Let's get this straight, I don’t watch reality TV, gorge myself on fast food, abuse prescription medication, obsessively follow sports, listen to pop music, buy every piece of useless technology on the market, go into debt to buy items that I don’t want or need or care even a little bit about “Jon & Kate.” However, every once-in-a-while something comes around that is so big, so epic, so inarguably cool, that it breaks me and I am forced to give into the hype (the NFL playoffs, The Pussycat Dolls and Super Hero Movies come to mind immediately). Apple’s iPhone absolutely falls into this category.
Prior to Friday June 19th, 2009 I was a regular guy with a regular phone. I could make and receive calls, text message and take bad pictures and I was blissfully unaware of how cool “smart phones” could actually be. I had been thinking of upgrading to an iPhone for several months, but being locked into a Verizon contract and the looming release of the iPhone 3Gs forced me to wait until last week to jump on board and it has absolutely been worth the wait. Because I do not live under a rock, I was well aware that the release of any new hardware from Apple is an EVENT and people wait outside the stores (which open at 7am) in amusement park-style “Z-Lines” to get their hands on this new item before anybody else. I visited an AT&T store a week early and pre-purchased the iPhone so there was no need to sleep outside in order to get one on the day of release (I am an obsessive sneaker collector, but the idea of actually sleeping outside a store is a little crazy, even by my standards). I paid $212 for a receipt and a promise that there would be an iPhone 3Gs waiting for me on June 19th.
As June 19th approached I was giddy like a school girl, I had literally not been this excited since I was standing in line to see “The Dark Knight” in IMAX. As I entered the Ocean county mall I saw a huge line outside the AT&T store and I figured I was in for a long afternoon of waiting to hook my phone up. As I approached the store, I realized the line was for Auntie Anne Pretzels and actually reached past the AT&T store (Note: Auntie Anne’s is possibly the greatest business model of all time. They sell a few pennies worth of dough for $3 and people line up in malls all over the country to get it.) The following is my account of my first 48 hours with the iPhone 3Gs.
I’m in the AT&T store and I am jacked! I proudly hand some guy my receipt and he goes in the back to get my phone, by now my heart is pounding and I am noticeably sweating. When he comes out to talk about plans I get the one I wanted (Unlimited text, Unlimited Data and 450 minutes that rollover), buy some insurance that comes with a case, transfer my number (919!), and walk out of the store feeling like I just really accomplished something. In retrospect I realize I accomplished nothing, I paid for a product and service that millions of other people utilize and anyone with a few hundred dollars and dream could have done the same thing, but at the time I was more ecstatic than Mos Def.
I walk out of the store and begin sending texts and calling people from the phone. It is a Friday and the Ocean County Mall is already starting to fill up with the normal high school crowd: dudes in varsity jackets, goth kids, girls dressed like they are going to work at the Go-Go Rama and I can tell they all think I’m cool because I have the best phone ever. This is why I really wanted it, to impress high school delinquents at the mall…mission accomplished.
I get home and start customizing my options. I update some contacts, delete some contacts (if you never hear from me again, just figure you didn’t make the cut and keep it moving) and set up my email. I sync the iPhone to my hotmail account and feel a little subversive about it. Checking a Microsoft email on an Apple product feels like listening to that leaked Biggie (“I got 7 mac-11’s…) and Tupac track before it was released.
I continue to configure my iPhone and send emails and texts to people for no apparent reason. I contemplate downloading some Apps, but then reconsider because I don’t want to start the process on an empty stomach.
I sync my iTunes to my iPhone. Here it is, over 1,000 Hip-Hop songs and Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits on my phone! I opt to not load my movies into the phone because I don’t’ feel the need to have “Notorious” and five episodes of MTV’s “The State” with me at all times.
I try to sleep, which is difficult because my heart rate has only slightly decreased and I have not stopped perspiring since I left the mall.
After laying awake and thinking about my phone for two full hours I finally fall asleep.
Saturday June 20th 2009
It is raining for the 38th consecutive day, of course I knew this would happen because I used my iPhone to check the weather forecast before I went to sleep.
After a long run to calm my a** down before a full day of iPhone enjoyment I begin the process of downloading Apps.
I download ESPN’s “ScoreCenter.” Even though I do not really enjoy sports myself and do not need to know if the Raptors beat the Hornets at a moment’s notice, I feel the need for this App so if I’m out and somebody says “Did you see who won ________________” I can definitively say “Yes!” and then give them the score.
I spend a while putting my settings into the App (favorite teams, leagues, etc) and immediately realize that the only sport being played right now that I’m even remotely interested in is MLB, so I probably didn’t have to agonize whether I wanted to follow the Cavs or Lakers until October. Well, at least I got it out of the way and even though it is 2 ½ half months away, I eagerly anticipate the Jets kicking off their season and following every game as it happens.
Fandango-Movie times for anywhere in the world and the ability to buy tickets over the phone! Like “ScoreCenter” I don’t have a big need for this App right now, but when the second “Iron Man” comes out, I’ll be happy I have it.
Lunch Break-I attempt to use the included “Maps” App to find the nearest Subway (I know damn well where it is, but I wanted to test the GPS). Unfortunately, the included software does not have voice commands for turn-by-turn directions and it is difficult and dangerous to look at the handset while driving. I have heard there are paid Apps available that will announce directions just like traditional GPS systems, but I have not experimented with them yet. However, I am more than willing to pay a few bucks to make a several hundred dollar GPS system that I bought less than a year ago completely obsolete. The Drive-Walk-Public Transportation options are pretty cool and once I get the voice App for directions this should be one of the best features of the iPhone.
BJ’s Wholesale Club-While enjoying a Tuscan Chicken Footlong I get an email from Amber DeLeggas asking me to pick up a digital camera that is on sale at BJ’s. The email included a link to BJ’s website with a picture and the specifications of the camera. Now this was some space-age-sh*t! The phone made buying the wrong item practically impossible and it allowed me to know about sales, rebates and availability before I got to the store…now we’re talking.
I buy the camera and text Amber that the order is completed along with an itemized bill and I am on my way back home to get some more Apps.
iTrade (TDAmeritrade)-I download an App that will allow me to check my stock portfolio anywhere, anytime, anyplace, no questions asked. I see that my account is up $80 bucks*…time for some paid Apps!
(*After completing an MBA, reading several books on investing and following the market since my sophomore year in highs school I am still perplexed as to how I can own what I consider a significant amount of stock in Apple and on one of the biggest days in company history my shares only increase the value of a pair of Air Force One’s. Apparently I am not nearly as bright or as good as an investor as I thought…awesome)
It’s almost time for dinner so I download “Uraban Spoon” in an effort to find the best place to eat in a 20 mile radius. The “Slot Machine” feel of this App, combined with the extensive restaurant listings, reviews and link to directions make it fun and useful. While the App did provide a link to a good Chinese restaurant minutes from my house I was somewhat disappointed that after 10 spins there appears to be only one moderately priced taco restaurant in Seaside Park (Surf Taco).
While sitting in a semi-crowded movie theatre waiting for the horrendous “Year One” to start I begin playing with my iPhone, and this is where it really shines. While these other fools are watching previews for 3-D horror movies I’m checking my email (none), texting people (that proceed to ignore me) and seeing if the Yankees beat the Marlins (they did not).
I lay in bed physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from my first day with Apps. I begin thinking of new Apps that should be developed. The best idea I have is for one called “iMarry” that will allow couples with iPhones to propose to each other and make wedding plans exclusively using their iPhones. Just imagine the following info being typed on the iPhone’s beautiful 3.5 in. touch screen:
iGroom: Would you like to be APP-ily married?
iGroom: Thanks for all the great APP-vice, would you be my best man
iBestMan: I’d by App-y To!
The possibilities are truly endless.
Sunday June 21st 2009
Now that I’ve set up my iPhone to handle my day-to-day affairs (calls, email, finanances, etc.), I begin to search for Apps about my favorite topic: Hip-Hop. I immediately download “Hip-Hop Official” that will allow me to have access to unlimited amounts of Hip-Hop news, gossip, new tracks and video. Finally, I can read about beefs, video vixens and rumored Wu-Tang reunions without being near my computer.
Def Jukebox: This App provides news, blogs, message boards and a constant stream of music from my favorite record label, Def Jux. I am now able to listen to underground Hip-Hop all day long on my phone. I fully realize I was kind of able to do this before with my iPod, but this is still pretty cool.
I spend the last two hours sitting in my room with a smug look of satisfaction on my face and enjoy the iPhone quietly by myself.
Overall Apple’s iPhone 3Gs is great product. The Apps make several facets of life much more convenient and the service and speed is amazing. This is one of the few product I have purchased that completely lived up to the hype.