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C-Mac Gets An iPhone (Finally)

Yeah, I caved. Fuck the carrier, I NEEDED an iPhone.

It turns out that signing a two-year contract to save $50 WAS stupid. Despite my misgivings over AT&T, my early BlackBerry allegiance and my overall satisfaction with T-Mobile, I caved. Fuck the carrier. I NEEDED an iPhone.

I’ve written so much about the iPhone and its platform over the last two years that it is pretty laughable that I haven’t had one as my primary device until now. I mean, I’ve had an iPod touch 2G 32GB and played with more apps than I care to recall (like, it makes managing the shit in iTunes difficult — even with the new features of iTunes 9), but now I FINALLY, FINALLY have one as my primary device.

Bye, Bye BlackBerry

After a nice honeymoon period, all was not love and sunshine with my BlackBerry Curve. See, the phone either had some sort of major malfunction or I just expected too much out of it. While I was at TUAW and DownloadSquad, my e-mail count was pretty high, like, I’d often get over 100 messages a day. If I wasn’t constantly deleting them from my phone, the damn thing would run out of memory reading a newsfeed or loading a webpage and I’d have to do the whole three-finger BlackBerry salute (where you restart the phone by pressing three buttons) and wait 5-minutes for the phone to restart.

Then there was the whole issue of fucking crashing while a call was trying to come through. This started to get more and more frequent and because I often do interview or calls with PR people, that’s embarrassing. And inconvenient.

The abysmal amount of on-phone memory allocated for the OS and the data really is to the device’s detriment. I’m sure that newer BlackBerry devices have addressed that issue, but from where I’m standing, the fact that I have to make sure my cache, e-mail, and other little areas are all clear just so I can install an application from the shitty BlackBerry App World is just unacceptable.

Even when I had almost NO third-party apps on the phone, the crashing and freezing and lockup issues didn’t go away. Again, I could have dealt with this if it didn’t have this great tendency to do it while trying to receive calls.

Now, I might have still considered getting a new BlackBerry, except at this point it’s not longer really financially advantageous to do so. When I got my Curve 8320, I paid a lot for the phone, even with the two-year contract, but I got what I still consider one of the BEST data/minute plans out there. 1000 minutes, unlimited BlackBerry data, unlimited text messages — $60 a month.

It was a great, great plan. Unfortunately, T-Mobile in its infinite wisdom decided to get rid of it. Now, the replacement plan is not a bad deal still — it’s 1000 minutes, plus unlimited night and weekend, plus the unlimited data and texting for $85 a month. That’s not a bad deal, however, if you don’t consider that the voice minutes (which I rarely use that many of) are the only difference, that’s $25 more a month — or $300 a year — so $600 over two years. Why do I mention this?

Well, had I gone with a new phone, I wouldn’t have been able to keep the old plan. I would have been forced to move to one of the new plans. When I first started seriously doing the calculations back in June, the current offering with unlimited night/weekend/mobile-to-mobile in addition to the base 1000 minutes wasn’t even an option.

Plus, even if I waited for my upgrade date, I would still end up paying as much for a new BlackBerry as I would for a new 16GB iPhone.

So here was my thought process, part of my rationale for not getting the iPhone 2G was that I couldn’t see paying nearly $1000 more over two years. As I said then, “that’s a new MacBook.”

However, if I’m going to have to pay that money anyway, I’d rather get the phone I really want: the iPhone.

Hello, iPhone 3GS

It’s interesting to look back at how much the mobile landscape has changed in the last two years. I would challenge even the most ardent-iPhone hater to seriously argue that the bulk of that innovation hasn’t been because of or in direct-response to the iPhone. As I said on the TUAW Talkcast at the end of the year in both 2007 and 2008, the iPhone continues to be the biggest story not just in the Apple-sphere, but in technology in general.

The first iPhone, though revolutionary for its interface and industrial design, was not an overly innovative phone. Sure, the web browsing was really, really nice — but that was just about the only feature that wasn’t already out there. Again, the interface and industrial design are revolutionary in their own right, but if you are a gadget freak and a reformed smartphone junkie like myself, the actual featureset wasn’t really any better than the competition.

That all changed in July of 2008. The App Store, has quite frankly, changed everything. It has taken the iPhone from the sexy device that you want, but maybe can’t justify the expense of — especially with the shittier carrier and the options available elsewhere — to the phone that nothing else comes close to touching. The apps are just amazing. They changed everything.

I got my iPod touch 2G 32GB last year and have loved it. As a gaming device, as a pocket computer, as a reference list, as a just general fun machine — the device is just the tops.

So even before I’d reached the end of the first year with my Berry, I was having some misgivings about continuing on the BB course. Because Grant had a G1 (and now a MyTouch 3G), I’ve been in the unique position of using the iPhone OS, the BlackBerry OS and Android all at the same time. Having compared them all back to back, it just isn’t a question, the iPhone wins. It’s not just the number of apps (though that is impressive), the quality of the apps is just unbelievable. Look at the Facebook App for iPhone. Now look at the newly-released Facebook for Android. No comparison. None. I’ll give you that Android is capable of much more, but almost nothing compelling has been done with the platform.

So after realizing I needed to get a new phone — to stop the freezing insanity if nothing else — and after realizing that I’m going to be paying between $70 and $90 a month for my cell phone anyway, I put my AT&T hate aside and got an iPhone 3GS.

First Impressions

Well, as I said, I have an iPod touch. So the device isn’t anything new to get used to — other than the larger size (the 32GB iPhone 3GS is way thicker than the absolutely svelte iPod touch — but I’m actually totally OK with that — it feels more secure that way). Still, the whole thing is class.

And I have to give both AT&T and my beloved T-Mobile some credit — my number was ported super, super fast. As in, I finished checking out at the Apple Store — he went an activated my phone in iTunes. I went to the car with Grant. I picked up my phone while we were driving home and got instantly got a text message saying my number had been ported over. Like 5 minutes. Or less. Not bad.

I got the new Marware SportShell Convertible for iPhone 3G, 3G S (Black) as a case and I highly recommend it for 3G/3GS users looking for versatility.

I’ve had several Marware cases over the years (the SportSuit Convertible for the iPod — for several iPods actually) and quite like them, but I really like the SportShell. It’s a really solid quality plastic casing, with the option of either a belt clip or just a smooth back — and it can also connect to an armband (which I’ll never use — that’s why I also got a new iPod nano at the same time as my iPhone — for a new workout iPod). Plus it came with screen protectors, which saved me having to get some cut to fit the iPod 3GS. You can also just get the case without the armband for less cash (Marware SportShell for iPhone 3G, 3G S (Black) ) and Amazon has them for way less than the Apple Store (though overpaying for accessories is just part of the Apple Store experience and I wanted to leave with a case).

Call quality is great, I haven’t had any crashes (knock on wood) like with the Berry and obviously, it does without saying that the Mac compatibility is in another league.

Yes, yes, BlackBerry Desktop for Mac is very, very spiffy — and it is much needed — but it was still too little, too late for my needs. Because I couldn’t export a straight CSV or log of VCF files from the Mac version (thanks for the leak CrackBerry!), I still had to result to Windows Vista VM hell, as my Twitter followers are all too familiar.

We All Knew This Would Happen….

I’m not surprised that I caved to AT&T, and indeed, the fact that I waited until I could get out of my contract by having to pay as little money as possible is a credit to my own resolve (a resolve I often don’t have), but it always seemed like a foregone conclusion that I would get an iPhone. Come on, I’m completely Apple’s bitch. This is fact.

Hey T-Mobile — thanks for almost 9-years of pretty decent phone service and great customer support!

Now I’m off to do some work and play with my toy!


Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)


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September 2009
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18 people have left comments

Anupam Sharma - Gravatar

Anupam Sharma said:

The Switcher’s Second Coming A very articulate description of the complete thought process Geek-Chic went through in moving to iPhone/AT&T. Beware Everybody. . . . C-Mac is now C-Phone as well (Deadly Gorgeous Combo). Cheers!

Posted on: September 14, 2009 at 8:05 amQuote this Comment
Michael Koby - Gravatar

Michael Koby said:

You know, it is very interesting to me to see so many in the tech blogsphere dissing AT&T. I’ve been on AT&T for over 5 years now (might even be 6 now) and have had nary an issue with service. Of course I don’t live where a large part of the tech blogsphere lives. I live in the Houston, TX area and I can’t count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve had a call drop with AT&T. My family who lives well outside the Houston area (some call it the “booneys”) switched from Verizon to AT&T just so they could get cell signal at their house.

One thing to keep in mind, is to turn your phone all the way off and then back on at least once every couple of days. This will ensure your phone always has accurate tower data. This tip comes from 3 different tech support people with Cingular & AT&T. This will help greatly with signal.

Regarding your Android comment that more can be done with the platform, I completely agree. I think that phone makers need to put Android on some really nice hardware rather than the wimpy hardware HTC has been using so that developers can really make Android shine. Android has so much potential and its being wasted on bad hardware choices.

Posted on: September 15, 2009 at 10:30 amQuote this Comment
Chris Murphy - Gravatar

Chris Murphy said:

I gotta say, I have iPhone envy right now. I haven’t been able to to commit myself to a carrier — any carrier — simply because I’ve got so long with out a “real” device now that I’m used to it (has many drawbacks), and the cost savings. But I may very well cave as well :D-

Posted on: September 15, 2009 at 11:27 amQuote this Comment
Keith Sheehan - Gravatar

Keith Sheehan said:

You mentioned the nano as well. Did you pick up the new G5 nano? If so what are your impressions of it? I’m thinking about getting one myself as the radio and pedometer features seem like something that are automatically a great ideas for gym use. Can’t really say that I’d use the video all that much though. One thing that turns me of about the new nanos is that the color scheme has seemed to have taken a turn for the worse.

Posted on: September 19, 2009 at 12:56 amQuote this Comment
Davezilla - Gravatar

Davezilla said:

Welcome to the Dark Side, Christina. I’m in the same boat. Love my iPhone, hate AT&T. I’ve had more dropped calls with them then I ever did in 10 years with the equally abysmal Sprint. If Verizon ever gets the iPhone, the mass exodus will be heard audible in Wales.

Posted on: September 19, 2009 at 2:16 pmQuote this Comment
Davezilla - Gravatar

Davezilla said:

Oh, and your iPhone isn’t complete until you give it a GelaSkin.

Posted on: September 19, 2009 at 2:18 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

Oooh, good call Davezilla on the gel skins. Loved those on my BlackBerry. I’ll have to look into that for the iPhone. I’m enjoying the Marware case I got but you can never have too many cases!

Posted on: September 19, 2009 at 2:20 pmQuote this Comment
KT - Gravatar

KT said:

Hey Christina

Looks like you need to stock up your new 3GS with some kickass games! The promo code for smackBOTS is before the @ in the email address. Enjoy!

Posted on: September 19, 2009 at 3:53 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

Thanks KT! I’m going to check it out now!

Posted on: September 19, 2009 at 3:57 pmQuote this Comment
James - Gravatar

James said:

Whoa, take a chill-pill word barfer!

Posted on: September 30, 2009 at 7:23 amQuote this Comment
Alyssa Myers - Gravatar

Alyssa Myers said:

I support the iPhone purchase, but you should’ve held out a little longer. Once Apple goes non-exclusive with the iPhone, I bet they’ll have a T-Mobile version. I’m getting by on my hacked and unlocked 2G with T-Mobile for now.

Posted on: October 2, 2009 at 1:51 amQuote this Comment
Patrick Polischuk - Gravatar

Patrick Polischuk said:

My iPhone is my first smartphone, but this is an illuminating look. I forwarded it to my brother who is waffling between an iPhone in a few months or a blackberry now. I’m confident that he will see the light.

Posted on: October 21, 2009 at 3:05 pmQuote this Comment
Sebastian - Gravatar

Sebastian said:


I got your compliment from the DS mailing list…

And then I find out you’re a Mac!


Posted on: October 24, 2009 at 6:18 pmQuote this Comment
Jeff Smith - Gravatar

Jeff Smith said:

C-Mac, it was a courageous step, but perhaps an important one to take. BTW, AT&T is not my friend!

Posted on: October 26, 2009 at 5:51 pmQuote this Comment
Gareth - Gravatar

Gareth said:

ah, the iPhone. The best thing since slice bread us English would say.

Posted on: November 4, 2009 at 3:36 pmQuote this Comment
Matt M - Gravatar

Matt M said:

I’m pretty sure you would have been able to keep the Minute and Mail plan if you’d upgraded to a new Blackberry. At least, I was. And as I had been researching getting a new one after my contract had expired, I’d assumed I would not be able to as I no longer saw the plan on the website, but when I called they said I could keep my existing plan and even gave me the two-year price on a one-year contract (I asked for it–after hearing about negotiations to renew being your one moment of leverage from friends, I decided to try it. I took maybe 3 calls until I got what I wanted).

However, now the Curve 8900 that I got in March feels quite dated. Blackberry’s fallen way behind in the last two years. I’ll move to an Android phone (or iPhone?) when one’s available for T-Mobile, which I like because it’s cheap and works very well in NYC. (I seem to get free WIFI calls since I got the new phone, but w/1000 minutes, it doesn’t matter anyway.)

(Just saw you link to your twitter account on the MacRumors forum and found my way here. I, too, am waiting for my new Quad Core to arrive.)

-BenLava (a reference that no one seems to have gotten yet)

Posted on: November 13, 2009 at 3:40 pmQuote this Comment
Mark - Gravatar

Mark said:

You’ll have to post your favorite productivity apps soon. There’s so many great apps, but its impossible to check them all out, so like many – I rely on recommendations.

Posted on: November 14, 2009 at 7:57 pmQuote this Comment
Hae - Gravatar

Hae said:

Happy new year! Arrived at your blog from a comment you left at – it’s a bummer that you caved into the AT&T / iPhone thing! =( How has it been though? Has your dislike for Cingular / AT&T since the BellSouth Mobility days been overcome?

Just wondering – with the release of the Nexus One around the corner, do you have plans to take it out for a test drive? Based on what I’ve read thus far on your site, it looks like your thoughts on the phone would be very worthwhile, even more so than possibly Engadget. =) Have an awesome one!

Posted on: January 3, 2010 at 4:56 pmQuote this Comment

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