iPhone Woes

I recently decided to buy a new phone. I bought a Samsung Blackjack this time last year through AT&T and it has been a bumpy road since then. Don’t get me wrong, the Blackjack was a decent phone and I never really had any issues with it, except for the occasional crash while browsing the internet in the Windows Mobile version of Internet Explorer.
Because I am a technophile and a sucker for new technology, I decided to upgrade my Blackjack to Windows Mobile 6 back in February. Big mistake. Since then my Blackjack has had some major crashes that has caused me to miss phone calls, voice mails and text messages. Twice my phone was completely frozen when I got into weak signal areas that caused it to backtrack to the Edge network from its native 3G network functions. In those times, it was not until a few hours later when attempting to make a call and would not complete that I had to completely remove the battery to reboot the phone so that I could resume normal phone functions, like make a simple phone call. It was then that I discovered that I had missed all those phone calls, voice mails and text messages.
With this frustration came my decision to stop the madness and start shopping for a new phone, since my Blackjack had just become too unreliable. During my shopping is when I discovered that I wanted an iPhone, only because there weren’t really any great choices out there. Being a tech geek, I wanted these functions in a phone: the ability to text message with SMS, use a camera (since I had used it so much on the Blackjack), browse the internet completely and compose the occasional email. There were only a few phones I could use in the AT&T network that could perform these functions: a different phone with Windows Mobile 6, the Nokia N series phones (N95 and N810), and the iPhone. There is no way I will be buying another Windows Mobile phone and the Nokia N series phones are extremely overpriced; especially the N95. If you, reader, have been keeping up with my blog for the past few months you know that I have stated that I would never buy an iPhone (see iPhone Hype and iPhone Thoughts); for the most part it’s because of it being overpriced. Well since its release, the price has dropped and the capacity increased with 8GB and 16GB models.

After much thought on if I really should buy an iPhone, I finally decided to drive to the AT&T store last evening and buy the 8GB version. The purchase was a breeze and the activation in iTunes on my Macbook, once I got it home, was smooth. It wasn’t until later in the night when I was in bed reading my emails using the Wi-Fi function on the phone that my nightmare began. Ironically enough, it was when I was watching a Quicktime video on Apple’s site from the Welcome email that Apple sent me that the phone started crashing. What Apple did was email me a Welcome email with a guided tour video of the iPhone that redirects you to this Quicktime video. I was about 15 minutes into the video when the phone suddenly rebooted. Once it came back up into the OS (the iPhone is actually running a full version of Mac OS X) it froze again. I tried powering it off but it remained frozen in the OS. I then performed what they term as a hard reset using the iPhone combination of button presses (the Home button and the Sleep/Awake button) to reboot the device. It rebooted but remain frozen once it booted into the OS, all the time displaying a “Searching…” in the upper left for the AT&T network. I plugged the phone into the wall, since I knew the battery would discharge overnight being that it would not power down (and you can’t remove the battery since Apple has no means of doing this, like an iPod), and went to bed completely annoyed.
I woke up this morning with nothing but the AT&T store on mind knowing that, deep down, I was going to have an adventure. And an adventure I ended up having.
After I drank my coffee, ate my breakfast, watching an episode of Carnivale in the process, I left for the AT&T store with the boxed iPhone in one hand and my Macbook in the other thinking that I may have to activate the new one while I am away from home. When I got there a young lady greeted me with a smile but then her face changed to shock when I told her that my iPhone crashed and did not recover. She and her manager then told me that they could do nothing for me, even though I had purchased it from them the night before, and that I had to take it to the Apple Store. It was my face that then turned to an expression of shock. I was flabbergasted. Reluctantly, I left the store and drove down the street to the Apple Store. Looking at this on the bright side, it was a good thing I was not far from the Apple Store; I probably should have just bought it from them in the first place. The only thing is the Apple Store is in the mall. I hate the mall.
When I got to the Apple Store, another young lady greeted me with a smile but then her face also turned to shock when I stated I needed to exchange my iPhone because it had crashed. She directed me to one of her co-workers that worked in the correct department which I then explained to this person the situation. Another surprised individual who could not understand that there could be any problems with an iPhone, until I pulled out evidence Exhibit A to show her the crime. She took the device and tried to reset the device, as I did, but had no luck either. She then took the device over to the “Genius Bar” where a technician looked over the device and attempted, yet again, the same exact steps while I waited at the front counter. She finally walked back over to me with the device in her hand when low and behold the device reboot successfully into the OS without freezing while she was handing it to me. We were both amazed, however I explained to her that this clearly was an intermittent issue and that I would like to swap it anyway for a new one since I was having the issue. She complied and proceeded to make an appointment for me to see a “Genius”…what!? Make an appointment to simply swap the device!? Yes. Apparently, that is Apple’s procedure and there was nothing I could do to sway the young lady. What made it even worse was that the next soonest appointment they had was two hours from that time. That meant I needed to go back home to wait. To my own amazement, I kept my cool and anger and gave in. Yes, I was a teeny, tad annoyed but I gave in. What was something else that was interesting during our conversation was that I could replicate the problem. While she was still in front of me, I turned the Wi-Fi on and the iPhone rebooted and froze. So, through an accident I figured it out on my own that it was the Wi-Fi that was causing the problem.
I then went home, with the same defective iPhone, and waited for my 1:45 appointment. The appointment turned out to be uneventful and a simple exchange was agreed upon by the “Genius” at the Store.
After going through all of that, I wonder if choosing an iPhone was a smart thing. I know something for sure, I will try my hardest to make this phone last beyond the next year and hope that I do not have to shop for another mobile phone for at least two years.

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