I'm making a call, trying to adjust myself to the phone, holding it at the top instead of the bottom, so as to not jeopardize reception. What happened to Apple's iPad marketing, where the device adjust itself to you? Why am I changing the way I've held cellphones for the last decade to
avoid a design issue? It feels foreign. It feels like I might drop my phone.
Then I forget. My hand slips down to the accustomed position, covering up the antenna with meat and sweat and humanity. The call maintains. There's ever-so-slightly more distortion in the voice, but I can still hear the other person fine. I'm lucky to live in one of AT&T's well-covered areas. Those with mediocre reception to begin with see
a bigger impact, documented, when they use the death grip.
I'm fiddling with the phone over 3G, flipping through maps, searching Twitter, checking mail. The otherwise zippy phone feels winded. There is no alternative to the death grip when I hold the phone in the left hand and point with the right—that's the only way I can hold the phone.
I don't want to get a case.
* * *
How was my $500 Sanyo camcorder, bought on that trip to Japan, obviated by a 720p cellphone camera? The same way point and shoots and Flip minicams are now being eaten into with the camera that everyone has on them—the one on their phone. And hell, this phone is
actually better than most of those single-use devices.
My 1080p Sanyo is fantastic. It has one thousand and eighty pees. Someone even emailed me to ask what camera it was, when I
uploaded my own reception problem video. But hell if I ever carry it with me, even if it's only slightly bigger than my fist. There's only room for one fist in each of my pockets, and pocket one is spoken for.
The iPhone will be there. It's the
camera that counts, the camera that's with you when you get into a traffic accident, when someone's about to do something stupid, when you're doing something you've never done before.
But I have to decide, do I put more consumable content on my phone, or do I save more of that 32GB for making memories?
* * *
My dad calls. He needs his printer fixed, or he forgot how to log into Gmail, or he had a recurrence of old-person syndrome and entirely forgot how to use a computer. It doesn't matter which.
He asks me about the new iPhone. I recommend he doesn't get it.
"You actually make a lot of phone calls, unlike me. Plus, AT&T is lousy where you are. Plus there's the reception issue, which gets exacerbated* when there's low signal. As for the rest, it's improved in many ways. But stick with what you've got now."**
I didn't use the word "exacerbated" over the phone.
** Also, this conversation actually occurred in Chinese.
* * *
I surprise, no, shock, my wife with the iPhone flash in the dark. She is not amused. I am. I am a child.
There's now light where there was no light before. Drunken New York bar exploits will be all the clearer now, illuminating various conquests, trophies mounted on Facebook the next morning, all with tiny pupils adjusting to the harsh glare. It's not perfect, but it's better than not having a flash.
I imagine thousands of these damn iPhone flashes at the next basketball game I go to, illuminating all of a full three feet ahead of these people, making the back of the bald guy's head in Row 27 look amazingly clear. Kobe, on the other hand, will still be lit just fine by the fluorescent bulbs of the Staples Center.
* * *
I keep picking up the phone, looking inside, and finding things to do. I want to use it.
I can't go back to the 3GS. The speed, the camera, the screen, the non-humpback, the video chatting. Once you have it, you can't give it up.
But I'm scared. Not of dropping calls because I'm holding it wrong—I don't make a lot of them, and when I do, they're not so critical that I can't call someone back. Plus, I have a Batphone landline and work at home. I'm scared for data. I can never hold the phone naturally because I'm afraid I'm getting a
quarter of the speeds I was getting before. Like a parent with a child too lazy or too difficult to live up to his potential, I'm frustrated and confused and sad. You love it too much, and you can't give it up, but something's wrong. So like most, I focus on the good qualities. The speed, the camera, the screen. So what if he throws a tantrum when I hold him wrong? He's my boy.