Life without an iPhone

Like everyone else, when I saw the iPhone shown by Steve Jobs on stage back in January 2007, I realized it would change everything. I just had no idea how much it would change me – I’d earn my living creating apps for it, I’d surround myself with Apple-made gadgets and services and, most importantly, I’d never leave home without it.

My brand new iPhone 4S (white, 16GB) started giving me problems about three weeks ago. It would randomly disconnect from the cellular network and never connect again, with network status ranging from “Searching..” to “Invalid SIM” or even “No SIM”. The only solution was to manually reboot it by powering it off and on. At first this happened once a day or night, so the first thing I’d do each morning was to check out if I was still reachable. Then it increased to twice a day and, eventually, it would stay more in the disconnected state than in the reachable one. It was still working as a Wifi-connected device but, when I wanted to give a phone call, I was forced to reboot the phone just to be able to see the network carrier. Also, no one could call me (which wasn’t that bad, actually).

None of the solutions I found online worked. I tried placing some adhesive tape on parts of the microSIM in order to prevent an alleged shortcut (I can’t find the link that advised this), I also upgraded the iOS version to 5.0.1 9A406 instead of 5.0.1 9A405. The errors persisted.

The last solution was to go to the store. There is no Apple Store in Romania, so I had to take it down to Orange, the provider from where I had purchased it. Then the bad news struck: they would have to change the device and give me another one. That wouldn’t have been a bad news normally, but since they didn’t have it in their replacement stock, I had to leave my beautiful looking iPhone with them, get a temporary dumbphone instead for a few days and wait until a new iPhone shipment arrived. Apparently there were quite a lot of similar problems with the 4S that there was a waiting list,so leaving my device with them and waiting for the replacement shipment was the only way to go. And this might take up to 15 days.

I never realized how dependent I was of my iPhone, how addicted to its mobile internet browsing, my favorite games, the gestures, full screen keyboard or its UI, until I was forced, for the past week, to use a Sony Ericsson W302 instead. Phone calls are lousy, due to its meager speakers I can barely understand what the other person is saying; typing text messages on a physical numbers-only keyboard seemed like a punishment from hell. Internet connection doesn’t work (and I don’t have the will to make it work, as WAP-compatible websites are fewer and fewer).

Being forced to use a dumbphone made me appreciate just how much a smartphone has to offer. The always-reachable internet, the always-near entertainment, its ease of use and familiar interface – those are things you can’t just detox from. Not after almost 4 years of continuous iPhone interaction.

Is it a good thing? Is it bad? I only know that I am impatiently waiting for my i4S to come back from service. It can’t come soon enough.