Why I Am Buying an iPhone

April 22, 2012 by  

One of the few things I walked away with (legally) from my last job of 27 years was my cellphone, manufactured by that same previous employer, which I had to move to a personal account at the time of my, ummm…err…retirement, of course.

It was a decent phone with one of those wacky 4-letter names, though it did have a few less-than-endearing quirks. First was the annoying ringing even when placed in silent mode, which didn’t exactly make me aces with my new employers and co-workers in the many meetings I had to attend. It got to the point that I had to turn my phone off before the meeting started, and would have to remember to turn it back on when the meeting ended (which I usually forgot to do). This was all-important because as a small company, my employer chose to not provide phones for each employee at their desk. There are several communal phones in the work areas, so for convenience sake, most employees who do not have company cellphones use their own. Because of this, it’s pretty important that my phone be available when I’m not in a meeting. I’m about due for another battery, as talk time has been vastly reduced, which is its own problem. Last week, several of these problems came together when I most needed a working phone, so it was off to the web to find out if I was still under contract with my existing phone. I was, which limited my choice, without shelling out a ton of money, to AT&T.

Frankly, this really hasn’t been a problem for me. I hear the horror stories of AT&T coverage. My experience in my little corner of Greenacres, FL is that AT&T is the only carrier that can reliably get calls through to my phone inside my humble little townhouse.

Next, I had to decide what I wanted for a phone. The answer was obvious: a 32GB Apple iPhone 4! I decided to go for a refurbished unit, which saved me $50 over the $299 retail. Most refurbs are due to user error, cold feet, and mainly non-technical problems, so the chances are very, very good that when you buy a refurbished unit, not only has it received a second thorough inspection (probably a better set of tests than the ones done in the factory in China), but you are getting the equivalent of a brand new phone at a substantial discount.

I did the whole deal on the web at AT&T’s website. It was a piece of cake. I was able to review the various service options and ultimately went with the unlimited text plan (only 5 bucks more than 1000 messages, though if I send 1000 messages, please contact my psychiatrist—he’ll want to see me right away–I do have one, you know…). Sadly, AT&T has done away with the unlimited data plan. Seems that their customers were taking AT&T at their word and were using AT&T’s 3G network in ways they never had imagined, in effect paralyzing the networks in larger metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco, where almost everyone has an iPhone and all universally despise AT&T.

I bought an inexpensive case at my local Apple Store, because no one in town seems to have the new Mophie cases with built-in batteries. These cases roughly double the battery life of an iPhone, which can be important if you are using your phone a lot, and doing a lot of web surfing and maybe using the navigation system a lot.

I haven’t really decided what applications I want for my new phone. I guess everyone needs at least one Solitaire game. Other than that, I want to explore music and video apps. Jailbreaking (eliminating the restrictions Apple and AT&T impose on the phone) is a possibility, but the jury is still out. Apple hates jailbreaking and ensures each new software release breaks all current jailbreaking applications.

This article originally appeared in October, 2010 on the Palm Beach Business website.