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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!

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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 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!

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! http://pasqualedsilva.com/blog/verbal-vomiter/

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:

Achh…

I got your com­pli­ment from the DS mail­ing list…

And then I find out you’re a Mac!

Noooo!

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 http://www.geeked.org/2009/06/10/iphone-3g-s-pricing-kerfuffle-shows-phone-subsidy-not-widely-understood/ — 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