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iPhone impressions

Peter F, 20 September, 2007 0 Comments

I’m deeply sorry for contributing another “I love my iPhone” post to a
web sagging under the mass of their combined weight. But I can’t help

It’s just that good.

Being in Canada, I’m simultaneously late and early to the game.
Because of our limited and bass ackward carriers, Apple is not selling,
and has no short term plans to sell the iPhone in Canada. Until very
recently, it was impossible to use the iPhone on a Canadian cell
network. With the recent release of a couple of software unlocks though, the situation has changed.

It’s now possible to run a program to “unlock” the iPhone from it’s
AT&T dependency, allowing it to run on any EDGE equipped network
(Rogers and Fido in Canada). This has opened the door for technological
opportunists to purchase iPhones in the US, and sell them unlocked, at a
markup, in Canada. The market for these grey-market phones is hot hot
hot, as I discovered when calling around to find one. Craigslist
pointed me to at least a dozen opportunities to purchase a phone, at an
average markup of $150 or so over purchase price and duty.

I paid $700CDN for mine, which sounds like a fortune, until you
factor in the $400 I earned from selling my previous phone and 30 gig
ipod. And let me tell you, this thing is certainly worth the $300
difference. It’s a game changing device. It’s utterly unlike anything
I’ve previously seen or used. The screen, the Wi-Fi, the browser, the
touch interface and more combine to form a small marvel of usefulness.
In three days, I’ve become addicted to this. I can’t imagine going back
to life with a regular phone.

This all smacks dangerously of hyperbole and fanboy-ism. I’m shaking
my head at myself as I type these words. Yet it’s true. I’ve been in a
protracted nerd-gasm for 72 hours, with no sign of it waning. Everyone
who sees this thing has the same reaction, btw. If you buy one, be
prepared to do a bunch of explaining every time you take a call in
public. Hell, my 88 year old grandmother is desperate to see it.

There are of course a couple of caveats. First is not knowing how
future Apple updates may affect the unlocked phones. Worse case scenario
here is that I may miss out on features included in iPhone software
updates. This is a low probability, and will do nothing to limit my
enjoyment of the features already available. The second and more
pressing caveat concerns the prison-rape that passes for data plan rates
here in the great white north. Rogers, my carrier, wants $15 for 1.5mb
of data, or $25 for 3mb. This is insane. In practice, this means that I
can’t use my phone for web browsing when away from a Wi-Fi connection.
Luckily, jumping on an open wifi network is easy. But this makes hating
my cell provider just that much easier.

Let me share one last story that highlights my iPhone experience to
date. Moments after purchasing it, while driving home, I remembered I
had an important call to make in the evening. Knowing I’d forget it, I
decided to set an alarm. Never having seen the clock program on the
phone, I was able to set a one-time alarm, with my left hand, while
driving, in 10 seconds. Try doing that with your old phone.

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