I own a number of Apple products. I love the iPod shuffle for working out and the iPod
nano for relaxing on the plane. I share my passion for the iPad with many people. Some of them thanked me for showing them some of the applications I’ve downloaded. I also like my MacBook Pro. But my relationship with the iPhone has been riddled with conflicts. The iPhone is a great mobile device for emailing; texting; checking the weather, stocks, and calendar; and catching up on the news. The iPhone has a great number of applications, but here are the 5 things I don’t like about it:
- AT&T is a world champion in call dropping. While AT&T’s advertising brags about its nationwide coverage, I could draw a map of the places in San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC, where I can almost guarantee that the call gets dropped. Every time I drive next to the Pentagon in DC, I lose the connection. Every time I walk down Market Street near the Apple store, my calls are dropped. Every time I make a call in Midtown Manhattan, I lose the connection. My solution: I bought a Verizon Android phone as a backup.
- AT&T confuses geography with quality. The coverage that you get with AT&T is inconsistent, so the clarity of the call varies, often switching from crystal clear to “grbled ckr what frds check ssssrr.” You recognize only every third or fifth word. It’s not OK to brag about coverage if customers have to ask a caller repeatedly, “Can you repeat that?” When I pay my mobile-phone bill, I pay every bill; I don’t pay every third or fifth bill. My solution: Send a letter to your congressman or congresswoman suggesting consumers be allowed to pay phone bills based on the performance of the carrier.
- AT&T’s voicemail tests my patience several times a day. When I am on an important call, I don’t put the caller on hold to have a quick chat with the next caller; I let the call go to voicemail. When I hang up, I try to listen to the voicemail, but the voicemail doesn’t play. My solution: Call my own number, hit the asterisk, and then listen to my voicemail.
- AT&T’s wireless is agonizingly slow in certain areas. When I check my email, many times I get to see only the subject line but not the body of the email. I wait and wait and wait. My solution: I purchased a Novatel MiFi card from Verizon. Granted, the service is $60 a month, but it is well worth it. This card provides wireless Internet access for my laptop, iPhone, and iPad. Please do yourself a favor and don’t purchase an iPad with AT&T wireless. Move up to MiFi.
- AT&T is insanely expensive when you travel overseas. International roaming rates are sky high. Roaming in Russia costs $4.99 per minute; Chile, $3.49 per minute; and Japan, $2.29 per minute. Text messages are 50 cents per message. If you forget to buy an international package before traveling overseas and you turn on your phone, you can expect a whopping bill for downloading files. AT&T charges $0.0195 per kilobyte. That price looks very small until you do the math.
The frustration isn’t just limited to the high rates. Try buying the service when you are in a hurry. Just a month ago I went to Europe and tried to purchase that plan. It’s not a one-step process. You have to listen to the sales pitch of the AT&T operator, and when you say, “OK, I’ll buy that plan,” you get switched to another division, and you wait and wait and wait. I was on hold for 21 minutes, and since my plane was boarding, I gave up on the idea. My solution: Never turn on the iPhone overseas and use the local wireless service. I purchased a European cell phone with a SIM card. Incoming calls are free, and calls to the United States are only 49 cents a minute. You can also purchase great phones that work in 90 countries from Telestial.com for only $60 with a SIM card.
My conclusion: No matter how great the new iPhone 4 looks, no matter what features it has to offer, none of that matters unless you have a phone carrier that brings it to life.
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