How I got my third iPhone: dropping it on its power switch hits a sweet spot

The iPhone's wide-availability may explain why Apple is willing to replace your iPhone more readily.

There comes a point where every early adopter realizes they are no longer really adopting anything unique any more. This happens when a product becomes saturated, more available and more universal. For me, as I've seen over the past few days, that point has come to pass - at least in San Francisco.

Walking around, eating out, and driving around San Francisco, all I see are iPhones. But it's not only the young yupppie/guppie types any more. Rather, there are kids, young professionals, middle-aged folks (not so many older folks though), men, women, white, Black, Latino, Asian, you name it and they are touting an iPhone. Have prices fallen drastically? No. Has that SDKcome out yet? Not in an appreciable way yet. But nonetheless, visual evidence indicates that Apple and AT&T are on their way to selling millions of units this year, even if it's not 10 million.

This would explain, perhaps, why it was so easy for me to get another replacement iPhone when I thought I'd have to buy a new one. Unlike my last iPhone which had a portion of the touch-screen die (cell death is what the Apple rep temred it), this time I dropped my iPhone during a 20-mile training ride for the AIDS LifeCycle. It was my fault, plain and simple. The iPhone still 'worked' in a sense as it powered up and displayed its main menu. After all, it's tough enough to have been rolled over by a semi truck - but it was odd to me that a simple drop would disable it to such a great extent. But nonetheless, to fix this problem, or replace my iPhnne, I thought I'd be out a few hundred bucks. I thought wrong.

Because my iPhone impacted on that single spot, it kept switching off and on, and off, and on with a consistent "No Service" message with an occasional sign of hope from AT&T saying service was found. I toyed around with the idea of being to live with a bi-polar iPhone, but dismissed it.

So, I made an appointment at the nearest Apple Store at Stonestown in San Francisco later that day, and came up with all the possible rationales for them to swap my iPhone out. "It was like this way already. Version 1.1.4 messed up my iPhone. My iPhone was possessed." But all these excuses couldn't hide the fact there was a big 'ol dent and scratch on my iPhone that was clearly my fault. Turns out that was all unnecessary as the clerk took a look, noted the issue and muttered something about the iPhone being useful for "research."

With that, I wasn't going to ask any more questions nor say anything And, in less than 10 minutes, I had a 'new' refurbished iPhone in hand. This time I bought a plastic cover for it and promised it that I wouldn't drop it. I walked out wondering what the terms of the warranty were. Would I have really been forced to buy a new iPhone? Luckily, I didn't have to answer those questions.

Next time, the trauma of finally migrating all my music, contacts and ringtones to an iMac from a PC-based iPhone account.