Friday, March 05, 2010

I bought an iPhone and I hate myself

UPDATE: Ha! I fixed my old Fuze! The iPhone is going back.

I'll leave the rest of this post up so you all know why. But happy days are here again.


I've officially crossed over to the dark side, and done something I swore I'd never do: I bought a touchscreen-only phone. I'm filled with self-loathing and buyer's remorse right now.

I didn't really have anything specifically against the iPhone other than the lack of a keyboard. (I have an iPod that I love and have owned other Apple products before, so I'm not a general hater.) But my beloved HTC Fuze officially died yesterday (mere hours after writing a post about how I'd saved its life), and with all the customizations I'd made to my Fuze, the iPhone was strangely the cheapest smartphone I could get that approached its capabilities. Yes, I said "approached"! And I needed something today, I couldn't wait for Ebay or whatever.

Ah, Fuze... your star shone brightly in the few short but wonderful months we had together. Farewell. (T_T)

I've had my iPhone for around eight hours now and so far, all it's done is make me angry. But I still might keep it, and I'll explain why once I'm done complaining.

What pisses me off about it:

1. The infernal "unlock" screen that you apparently can't disable (and I'm not the first to talk about it). I want to turn on my phone and be doing stuff, and I'm not worried about mistakenly pressing the "on" button that's too stiff to accidentally press anyway. I turn my phone on and off multiple times per hour, so this is hugely annoying. The iPhone seems to be made for people who don't use their phones very often.

2. The "home" screen is a big bunch of nothing. What the hell am I supposed to get out of staring at a bunch of icons? I'm used to - and love - HTC's TouchFlo interface, which puts all sorts of useful info on the home screen and organizes things in logical and intuitive ways. And it looks cleaner than the iPhone too, even with all that info. What I miss most on the iPhone home screen is the weather, but I also don't like that the clock is tiny and way up at the top, the date is on an otherwise random-looking icon, and I don't even know how it handles displaying missed calls or incoming messages. Everything feels like it's several clicks away on the iPhone.

It is an archaic, bad interface. I can't be anymore blunt than that. Anyone who says otherwise has not used another modern smartphone.

3. I can't customize anything. I am not a sheep, I don't like my stuff to be just like stuff everybody else has. But there is seemingly no way to customize much on the iPhone beyond the ring tone. Don't like the color scheme or theme? Tough. Want to change the email notification sound? Too bad. Want to (gasp) replace the useless home screen? Forget it. I knew the iPhone was a little more locked down than most phones, but this is ridiculous.

4. The email app SUCKS. And email's a big reason why I even have a smartphone. And as per above, there is no way to replace it. I can't even figure out how to "mark all as read", which is a pretty basic fucking function for an email application. If I'm missing something, please tell me, because it is a huge pain in the ass having to actually click on every single email I get to mark it as read when 90% of the time I know what an email's about by the preview in the message list.

5. There is no external notification of incoming messages. What?! Even all the dumbphones I've owned had a little blinking light. My Fuze had a smoothly pulsating orb, very sci-fi. The iPhone has nothing. If I want to check whether I have email or messages, I need to turn the damn thing on, slide to unlock it, and then look at the stupid little icon at the bottom of the screen. This is madness.

6. The screen is the worst I've used in at least six years. Seriously, I had a Samsung SGH-A707 that had a 320x240 screen, but since it was a lot smaller, it had a higher pixel density than the iPhone. My Fuze had a 640x480 resolution, and given its size, that pixel density was probably the highest ever in a phone. The iPhone has a 480x320 screen at 3.2", which looks very chunky up close. I can see the individual pixels. Everything's kinda ugly. (The HTC Tilt 2, by contrast, has a 480x800 screen!)

7. The lack of a keyboard. This one's so self-evident to me that I actually had to add it to the post after publishing - I didn't even realize I had only mentioned it in the first paragraph. Anyway, my first text message on this thing took me ten minutes to write. My second, which I decided to just try to write as quickly as I could, had so many uncorrected typos that I had to send another text message to correct it. Only I accidentally hit "send" before I was done, so I had to send a third message to correct the correction. Yeah, I hate touchscreens.

Now that my bitching is done (for the moment), why might I keep my iPhone anyway? Because frankly, I don't have a lot of good options (something I've also complained about in the past). I thought about returning it for a Tilt 2, which is basically the updated version of my Fuze, but it's a) too big, and b) still running that crappy old 528mhz Qualcomm processor like my Fuze had. I could accept that in the Fuze because it was old, but if I'm gonna put four bones down on a new phone (remember, I am not in my upgrade period yet), I expect a little snappier performance.

I'm still considering the new Motorola Backflip, which comes out in like a day, but I'm concerned about the unusual form factor and it's also using that same crap CPU. It does have a keyboard, though, and it's AT&T's only phone running Android, so I'm hoping the performance is better than the Windows Mobile-based Tilt 2.

I also will need to pay a 10% restocking fee if I return this phone, which is $40 - not insignificant. That's $40 basically down the toilet if I return the phone, and I keep that money if I don't.

You might ask why I don't just switch to Verizon or something, but I'm on a family plan and my wife loves her iPhone. (As they say, opposites attract.) I could still break my contract, but then this would all be even more expensive in the long term, because I'd be paying a termination fee plus the cost of a new smartphone plus the extra cost of us being on separate individual plans.

So I'm kinda stuck with AT&T, and they've pretty much thrown all their high-end eggs in one basket with the iPhone, which IMO is really a pretty shitty phone. The problem is they just don't have much that's any better in value.

I'll wait and see if I can try out a Backflip once it's in stores. I have 30 days to learn to love my iPhone.

(As I said at the top, it's now going back today. Here's the first and last photo of my day-old iPhone, taken with the camera of my Fuze.)


  1. Too bad you're stuck with AT&T. It sounds like you'd probably be better off with a Droid (physical keyboard, Android is highly customizable, the screen is better than the Fuze, etc.). Or some other newer Android device, which has a slick interface like an iPhone, but without the Apple fascism of locking everything down and rejecting apps at their whim...

  2. The Droid is probably the phone I want the most right now, and is really close to my ideal phone. Too bad it's on Verizon.

  3. The Droid is probably the phone I want the most right now, and is really close to my ideal phone. Too bad it's on Verizon.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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