Friday, September 03, 2010

My First Week with the iPhone 4 -- Delight Mixed with Frustration

After 10 years with the Blackberry, I made the Benedict Arnoldian switch to the iPhone 4 last week. It has now been about 1 week with the iPhone -- a schizophrenic experience of pure delight at the power of technology done right; and frustration at basic things that aren't.

The iPhone 4 is an amazing multi-tasking mini-computer that is incredibly addictive and fun to use. It is my mobile email, text, web experience, pocket video and still camera, digital music player, remote control for my home music system, and so much more -- including FaceTime mobile video chat and "See What I'm Seeing" (something I was long anticipating given my time previously running video chat leader SightSpeed). How cool is that?

Oh yes, it also is a "phone" ...

... and that's where the frustration, like most people, lies. In the past week, I would say that about 75% of my calls have dropped (no exaggeration!). And, even worse, about 90% of my calls between my wife and I (she too has an iPhone 4) also have dropped -- multiple times in many aborted conversations. Is AT&T solely to blame for this as the Apple faithful would lead us to believe? My wife's and my guess is "no." There's got to be a continuing problem with the iPhone 4, even with our protective antenna-gate solving cases (we both have them). My wife previously was a long-time iPhone 3 user, and she swears that she rarely, if ever, experienced dropped calls then.

And, apart from dropped calls, the iPhone 4 itself has had its issues, most disturbing of which was that it went completely dark -- black screened -- on me yesterday for no reason at all. It was fully charged, sitting there on my desk -- and, when I wanted to use it to make an actual phone call (a dicey proposition as discussed above), there simply was no response. Dead. Period. Just when I was about to whisk my away over to the Apple store in an emergency plight (since my mobile phone is my life-line), thankfully one of my colleagues came to the rescue and showed me how to re-boot -- and that worked. But, re-booting my new iPhone after only 1 week? Raises some red flags for me. I will be watching that closely.

Finally, as much as I appreciate the touch screen in so many respects, I am having massive problems adapting to the virtual keyboard. I am a rabid mobile emailer (for which the Blackberry was great), and the small virtual keyboard on the iPhone is killing me so far. Hopefully, I will adapt.

One more thing, the touch screen is certainly not infallible. I frequently need to tap twice or three times before I get a response -- or slide my finger several times before the screen whisks me over to another screen.

Nonetheless, because perhaps I -- like all of us -- are in the mind grip of Apple and Jobs these days, I still love the iPhone 4. It is an incredibly elegant demonstration of the power and beauty that is possible with great technology and vision.