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Making the switch - iPhone to "something not iPhone"

This week I made the leap away from Apple for my phone, thus ending my romance with Apple of the last year. This time last year I bought my first piece of Apple hardware - the iPhone 3G. At the time I had the choice to either wait, for potentially weeks, for the new iPhone 3GS, or take a 3G home with me on that day. Being me (an impatient, “want it now” kinda girl - OK a little bit Veruca Salt-ish!), I went for the 3G.

My experience was top-notch from day one, I loved the phone and thought that Apple had solved every issue I had ever had with previous “smart” or “PDA-style” phones. It ran smoothly, emails displayed beautifully on it (a vast improvement on my Nokia E71, which was text-only email and so fairly useless for me on the go), and best of all there was a plentitude on apps, all at very reasonable prices, if not for free.

Then on July 21, 2010, my Apple-loving life (or year, at least) changed forever.

A bad experience during upgrade didn’t help. Ironically, this was caused by my other “want it now” fit earlier this year, when I bought an iMac 24″ at a very good sale price (since it was superseeded by then), which I tried (and tried, and tried, and tried) to run Windows 7 on using Parallels Desktop. Unfortunately, a “Blue Screen of Death” half way through the iPhone upgrade caused the upgrade to fail miserably and effectively bricked my phone. Thankfully, I was able to do a refresh, and then restore the phone contents from my backup prior to commencing the upgrade (lesson cemented in my brain forever: backup, backup, backup - if you only need to use it once, it’s worth all the times you’ve had to wait for it).

(Aside: it was after this experience that I also decided to buy a “real PC” again and now the iMac sits next to me as a constant reminder of my $1,700 six month affair. In the end ‘t’s just become a very expensive solution for handling files from designers that I work with who use Mac-only fonts!).

So once my iPhone was up and running again, I was quickly disappointed with the results. It turned out that most of the “cool” parts of the new OS version were not turned on for the 3G – because apparently they were too resource-hungry for it to handle. Well I can understand that, and agree to it – of cour’e I’d prefer a useable phone over multitasking. However, unfortunately they must have still missed something along the way, as the phone still started to run like a dog.

Over the next week or two, I noticed a progressive decrease in the performance of the phone. I found a few people on forums suggesting that a full rebuild of the phone, with a complete fresh start, made a big difference. So I did that, and in the process had to setup the entire phone again (nothing lost, though, just synced contacts from Outlook, all ran really well, actually!). The result seemed promising – it was so much quicker again!

Then it all started going pear-shaped again, and over the next few weeks, the performance again decreased more and more (even with restarts), until I was so close to throwing the phone out of the window that it wasn’t healthy!

I’m talking the “Messages” section taking upwards of 15 seconds to open, tasks that use the keyboard taking up to 20 seconds to prepare for typing, checking emails became a nightmare task that I’d have to allow at least a minute for, just to purely get the latest 3 brief emails off the server and view them (if I saw that “loading” message while it was still downloading the message one more time…).

At the end of the day, I felt ripped off by Apple. The response most people suggested to these performance issues was that Apple expected people with the 3G phone to now start upgrading to the iPhone 4. ‘hat’s all well and good for people who bought the 3G phones at release, but for people like me, who bought it towards the end of their life on the shelv’s, we’re still on contract for another year!

If you want to build loyalty in customers, look after them even after the sale, and don’t just assume that they will want to upgrade to the “latest and greatest” when you release it. The same applies in all business, really.

So, I now have a non-Apple phone (a HTC Desire – yep, Android, the exact competition of Apple, it was always going to be either that or a Windows Mobile phone), which syncs perfectly with my non-Apple computer, in my non-Apple office.

Nice try, Apple, you almost had me with your shiny computers and gadgets, but you know what they say…. you can take the girl away from the PC, but you can’t take the PC out of the girl (especially not if she’s a robot)…