I've been an iPhone fanatic since the first iPhone came out way back in 2007. From the start I couldn't believe that I'd finally found an electronic device that made good on every promise it made. In a very short time, that phone became much more than a phone, it was my connection to the world. So long as I had that phone with me, I could work from anywhere. I could manage everything in my life from a piece of electronic wizardry that lived up to the hype surrounding it.
When the 3G came out a year later, I upgraded to it immediately. 2008's 3G surpassed my first iPhone by every measure I could think of. If it were possible to love an electronic device, then that's what I would call what I felt for that phone.
In 2009, Apple released the iPhone 3GS. The 3GS had a video camera, an improved still camera, more memory and more storage. Since the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS used the same operating system, it made more sense to hold onto the year-old phone. I continued to love my 3G, and the operating system Apple developed for the 3GS made my 3G work even better than it did before. I thought that Apple was being forward thinking. Both their new model and their current model reaped the benefits of an operating system upgrade. Who needed a new handset? Mobile phones could improve every year with software upgrades alone. Brilliant.
On 21 June, Apple released the iPhone 4 and the new operating system, the iOS 4 at the same time. All iPhone owners were going to reap the rewards of this new software. Everybody on the train was going to get an improved phone. I still loved my 3G and since the operating system was going to make it even better, why buy a new phone and sign up for another two-year stint with AT&T?
It took three days to get my hands on the iOS 4 upgrade and when I managed to get hold of it, it took three hours to download and install. That was unusual, but it seemed like a small price to pay for all of the improvements I was sure to get.
When I finished the download and restarted my phone, something seemed odd. Most of my apps were missing and all of my photos were nowhere to be found. At first I thought that I had made some kind of a mistake when I followed the steps to run the upgrade. In iPhone speak, it was a restore not an installation. So I restarted my phone. When it came back to life, half of my missing apps reappeared. I restarted it again. This time, another handful of apps reappeared. I repeated the restart routine three more times. After five restarts, I had all my apps back, but my photos seem to have been lost for good.
I still thought that there was something I'd done wrong. After all, Apple surely couldn't have screwed up a software upgrade.
Whatever happened, my beloved iPhone 3G no longer worked with anything approaching the speed and efficiency it once did. I noticed that my battery life had been cut in half. It crashed regularly. It was enragingly slow. After a week I started asking around to see if anybody else was having the trouble I was having.
I was far from alone and my experiences were shared by many iPhone 3G users.
The more I dug, the more I learned that the new iOS 4 was never intended to be run on the the 3G. There was no warning anywhere on Apple's website before I "upgraded" my phone. Apple being Apple, there's no way I can go back and install the old operating system that made my phone work so well. It's almost as if I'm being pressured into buying a new iPhone and along with it, one of AT&T's onerous, new, tiered data plans.
It gets increasingly hard to think of this as a coincidence. Every time that I turn on my GPS and my phone checks my mail instead I start to question the train of planned obsolescence I've been riding since 2007. I used to think that Apple was one of the good guys. They represented value, sharp design and exclusivity. Now I'm beginning to see that I've been duped.
Whether this software problem was planned or accidental, I'm not happy and I'm not alone.
Maybe it's time to look at a Droid.
My friend Eric sent me this over the weekend.
As amusing as that video is, what's not in the least bit amusing is that Apple hobbled my iPhone 3G.