Not SiFi: The Day I Wanted to Toss My iPhone.
I need to start of by saying that I love my iPhone. Before it, I had a good 6 years on the Palm OS platform (Treo's 700P, 600 & 180). That platform was old and tired before I got my 700P. I was looking for the next evolution of the phone and got just that and more with the iPhone.
That said, the unit is not yet perfect. In fact, on Thursday, I wanted to toss my iPhone against a brick wall. I am a consultant for a very large company. The job I have doesn't require me to travel M-TH like previous ones because I'm in an industry group, but I do travel from time to time. Thursday was another such occasion. I had a trip to New York planned with a colleague to visit a potential customer.
Things started off badly for me because my flight was delayed. But these days delays are almost fun when you have an iPhone. Do I listen to music, game, watch the Dark Knight that I purchased the day it came out? Well, first I took care of work then went into some gaming after catching up on Twittter, which includes content for this site.
Things worked beautifully. I boarded my plane, texted my wife to let her know my flight was delayed and left a voice message for my colleague to tell him my revised ETA. Then it happend - the white screen of death.
I've only heard about iPhone problems on forums like this. iPhones overheating (which mine has done for the first time since the 2.2 firmware) and the dreaded white screen of death. I knew the SOP to correct these issues. However, as the flight attendant announced the doors were closed I was still unable to revive my iPhone.
Earlier in the week, I had an iPhone issue where the phone locked up. The issue resolved itself when I got home from the gym and charged the handset. I thought that I could do the same thing to fix it so when we got to 10K feet and we were allowed to fire up electronic devices I used my USB to charge my iPhone to my laptop. However, my laptop battery was drained and Windows was unable to boot.
Next, I remembered the procedure to rid the iPhone of the white screen of death. However, each and every time I went through the process nothing happened. Then I realized I was in a pickle. I was going to land without the ability to communicate with the rest of the world. No web, no texting, no phone and even worse - no ability to access my contact data.
Upon landing I was in a panic. I searched for an outlet and tried to charge the phone. Nothing. I knew I needed to call my colleague who would be in another terminal so I booted my laptop and had to actually write down his cell phone number. Next, I found a bank of pay phones - you know those silver things that people used to use before the advent of the truly portable cell phone? Well, they still exist at LaGuardia airport at the baggage claim area. So I used them to call my friend collect. I also found out that you cannot call a cell phone collect - who knew?
I was able to convince that I had an emergency on my hands and asked her to actually talk to my colleague. She did but my dumb-*** colleague refused the call requiring me to pay for the call via credit card. I did, we spoke and finally were able to meet at the rent a car center.
Once at the rent a car center I asked for a paper clip and tried to remove the SIM card to see if that would help - it didn't but I now know that I'll never have to pay Mapple prices for a new SIM card tool.\
Once my colleague arrived I realized that my iPhone failed me at the one time I needed it most. My old Treo's would not put me in this situation. They were known to freeze up but you could use the stylus to press the restart button or pull the battery and reboot the handset. The iPhone had given me no possible way to restart the system that was currently in an 'infinite loop'. I felt frustrated and betrayed. Worse yet, I wanted a handset from another vendor.
Things turned out better after I got back to LaGuardia before my return flight. I plugged in my laptop to an outlet and connected my iPhone. iTunes was able to read the data on the phone and all on the inside was well although I was unable to see anything in the screen except for the white screen of death. I read up on the WSoD restart procedure again and made another go of it and it actually worked. My phone restarted and I felt a sense of relief. I still looked at my phone with a sense of bitterness after because of what it put me through. After all, I'm supposed to head to California after the 1st of the year and what if this happens again? At least I'll be in the Bay Area and can toss my phone at Steve Jobs, but that's not the point. My frustration is all about reliability when you need it most. I didn't get it on that day. I have since, but I still have a voice in my head to beware the next time this happens.
I still love and believe in this platform, but also want to see a back up so this doesn't happen to people in situations like the one I faced. Maybe Handspring/Palm is right to include a restart button in the event of emergency. It will not take away from the incredible aesthetics of the iPhone since the SIM card has a similar hole. But leaving us nothing after having a significant failure is not comforting at all.
Best of luck to you all and Happy Holidays! And just as important, I hope that your iPhone OS is rock solid when you need it most!