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Summary:

Yup, Cupertino did it again. They got another $600 out of our household budget. Barb and I have each used our first-generation iPhones since the summer of 2007. One has a cracked screen (but still works) and one has more dings than the beat-up old Ford […]

iphone-3gsYup, Cupertino did it again. They got another $600 out of our household budget. Barb and I have each used our first-generation iPhones since the summer of 2007. One has a cracked screen (but still works) and one has more dings than the beat-up old Ford Pinto my father used to drive in the early 1970s. But they’ve served us well and they’re never more than an arm’s reach away.

While I did buy a Palm Pre on launch day, there’s plenty of room for it to mature: both on the native software side and on the third-party applications side as well. That’s the main reason I opted to get a new iPhone. Well, the subsidy doesn’t hurt, either. Since we hung onto our original iPhones and dealt with EDGE speeds for two years, we’re getting the full AT&T subsidy on our new handsets. And since I wrongly thought 8GB would be enough two years ago, we dropped the extra $100 for the 32GB iPhones. Without any expansion slot, I figure you might as well get the most storage you can up front.

We could debate what the “best” smartphone is until the cows come home. (Or later, since the cows are usually herded up in the late afternoon around here.) The fact is: for me, the iPhone has met my personal needs very well these past two years. And it has done so in a elegant way that I haven’t seen matched just yet. Some would cry “fanboi,” but I’d disagree with that comment. Does using the device that meets your needs best make you a “fanboi”? Not in my book. It makes you a smart cookie and helps you be productive. If you use a different platform and it’s meeting your needs, then that’s the right device for you, I say.

I originally thought that Barb might benefit from a Pre. In fact, when I was in line at the launch, we were asked how many handsets we’d be buying. I had the opportunity to get two and even called Barb to see what she wanted to do. She left it up to me. After some serious thought and the many unknowns at the time, I suggested she pass on the Pre and get a new iPhone. I’m enjoying my Pre, so don’t get me wrong here. But the little niggles that remain (and there are quite a few) would put Barb off. They’d get in her way. And she’s not the early adopter type; she’s more of a mainstream consumer. Apple’s handset and software offerings are simply more refined at this particular point in time, in my opinion. We early adopters that enjoy the good and bad of the cutting edge are fine when we have to futz with a smartphone. My wife isn’t.

You’d think the real winner in our situation is Apple first, and AT&T second. After all, Apple just sold two more iPhone 3GS handsets and AT&T has us under contract for two more years. Plus we’ll be paying them more, since the data plan will cost $10 more and the 200 text messages we each have will net them another $5 a pop. But they’re not the real winners at all. Our kids are. Tyler and Sydney have been asking us on a daily basis if we got our new iPhones yet. Why? They get two iPod Touches with a camera out of the deal. You want to see “fanbois”? Check out the kids’ faces when our iPhones arrive later this week.

  1. Just wait until those kids go online and activate the phones. :)

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    1. Nah… out here in the farmlands, we’re pretty religious about checking for ticks and SIMs on a daily basis. ;)

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  2. Rick Huizinga Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Kevin,

    Could you share you’re experiences in using a deactivated iPhone as an iPod Touch? I’m particularly interested in how to bypass the phone activation (without jail-breaking).

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    1. Once I put down the new iPhone 3G S after the Friday arrival, will do, Rick!

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    2. It’s absolutely no problem using a deactivated iPhone as an iPod Touch. I have two 1st generation phones that I gave to my kids when my wife and I upgraded to the 3G version. For my two 10 year olds, they love the device more then their DS’s. Plus, I can always be a hero, since it would take 50-60 $.99 to $1.99 game apps to equal the cost of a new DS cartridge for each of them.

      In other words, I could buy them each a game every week – if I were so inclined, and it would take me half a year before I was up to the cost of a DS game for each.

      The activation screen only appears when the device is turned off and then on, hard reset or the firmware updated. All you have to do is just slide the screen to on, and the message disappears. In other words, it is a total non-issue. Right now I am managing 4 devices through a single iTunes account and freely sharing and swapping apps through the various devices without any issue. It couldn’t be easier.

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    3. hollottastuffis Monday, June 29, 2009

      the phone has the ability t be activated, ONLY if you have a sim first of all, and yes the sim has to be recognized and validated by att, and on top of it they would be required to contact att, in either 1 way or anotther from what i understand to start a plan requiring them to steal information like ssn’s so… in so many words, HOLD ON TO YOUR WALLETS MOM AND DAD!!! :0)

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  3. What’s the plan to keep that army of iPhones synced? One central iTunes library will let you share apps and media on up to five devices, but I don’t think you can share apps across different iTunes libraries.

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    1. We do have one central iTunes library now: it resides on a 320GB USB drive attached to my MB at the moment and it is shared. Tyler has a MBP where he lives with his mom, so his device isn’t my concern. That leaves three devices (2 new, 1 old) here, so we won’t bump into the 5 device limit. Unless we adopt more kids (or more iPhones) we should be safe for the time being.

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  4. Good Decision. I am still amazed that in 2 years that those big phone companies and their huge army of developers (you know who you are) have not come close to toppling a small company that never made a phone before. Simply amazing. I think that Apple still being on top says more about just how bad the majority of phone makers really are. There are just so many bad engineers today it is unbelievable, this was not the case back in the seventies when I graduated.

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    1. Very good points. Sometimes I forget that.

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    2. Let me reiterate and say good points on Apple being a relatively new player in the phone business. Not sure about 70s engineering – that electronic handheld football game wasn’t much. ;)

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  5. I think it says more about marketing than anything else…and using a monopoly position in one market (Mp3 players) in order to enter another market. The iPhone is a flawed phone…especially in the area of email and calendaring…which are core capabilities of a smartphone. It has taken to version 3 before it even has cut and paste. Slowly they are adding features which have been available in other phones for a long time.

    I have one for business and I often miss my old HTC phone. I hope that the OS 3 upgrade will resolve many of the current missing functionality.

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  6. John in Norway Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    I still haven’t found anything that could replace my Nokia E90. While I think it’s the best phone/PC ever, it does have one or two annoying ‘features’.

    By the way, Quickoffice are offering a free upgrade to version 6 on E series devices at the moment!

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  7. I’m going to hold onto my original iPhone. Something tells me this will be a collector’s item in a few years as a symbol of the “phone” that dramatically changed mobile communications.

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  8. I’m getting a 32GB as well. As for my good ol’ first-generation iPhone, it goes to my daughter.

    I’m letting AT&T handle my 3G S order. It’s a decision I may regret, but either way I’ll have something to write about.

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  9. I look forward to your comments on the “S” Kevin – as a nonfanboi ;)

    I’m up for the subsidy in August and on the fence if it’s enough to move from my 3.0 updated 3G…

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  10. Thank you!

    Great article, you make me smile :-)

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