To switch or not to switch, that is the question…
Get thee to a Verizon, go!…
Something is rotten in the state of 3G…
Neither a Twitterer nor a blogger be…
My hour is almost come
When I to sulphrous and tormenting flames
Must render up my PDA…
OK, so none of those work as well as I’d like. But the thing is, my Hamlet-like indecision caused me to miss out on the first wave of iPhones being offered by Verizon, so I will not be one of the cool kids (I’m sure this amazes you). I was thinking about making the move today, but then I see that they’re all gone. There will be more next week, but that’ll be like being the 27th man in space, instead of the first. And now that the first rush of lust for the new gadget has been disappointed… I’m wondering if I should wait a bit longer than that.
Here are the facts, which I’m sure Shakespeare could render more beautifully, but I will stick to plain prose:
- I work in an office full of Apple people. All the computers in the office are Macs. For my part, I bring my laptop PC into the office every day, and work from that. Yeah, I get it; Macs are cool. But my fingers do all the PC commands so automatically that I find the Mac functions awkward, laborious.
- Some of these people I work with are fanatical about their iPhones (and their iPads, etc., but that’s not what this is about). And over time I’ve seen what their iPhones can do that my Blackberry Curve can’t, and how beautifully they do those things, and I’ve thought that if I could have one, I might want to.
- My entire extended family (and I have a large family), except for one of my sons, is on Verizon. Several of us are on the same family plan, which is economical. I just couldn’t see getting an AT&T device. So for the last year or so, I seized upon every rumor that Verizon would get the iPhone.
- My Blackberry has been acting up for months — losing the data signal and having to be reset (by turning it off, taking the battery out, putting it back in, and waiting a long time while the hourglass spins before it works again) several times a day. Lately, it’s started turning itself off completely, and refusing to come back on unless I go through the whole reset routine.
- I was due for an upgrade as of January. Miracle of miracles, that’s when Verizon and Apple made the announcement that the longed-for day had come.
- I figured I could spring for an iPhone at the upgrade price ($199) from my blog account. I would need to, because it would not fit into our new, super-tight, post-England household budget. Besides, Mamanem, who pays the household bills, does not believe anyone needs such a gadget, even though I do. (I’ve tried to explain the critical importance of having constant, excellent connection to my blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook friends, but she looks at me like I’m babbling in Sanskrit. She thinks of me as being the Dad in the commercial, Tweeting “I’m… sitting… on… the… patio…“)
- I started worrying that another barrier could lie in my way: What if the monthly cost of data access was greater than with the Blackberry? No way I’d get that through the family Ways and Means committee.
- Last week, I went by Verizon (that is to say, made the trek out to Harbison at the end of a long day) to ask some questions about the upcoming iPhone, asking specifically whether it would cost more per month, and no one knew. All they knew was that I could order one starting Feb. 3. So I left, figuring they’d know more then.
- Meanwhile, asking around, I learned to my shock that my friends with AT&T iPhones were only paying $25 a month. This kind of ticked me off, because I was paying $45 a month (part of a family plan account costing well over $200 a month). They had a better device and were paying less for it, which seemed to me outrageous. I began to wonder whether I should secede from the family plan and go with AT&T after all. AT&T had been tempting me with an offer for a TV/internet/landline deal that sounded better than what I had with TimeWarner; maybe I could save even more by adding mobile…
- Then someone told my wife that I was probably paying more than the usual because when I got the Blackberry originally, in January 2009, it was on a corporate server (you know, “Corporate Server” is on my list of potential names for my band). This hassle sort of ticked me off at the time, because up until that time I had had a company phone, but now the paper was making people go buy their own phones, and then be reimbursed a set amount that, of course, would not match the full monthly cost of the device. Two months later, I promptly forget that enormous injustice when I learned of another innovative cost-saving measure — I was laid off. No one at Verizon ever told me that I was paying $45 a month because I was initially connected to a corporate server. Nobody at Verizon noticed that I was no longer connected to anything of the kind. So for almost two more years, I paid $15 too much a month.
- Last night, it being Feb. 3, I went back to Verizon, hoping for some answers. I was happy to learn that an iPhone would NOT cost any more a month for the data. Then I told the guy that I suspected I was paying too much a month already, and he looked it up, and said yes, I was. So he fixed it, and said from then on I would only have to pay $30 a month for data. I asked him whether I would be reimbursed for all those overpayments. He said no, quite flatly. This was one of those techie sales people who makes you feel like all your questions are stupid and an imposition on his valuable time (every question I asked, he answered with a tone and a look that said, “Are you quite done bothering me?”), so the cold look in his eyes as he let me know what a stupid question the one about reimbursement was was in no way a departure from the rest of our conversation.
- He said if I wanted an iPhone, I’d have to order it online, and that the first day they’d have them at the actual store would be Feb. 10, but that if I weren’t in line by about 5 a.m., I probably wouldn’t get one.
- I had thought that the new iPhone would work on the new 4G network when that rolled out, but he said no, it wouldn’t.
- Then he raised a new problem… he mentioned, in passing, that in moving to an iPhone I’d lose some data — such as old voicemails. Well, I didn’t care about that, but it made me wonder: Would I lose any of my 2,044 contacts I’d accumulated over the years, starting in my Palm Pilot days (and when I say “contacts,” I mean several phone numbers and email addresses each, street addresses, extraneous notes about each person — the crown jewels to me, and quite irreplaceable) or my calendar, and would it still sync with my data on my laptop? (As you may know, I lost access to it all on my computer for several months after a disastrous Outlook crash.) My stuff was all on Google now, connected to my gmail account (which is what firstname.lastname@example.org is), so surely it would work, right? He said he didn’t know. When I insisted upon knowing, he wearily passed the question on to another Verizon employee. She didn’t know either. So I asked the clerk whether he thought I should get a Droid instead, since it is built on Google. He shrugged. I asked him what he would do. He said he had a Droid, and showed it to me. I asked whether he was thinking at all of getting an iPhone instead, and he said, no, not unless they gave him one. Which they wouldn’t.
- To me, there is little point to a PDA — Twitter and email and all aside — if the contacts and calendar don’t sync smoothly with something also accessible via laptop. Might as well have an ol’ dumb phone as that.
- Lose all my contacts, or even not be able to sync them smoothly? Must give us pause: There’s the respect that makes technological indecision of so long life. I was 99 percent sure that there was no way Steve Jobs would make something that wouldn’t connect smoothly with gmail data. But that wasn’t good enough. Sure, I could go home and order an iPhone online, but I wouldn’t be able to get my questions answered first. Even if I could chat with a person online, to what extent could I trust their assurances? Wouldn’t I need it in writing? And no online salesperson would have time for that — there were millions of others who wanted to buy the thing without asking stupid questions and making demands.
- So I began to wonder whether I should do the equivalent of what I do with movies — not rush out and see them in the theater, but wait for Netflix. Patience is, after all, a virtue. Maybe I should even wait until 4G was out, and the rumored iPhone 5, which (maybe) would run on the new 4G network. Maybe, after a few million people actually start using Verizon iPhones, I could find out from some of them whether they sync well with Google. Or I could just go with a Droid. But I’ve looked at both, and like the iPhone SO much better.
- I had also learned that a new Blackberry Curve would only cost me $29. So if my old Curve was dying (and it seems to be), maybe I could get one of those now, and wait for more info on how the iPhones actually work. Except that that would use up my upgrade. And without the upgrade, the iPhone would cost more than $700. Which might as well be 7 million. So that’s out.
What to do, what to do? I was too tired to figure it out last night. Today, I had a busy morning of meetings with clients and such. Twice during the morning, I had to reboot my device to check my email or the web. Once, it did that thing where it dies completely, and has to be force-reset. So I’m going to have to do something.
At lunch today with Lora — the most fanatical of my “iPhones are better” friends — I started blathering about my dilemma. While I was doing so, she glanced at her device and informed me that Verizon had just run out of iPhones.
So now I don’t have to think about this for awhile. Until the Blackberry dies completely, that is.
Isn’t it wonderful living in our modern age, with all these fantastic devices to make our lives easier?