting a restore, the Apple clerk (who asked me to write that customer service was fast and efficient--it wasn't) brought out a white box (a coffin I thought?) with a new iPhone in it. The clerk said Apple would exchange my phone, and there'd be no charge. It was exactly as I had expected.

The clerk swapped my SIM card out, with a pin conveniently stored in his name tag, and I was on my way, after half an hour.

What surprised was was how all of my settings had been "restored"--ringtones, photos, SMS messages, IMAP settings. The iPhone was activated by AT&T in seconds, the transfer of all the junk on my iPhone took about 30 minutes. Not too bad.

The downsides: the process was a bit of a pain and the restore missed a few pictures I took. (I have to re-assign all the pictures to particular contacts again.) Also, it's a little distressing that such an integral feature failed after five months. The clerk who helped me did say that the technology was very new, and that, as an early adopter, I should have expected as such.


About the author

    Kevin Ho is an attorney living in San Francisco. He's from Iowa originally where he got his first Atari computer when he was little and remembers using the Apple IIGS. He is PC-user but secretly a Mac person in the closet as evidenced by many an iPod cluttering his desk drawers. He'll be writing about his experience with the iPhone. Disclosure.


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