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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