To Jump on the iPhone Bandwagon or Not?

This past weekend, HB and I went to our nearby mall with the Apple store, only to find a long line just to get into the store. It’s already more than a week since the iPhone 4S launch, but people are still lining up. Needless to say, we walked away very quickly. The prospect of lunch was more appealing than waiting for something that was probably going to be gone by the time it would be our turn in line.

For the longest time, I’d been yearning for an iPhone. What’s there not to like? The 8.0 megapixel built-in camera; the ever-entertaining and resourceful Siri, who can answer questions, help with scheduling, find restaurants, take dictation and send messages/texts for you, et al.; the fact that there’s an app for almost anything one’s heart desires; the integration with iTunes, iPad, Mac computers; and more. Plus, if I get an iPhone I’d be supporting my stock investment, and that’s a good thing, right?

Although I’m currently using the much less popular Palm Pre, it has served me very well these last couple of years. I can talk, text, check email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, surf, listen to music, watch some videos, play games, schedule/plan, make lists, take pictures/short video clips, and more. (I also can surf while I’m talking on the phone—though I don’t make a practice of it.) There’s probably even more I could do with it, but haven’t fully explored all its functions, etc.

I know I wouldn’t be able to do the simultaneous surf and chat while on the iPhone 4S via my current carrier; only AT&T allows that. However, after having been burned by AT&T, I’m very reluctant to use them again. I don’t like the prospect of getting charged extra for data usage beyond monthly minimum, or having to deal with spottier than usual phone connections, etc. In fact, I’m wondering why Apple hasn’t issued a universal, carrier-blind iPhone—one that works the same way regardless of what phone network one is on.

A part of me doesn’t want to be like everyone else, carrying the latest and greatest iPhone, for which in three to six months, there will be a new and improved version. Why can’t mobile phone carriers have a leasing program option—one which a person might be able to pay a little extra each month to be able to upgrade phones every quarter, every other month, or even sooner? That would take care of those folks who must have the latest and greatest gadgets. (I know if I plan to design for mobile phones, I’ll need to upgrade more regularly.)

Granted, BestBuy is supposed to have a buyback program that supposed to take care of that “I just got the gadget, and now it’s obsolete” issue, but I’m sure there’s a catch in it somewhere. Plus, I heard that the company isn’t doing well at the moment, so who knows how long that buyback program will last.

Why do we have to lock in for two-year contracts? In South Korea, one of the most wired countries, people can go month-by-month with carriers of their choice, and there’s no hard feelings if one feels like changing services. A free market with competition from many sources is a good thing—it challenges the carrier to improve its services as well as brings down the cost a bit, at least one would think. It seems that here in the U.S., we really only have a few to choose from with very little wiggle-room for the cost.

HB recently got a Samsung Galaxy 2, and overall HB seems happy with it. This android phone does pretty much what the iPhone 4S does and then some. He loves the fact it can run superfast on 4G (an iPhone only runs on 3G) and is integrated with Google products, so searching, getting maps, watching YouTube videos, accessing GoogleDocs, etc., are pretty quick. He said he had watched a video comparing the damages between an iPhone 4S vs. the Galaxy 2 when dropped, and said that the iPhone would shatter, while the Galaxy would be intact. Considering how klutzy I am, that alone is argument that I should probably not get an iPhone—at least not if it doesn’t come with an automatic airbag.

Granted, there are a few little user experience issues on the Samsung—HB says that the transition of the screen as one flips from horizontal to vertical and vice versa is more elegant on the iPhone, and also that he wishes there was a button on the lower front/center vs. on the upper side corner, but realizes it’s probably a patent issue that keeps Samsung from being able to have center button. Little things, really.

Even the sales people at our mobile carrier seemed to have nothing but good things to say about the Samsung. What better endorsement for a product is there than for the sales people to be using and loving it.

In the meantime, I’m still in limbo, almost waiting for the decision to be made for me. Christmas is just around the corner, so maybe HB will surprise me? (I trust his tech judgment.)

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2 thoughts on “To Jump on the iPhone Bandwagon or Not?

  1. Penalty on contracts is because the phone you get with the carrier is subsidized by the carrier. Each monthly bill carries a small fee that’s part of paying the carrier back for the phone you just got for free or a low price.

    My other half will be getting a Windows phone when our contract is up. We are going to jump ship to Verizon and I will be getting a iPhone. Why? Same reason I got a 3GS. Because it has the apps I need and use every day in my job and the Windows phone doesn’t. Otherwise I’d consider the Windows phone or an Android phone. This time we are getting insurance on at least my phone. Between Critter and I we just may break it.

  2. After 5+ years with Blackberry, I gave it up and got an iPhone. Verizon has the best coverage here, but since I go overseas, I need a phone that can switch to GSM in Europe and CDMA for Verizon in the US. New iPhone can do that. Lots of neat apps for it that I haven’t even tried yet, but so far I love it. The 4G / 3G isn’t too much of an issue for me – most of the time I’m either at my office, or home, so the phone is connected through Wifi to the web. I have a non-3G iPad, so I’ve learned to check in at Starbucks, coffee, even our church is wifi’d!

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