You may (or may not) have noticed that this mobile lifestyle editor of PhoneDog and managing editor of Today’s iPhone was MIA yesterday. Strange, since the iPhone 4 launched and the platform is kind of her thing, no?
Frankly, I’ve been stymied. I was planning on posting my first impression of the Apple smartphone. Thing is, I can’t. A series of epic #fails has this blogger away from home without a workable iPhone 4 and no internet connection.
Based on the flood of issues reported so far, I am not the only one. Sure, not everyone has had problems, but so many have, it’s mind-boggling. Like some of them, I have no data connection at all with my new “4.” Not only that, but some things disappeared that shouldn’t have. There’s no FaceTime! Also no MMS. And thanks to the dead zone I’m staying in, I couldn’t even connect via Wifi, to research what the #$@%$! is happening. (I’m posting this from a coffee joint in San Diego.) So I’ve been technologically stranded!
So my smartphone is basically just a really expensive dumbphone right now. I can make calls, but that’s about it. And yes, I even tried placing my handset on the table without holding it, just to eliminate that “antennae interference” possibility, and it’s still no good. I tried to restore my phone from every iPhone back-up I have (there are at least three of them in iTunes), but no luck. I am so desperate right now, I’d even be willing to hook my computer up to a dial-up connection and share that connection. Egads! That would be like time traveling to 1993, but that noisy, screeching modem sound would be music to me at this point.
Given all this woe, I have a first impression of a different kind: In short, this is hands-down the best and worst experience with a smartphone I’ve ever had.
Frankly, it’s a gorgeous device. And for the all-too-brief moment when the data connection worked (between the Apple rep activating the phone and my hooking it up to iTunes), things were awesome: Safari was a lot speedier than even my computer browser, the apps loaded and launched quickly, and “fast app switching” really lived up to the name. Those were perhaps the best 10 minutes of my smartphone-using life. And the screen — holy smokes, that display is one of the few things in life that actually lives up to its hype.
But what does any of this matter if you can’t ultimately use your smartphone like a smartphone?? The frustration of trying to troubleshoot this hobbled handset has had me pulling out my hair. And it shouldn’t. iPhone upgrades in the past have never been this problematic. (Yes, most Apple stuff “Just Works.” But this time, it Just Stinks.)
I honestly can’t give the iPhone 4 a fair review until I am able to — you know — actually use the features of the device. But if I weren’t assessing phones right now, if I were evaluating the companies behind them instead, Apple and AT&T would be getting a pretty scathing review right now. So much has gone wrong: the ordering process, the problems so many have had loading iOS 4 since Monday, and the ridiculous advice about how to hold the phone properly for a decent connection, just to name a few. And now some of us have no data at all? It’s almost like they’re trying to go out of their way to discourage customers. I find this unbelievable.
Okay, that’s it for now. The lady at the coffee spot where I’ve been parked for the last couple of hours is starting to give me the evil eye. (I should’ve gone to Starbucks, to take advantage of its free AT&T Wifi for iPhone users. A lot of iPhone 4 users are probably there. We could’ve cried on each others’ shoulders.)
I’ll keep you posted on how this insanity goes.
UPDATE: Holy smokes, it’s finally working! I don’t know if this fix will work for everyone, but it did for me. I posted it over at Today’s iPhone, so if you're curious (or, better, if it can help you out) click here to find out more.