i-Fan of the i-Phone

I finally caved last week and purchased an iPhone 4 now that my cellular carrier, Verizon, started offering them back in February 2011. My friend and business partner has been in love with them pretty much since they first came out, in mid-2007. Honestly, I’ve never heard him go on about a woman the way he went on about that damn phone. And as much as he’s been right about nearly everything, I still resisted. I have been a Palm OS fan since the early 2000s, when I got my first CLIE PDA. (That’s back when everyone thought the PDA was the be-all, end-all of existence; and that fad passed soon enough. So too, would the iPhone, thought I!)

But recently, my little Treo has been letting me down and Verizon has been nagging both me and Robo to upgrade our phones. We’ve been eligible for upgrades for several years and I have pestered my bestie to help me choose a new phone and he has suggested some for me, such as a few HTC models. Because of my bad eyesight, not every phone screen will be good for me. And, as I said before, he’s never steered me wrong before, not in the last six years that I’ve known him. And though he took the time to carefully review the possible choices, I never followed through, preferring to stand pat with the known and fear the unknown.

So since Robert recently misplaced his trusty Motorola Slvr, I decided to upgrade his phone. He said he wanted to be able to play games on his phone. And I thought surfing the net might not be a bad idea either, especially since we are both stuck in his doctor’s office waiting room for hours on end at least once a month. I decided on the Samsung Continuum, an Android-based smartphone. I found a certified refurb on the Verizon web site for $19.95 and free shipping. Not bad, considering this is a $450+ phone. And with Robo’s propensity for dropping them and losing them, a smart price to pay. (We also have insurance on his line.) So the phone came while he was in the hospital and I sat around and set some things up for him, played with it and explored it and really liked some of the features. Clearly, my Palm Treo 700P was getting quite long in the tooth. After a couple of hours with the new Droid, I was hooked.

A few days later, I went back on the Verizon web site to see about an iPhone. If I am going to get a new smartphone, as nice as Robo’s Droid is, I want the real deal. To my delight, they were still $99 with my “new every two” plan. And when the rep looked up my account and found out I’d been a Verizon customer since 2002, he knocked an additional $50 off my current bill. How cool is that? I should also mention that while I was selecting Robo’s new phone, which required a data plan, the rep checked our account and found out that we were paying for messaging that we didn’t need and had more minutes than we’d ever use in a lifetime. Making account adjustments that she recommended shaved another $30/month off the bill and that allowed me to go ahead and purchase a decent (2GB/month) data plan for Robo for … $30/month! I had been grandfathered in on the now-unavailable unlimited broadband for $44.95/month and I’m glad I was. I don’t want to have to ever worry about my time online, especially with this time-suck of a phone!

Naturally, when I got the phone, Ivan was the first person to get a (muddy) picture of the new toy. (By necessity, I had to take it with my Treo’s camera.) After resurrecting my old iTunes account, I was up and running and had the iPhone syncing to my music (first things first), and then settled in for an evening of configuring the phone and browsing for apps. I’m not going to load up my phone with a lot of useless apps. There are some that I already know I want and need, based on my phone usage habits, and naturally, the superior capabilities of this new phone will spawn some more “must haves,” but I want to live with the phone for awhile to see exactly what it can do and what I need.

Pretty much right away I figured out that, unlike with the Droid phone, default icons are there to stay. You just have to stash them in a folder and/or on another screen. The folder concept is great so I created some folders and corralled some apps that way. Here are screen shots of my two pages:

iPhone Home Screen after customization

As you can see, I customized the bottom icon screen. Default are the phone, email, iTunes and Safari. I decided it was more important for me to have contacts and settings in place of iTunes and Safari, since my primary use for this phone (at least that’s my story) will be as a phone. I made folders for categories of apps and kept the things I launch the most (and this may change as time goes on) out on their own so I don’t have to tap a folder to get to them.

Second Screen, customized

So far, after stashing most of my apps in folders on the home screen, I have so far found I don’t need many other screens. I did want a dedicated screen for web surfing which would include the browser and any bookmarks I might have. I set Robo’s Droid up that way so he could find his bookmarks easily and that seemed the best thing to do with my own phone as well.

So far, the apps I’ve installed include the usual social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Piicu and a few other fun sharing apps. I also experimented with several different GoogleTalk apps before deciding I’d make do with the web-based gTalk app offered by Google itself. I very much ilke the built in gTalk module on my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, but since that’s Linux-based, good luck finding anything remotely like it in the Apple store. (And no, Ivan, I’m NOT getting rid of that any time soon, as much as I know you love to hate it, too. It’s the best thing for laying in bed and chatting with you that I’ve found, plus there’s a game or two on there that I am addicted to and cannot give up!)

So finally, I’ve come to the dark side, drank the Kool-Aid and eaten the cookies (“We have cookies!”). And so far, I love how it’s opened up new worlds of things to do and people to pester! Oh, and I can still make the occasional phone call too! After all, it is called an iPhone!

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