13 October 2011

You always hurt the one you love: My 2 years with an iPhone 3Gs

Note: I wrote this in the Summer of 2011, awaiting the release of the newest iPhone model that will succeed, but never replace, my iPhone 3Gs and well before Steve Jobs left us.

     As a young child I argued with my Commodore acolyte friend that Apples were superior to his beloved brand, even though I had my own Commodore at home.  Decades passed, and eventually I acquired a second-hand iPod.  And then another.  And then I bought my own iPod.  Along the way I dabbled with the occasional old Apple hardware, had a G3 Blue & White tower as my second machine, and ultimately made The Switch on 2004 when I bought one of the original Mac Minis.  As of this writing, I still own that Mac Mini.  This is a testament to the staying-power of Apple Hardware, which becomes relevant later.

     We're an all-Apple household, my wife and I: a (self-)refurb Macbook Pro, 2 iPad2s (iPads 2?), iPhones in the pocket, and an Airport Express Base Station gets us to the Internet.  When the iPhone was first announced, I carried a Verizon Motorola phone.  I pondered an iPhone when I switched back to AT&T in 2008 but the feature set I wanted wasn't there so I used other not-iPhone handsets.  A Blackberry for a short time, and then a good year or so with a used RAZR that was a trusty and reliable call-maker.  The iPhone models went by: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs.

     The iPhone 3Gs: it shoots video, it has 32GB storage space, all on top of all the amazing magic that was already in previous iPhone iterations.  And, it's apparently made from whatever Superman's underwear are made from.

     I have a confession to make:  My name is Rob, and I dropped my iPhone 3Gs into a pond not 2 weeks after buying it.  In my defense, it was my first time in Hawai'i and the volcanic mountain pool into which I dropped my new treasure was in dire need of being photographed, what with the stream that ran through it.  The pictures are on my Picasa page, and for the first time, I can come clean about this photo with the world:

     My iPhone mere minutes after going for a swim.  Some quick thinking and an hour with a hair dryer on no-heat saved my bacon (and my wallet), and I still smile every time I run my finger over the small rough spot on the chrome bezel, the love bite Pele left in my phone.  I never submerged it again, but in the following two years I've lost track of the number of times I've bounced the thing off concrete, tile, concrete tile, poorly carpeted floors, and my own foot.  I can be clumsy is what I'm trying to say, and my iPhone has survived it all.

     There is a small scratch on and some dust under the touch screen, The plastic has worn out and fallen out around the power button, which itself has failed. I recently tore-down my 3Gs after an ill-fated attempt to repair the power button made it stop working altogether. It works now thanks to some aluminun foil, and by works I mean you push on the top of the back case and it functions. The two halves have separated slightly and some dust was inside it (which I blew out during my tear down and rebuild), but this machine still has a lot of fight left in it, and it will soon see its second life as my mother's new iPod Touch 3Gs.

     It's been my second brain, my reference and recording companion; Entertainment, informer, awkward situation avoidance mechanism, communicator, and soon to be put out to pasture, munching on WiFi and playing mom's music and whichever apps she decides to load on it.  I'll have moved on to my new shiny iPhone 4S, running iOS 5 at a snappy pace, taking 8mp pictures with a flash, recording HD video, but always remembering my first iPhone, baptized in Pacific rain water 6,000 miles from home, my constant companion.

     Thanks iPhone, thanks Apple. More than any marketing campaign full of emotional appeal, more than any social status from a logo, I'm a customer because I know that the product I buy is going to last for a long time, come hall (floor) or Hawai'ian water.

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