Since it's been so long since we've spoken, I've amassed a number of things I wanted to share with you. Sadly, I've forgotten most of them. Here's the first one I remember.
1) I can no longer live under the protective mantra of "Oh, I'd never BUY an iPhone, I just use this one because I won it in a contest." That's right. I bought an iPhone 3G. Go ahead, mock -- I'll wait. So the purchasal of the 3G is noteworthy for another reason: it marked my first venture into an Apple Store.
Know how when, walking into a skyscraper or something, there's often an air pressure differential? Where, you can feel the conditioned air ruffling your clothes and hair as you open the door? That's what the Apple Store is like, except that the pressure differential is not with the air, it's with SMUG. You can sort of smell the smug leaking out around the doorframe as you approach, but when you open that door... it's almost overpowering. If my hair weren't firmly glazed up in a mohawk prior to entering, the blast of smug would surely have formed a fauxhawk of some sort. Those hipster glasses? They're not so much for fashion as they are EYE PROTECTION from the smug.
The first thing you notice about the Apple Store is just how many employees there are. The second thing you notice is that none of them can actually HELP you. I asked if they had any 3Gs in stock and was told:
"Yep! We sure do!"
I let a full beat pass before adding:
"Well, can I BUY one?"
This required her flagging down some other hipster employee, who passed me off at least 3 more times. Then I was left standing for 5 minutes while the latest hipster went to go try to find a 3G for me to purchase. While Hipster #5 was in search of my iPhone, I got to witness a conversation that nearly made my head explode. It was between a Typical Mac Owner and an Apple Store Hipster, and it went like this:
TMO: "Hi, I bought this iPhone and I can't get it to work."
ASH: "Oh? What happened?"
TMO: "Well, I plugged it into my Mac and iTunes said it needed to upgrade itself to version 7.7"
TMO: "So I tried to do that, but it said it couldn't."
ASH: "Right. You must be running Kitten."
TMO: "Yeah. I am."
ASH: "WELL, iTunes 7.7 requires that you be running Sabretooth, not Kitten."
TMO: "Oh. So I need to upgrade in order to use this $200 phone I just bought?"
TMO: "So I just run Mac Update --"
ASH: "Oh, no, you have to BUY Sabretooth. That'll be $299."
TMO: "Wait... so, in order to use this $200 phone I just bought, I have to spend like another $300 to upgrade my operating system first?"
TMO: "... ... OK! Let's do that! HERE ARE MY CREDIT CARDS!"
That conversation ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Geez. Apple customers...
Anyway, all said and done, I got out of there with an iPhone 3G. Most of the smug did eventually come off -- not all of it, mind you; Apple smug can never really be completely removed. I still catch my internal monologue mocking people without iPhones sometimes.
After getting home, I proceeded to get all the contacts from my old iPhone to show up on the new one. This took 45 minutes of frustrated fighting with iTunes on D's machine. In the end, after only ending up with the contents of D's Outlook contacts on my phone, I decided to try letting iTunes sync my contacts to Google Contacts. That did the trick. Except that now every email address that has ever sent mail to my gmail account is now a contact on my iPhone. Good thing the phone app filters contacts to show only the ones that have phone numbers associated -- wait? It DOESN'T filter them? Whose stupid frakking idea was THAT? So now, in addition to thousands of contacts on my phone, all the people who have both a phone number AND were in my Google Contacts have duplicate entries in my address book. Well, not DUPLICATE, per se; one has phone number, another has email address. Thanks, Apple.
So the iPhone 3G has GPS capability that is quite awesome. Many apps support it, allowing you to, for instance, look up movie listings without having to put in a location. Find which of the five Starbuckses that you can currently see is the closest. Stuff like that. It's really great -- or WOULD be, if it didn't always think I was in Houston, Texas whenever 3G is turned on. (Which is pretty much always... why would you turn it OFF?)
Despite this annoying crap, a jailbroken iPhone is by far the most "open" internet device/phone I've ever used, so I'm unapologetic about my love for it. It does make me feel a little funny, though, being seen with one. The anti-hipster in me cringes and can only be quieted by showing it all the awesome stuff MY iPhone can do that Apple doesn't approve of.
That preposition at the end of that sentence means it's time for me to once again bid you adieu.
Well said. That's the most eerily accurate description of the Apple store I've read.
And that exchange with the customer is priceless. Or, rather, about $500. People say that macs are so powerful and so great and so easy to use, but in my experience, Apple tech support is this.
"I can't do X on my iThing."
"Is that the new iThing?"
"No, it's the one from two months ago."
"Oh, that explains it. You'll need to get the new one."
"Okay! Sounds good!"
The thing with the issue of having to upgrade the OS in order to use some new gadget does seem silly, but it's not much different from MS selling Vista and telling people they will need new or practically new machines to use it. And I know Vista was pretty explicit about requiring newer/better equipment to run, but I don't know how well the Apple products in question were marketed as requiring certain software to run. Whether it's a case of Apple not informing the customers well enough or the customers being too stupid to read or comprehend, I can't speak to, but their willingness to plop down another few hundred dollars is the bothersome part.
The activated the phone at the Apple Store, plugging it into two razor blades. He claimed it was a macbook, but it was two razor blades. No chrome, no white; just razor-blade-colored razorblades, the top-most with a glowing apple in the middle of it.
If ever I decide to commit suicide, I'm doing it at the Apple Store with one of those down my wrists.
Well, your situation does indeed make sense, but it's not a proper analogy...
Buying a new OS comes with the expectations of hardware assessment, but buying a phone that also happens to be a USB device does not make one think of buying a new OS. That's what we're talking about here.
Makes me think that Apple is the Obama of computers in that it promises change. However, you find out after getting it in the office that the change is really just the same old crap the other candidates are doing but in a different way.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
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