Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Saturn all over again... cell phone woes

In 1991 Saturn vehicles hit the scene. We bought a 92 model sedan in late 1991. Shortly after we bought it the headlines, front page, pointed out the new car brand doing something like it's 3rd recall since hitting the market. Don't bother to read further back in the paper! There were recalls from at least 4 other car makers, some with far worse defects than the wire Saturn was voluntarily replacing.

2007, enter another new product — the iPhone. My husband and I bought the second "model year" again, in 2008. We're back to that blasted popularity contest I lamented in a letter to the editor, lo those many years ago, about the Saturn recall. Pick on the new kid, the unknown, the different. In the interest of disclosure, we're on our 6th Saturn. We've not had a lemon, they've all been great cars. The dealership near us is superb.

Back to the iPhone. I had an interesting lunch at my office yesterday. I just listened to the conversation among my co-workers. Some of them know I have an iPhone, some don't. One of them put their phone on the table as we all sat down to eat. It went something like this:

co-worker 1, "Oh, is that your new phone?"
co-worker 2, "yeah" (sounding slightly disgruntled). "It's the 3rd one, they've replaced it 2x now and it still isn't quite right"

She described the various failures of her phone, sticking keys, other non-working features. The conversation continued with input like: "Yep, my husband has gone through 8 phones in 3 months. They are just junk. And these were $300 phones, mind you!!" And: "yeah, I know what you mean. Love those commercials but I definitely have dropped service on [carrier shall remain nameless but it wasn't AT&T]" (-;

Pick on the iPhone all you want. Apple's reputation for "just working" and causing a ruckus with not sticking with the status quo may cause them some media and marketing heartache from time to time but, with the number of phones they are going to need to churn out to meet demand they are bound to end up with a few hardware lemons.

And we've all experienced software that doesn't exactly play nice in certain mixes. Apple is being careful about what gets into the App Store for good reason but it's a double edged sword. Some devs complain about how long it takes to get an app in or people complaining they can't do any damned thing they want on the phone.

For many of us, the mostly non-vocal majority shall we say, the iPhone is a vast improvement over the other phones we've been using. It's not perfect. What the heck can you show me in hardware or software that is perfect? No matter who makes it? I'll stick with the iPhone and the myriad improvements it offers over the way I used to use a cell phone. Thanks Apple!

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