iPhone 3GS Fail: At Least It Keeps Me Warm
As one of the millions of iPhone 3G owners silently suffering from the iOS4 “upgrade” debacle, I finally threw in the towel a few weeks ago and paid AT&T/Apple $99 to “upgrade” to the 3GS.
I did a fair bit of research before making that decision, and I strongly considered moving to the Android platform, but–although I am a techno-geek, and I relished the opportunity to tinker with the Android–I really didn’t have the time to deal with a new platform.
I did read several articles about the “challenging” battery life of the early 3GS units, so I was prepared to further compromise on the iPhone’s famously lousy battery life, but I was not prepared for the added benefit of my new 3GS keeping me warm this winter prior to shutting itself down from overheating–that is, when the battery lasts long enough for that to happen.
AT&T Fail: No Service, and No Way to Get Help
I live a couple of miles away from a massive WWII-era communications tower (one of those monster 200+ foot tall types that is so large that the building holding all the equipment fits between its legs), so we usually enjoy fantastic wireless signal–even from AT&T.
The past few days, however, we have had flaky to non-existent AT&T service on our iPhones from home. We have AT&T service in other locations (i.e., from other cells), but something is obviously amiss with our local cell, because we can neither make calls nor use data services like e-mail or browsing from our iPhones.
This evening, I finally decided to “reach out” to AT&T via the AT&T Wireless web site to report the problem, see about getting some service credits, etc. Searching Support for “No Service” is an exercise in futility, and we have no landlines (we fired Verizon years ago), so my only option from home is e-mail.
Contact Us — But Don’t
On one hand, it’s handy that monoliths like AT&T are out there as live examples of how notto manage an online presence; on the other hand, being stuck as a consumer of this “presence” adds several new definitions to all the synonyms of “frustration.” Here’s the AT&T Wireless “User Experience” we all get locked into for 2 years at a time:
Clicking “Contact Us” at the top of any page gets you to this page.
One would think that clicking the “Email Us” link would take you to some kind of e-mail functionality, but …
… instead, you are reminded of how much money you are spending each month for this kind of dysfunction.
Let’s see … where was that “Contact Us” link again? Ah … up there at the top.
KO, I’ll go click that again, and guess what?
Deja vu all over again.
OK, just to humor myself, let me take the bait and click that “Email Us” link again (while crossing all appendages, bending over, barking at the moon, and making a mental note to find a good litigator.)
Woo Hoo! NOW we’re talking. Cancel the lawyer; we’re in business!
This information looks good, so let’s go tell them what’s happening by clicking that NEXT button.
Hmmm…well, this did take quite a while to wade through since I first logged on, but shouldn’t my session have been kept alive by all this navigation?
Let me try again…
A couple of iterations later, I’m at the neighbor’s house to call one of those services that boards up broken windows, then off to Best Buy to replace the laptop that flew through that window.
But Wouldn’t an iPhone 4 Have Been Cheaper?
OK, I’m kidding about the window and laptop, but I’m not sure how many years of my life this frustration may have cost me.
I do refuse to pay $300 for an iPhone 4 to “resolve” the problems caused by Apple and AT&T with the iOS4 upgrade abortion.
I also know that lousy signal quality from AT&T is not always correlated to the iOS4 suite of problems.
What I don’t know is–with four iPhones having different “anniversary dates” with AT&T–how I will ever escape this cesspool of failure without paying ransom to the AT&T zombie army.
The 2-Year Lock-in Must End
What really puzzles me is that we all put up with this kind of shoddy service year after year instead of forcing a change. Competition in the marketplace from Verizon will arguably make a difference for new subscribers, but–short of litigation to invalidate the 2-year lock-in–I don’t see a way out for families like mine.
Any innovative ideas out there?