Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why I Am an iPhone Fan

Gracie plays with my iPhone 4.  At age 19 months, she is quite adept at navigating the screens and finding her games.
What's not to love about an iPhone? It's a beautiful cell phone with a bright, engaging touch screen. It has access to thousands, if not millions, of apps that can do many wondrous things. You can use it to view photos and videos, to listen to music via the iPod app, to communicate with people via email, text, or voice, and even to surf the web. It is a marvelous invention!

Although I had heard of the iPhone and iPod for several months or maybe a couple of years, I didn't really understand what was so special about them until I looked at the demo version of the iPhone 3 at the local AT&T store in the mall. Although I've been a techie-geek-type for many years, I was pretty much out of the loop at that time. I still remember what impressed me most about the iPhone and what started me drooling over it: YouTube. I thought it was so neat that you could pull up any video you wanted. I would always pull up this video which shows one of my favorite singing groups at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, singing one of my favorite songs "What a Saviour He Is."

About 2-1/2 years ago, I began looking at phones since I knew that my contract would be ending in July. I was hesitant to get the iPhone because of the expense ($200 for the iPhone, an extra $30 monthly charge for the data plan). I looked at a number of different phones, but always came back to the iPhone.

On May 9, which was a Saturday, my husband Robert and I went out on the town. I don't remember where we ate that day, but I remember he said he had a surprise for me. We went driving towards the mall, and I said, "Oh, are we going to AT&T?" He had a perplexed, surprised look on his face, and he said, "Why do you say that?" I can't remember my reply, but it had to do with something he had mentioned wanting to do. I had no idea that we were going to go there to get me a new iPhone!! It was an exciting time. I still remember the salesgirl who took care of the transaction. You may wonder why Robert chose this particular day to surprise me with my iPhone. After all, my birthday was still more than a month away. The special occasion was that the next day, Sunday, was Mother's Day. Although we would not be sure for another week, we thought we were pregnant with our first child, my beautiful daughter Gracie. Robert was taking it on faith that we were expecting and wanted to make this First Mother's Day a special one for me! The next day, he had a balloon for me that said "It's a Girl" This was a very special weekend for me. All you mothers should understand. There's nothing like wanting children for ever-so-long, and finally having that dream come true.

There's not a day that goes by that I do not use my iPhone. I do not like to talk on the phone (probably a holdover from being a telemarketer and then a customer service representative for three years), but I do like having a phone with me where-ever I go. I do not keep a file of contact information on the computer like I used to. It's all on my phone. (incidentally, it's also synced with Google so that I do have access on my computer and there's little worry that I'll lose the information.)

I use the Cozi app (also available on the computer) to keep track of important events and appointments. You can have Cozi send you a reminder text which really comes in handy.

With the Google Maps and Yellow Pages apps, I can find the nearest location and contact information for certain businesses and get directions for how to get there!

I can also keep in touch with my social media using the Echofon (for Twitter), Facebook, and Byline (for reading blogs) apps.

Blogger has just put out an app that enables me to post on my blog. I usually use it to type out ideas to use in future posts which I save as drafts. At this very moment, I am using this app to continue writing this post as I sit on the couch with Robert who is watching some guy movie.

There are some fun games to play including Words with Friends. Robert and I will sit in the same room and play each other. When I was pregnant with Gracie, I got hooked on the game Gold Rush. I was determined to get three stars on every level, so I made maps of each on graph paper (told you I was a geek!).

Right before Gracie was born, Robert tried out a couple of other smartphones and finally decided that nothing beats the iPhone! He got the iPhone 3GS which has video. He was able to use his phone to take videos of Gracie right after she was born (even though a nurse had told us this was not allowed as I was having a c-section). These videos are very precious to me.

Robert has used his phone to do online stock trading. We both use our phones to do google searches and other Internet research when we are away from the computer. The screens are rather small for this (which is why mobile versions of websites are so nice), so we have to pinch and zoom quite a bit. Even so, it is very handy to have a world of information at our fingertips.

Fourteen months ago, my husband got me the iPhone 4 for my birthday. This phone is much more improved over the iPhone 3 with better reception, better resolution, better photos, and better video over the iPhone 3GS.

My daughter inherited my old iPhone 3GS and LOVES it! We have misplaced it twice. The first time was right after our Christmas trip to see family. I finally found it camouflaged in my backpack while getting ready to go to my mom's this last June. The second time was last week, and we still haven't found it. Please pray that we do find it. It's a great educational tool and keeps her entertained.  UPDATE:  The iPhone has been found!  Hooray and Praise the Lord!  It was in a plastic bowl in my pantry.  A little squirrel put it there.

The only negative I can really think of is that when we go visit my mom in rural South Mississippi, we do not get good reception.  Unfortunately, Mama is not part of the "97% of Americans" that AT&T boasts having coverage for.  With my original iPhone 3, I got NO coverage whatsoever.  With Robert's iPhone 3GS, I think he gets spotty at best coverage.  With my iPhone 4, I surprisingly am able to make and receive calls and texts.  My internet capability is spotty at best.  That is only at my mom's house.  At my Grandparents' house, which is just across the road and down a few hundred feet, I can only use the phone on the front porch.

Rumor has it that the new iPhone 5 will be coming out in mid-October.  If you are in the market for a new iPhone, I would definitely wait until the iPhone comes out and either get the new iPhone 5 or get the iPhone 4 which should be deeply discounted, much like the iPhone 3GS was last Christmas.

If you're not an AT&T fan, you also have the option of getting the iPhone through Verizon, and beginning with the iPhone 5, through Sprint as well.  From what I understand, the Verizon phone is different (not as good) as the AT&T phone.  I don't know how different the Sprint version will be.

I'm not sure how long ago, but AT&T changed their data usage from unlimited to limited with new iPhone customers.  Because Robert and I were existing customers, we kept our unlimited data plan.  I do believe that Verizon also offers a limited data plan, but I've read that Sprint will be offering an unlimited data plan.  You'll have to check that out for yourself, though.

Looking at AT&T's website, there are three data plans available for the iPhone 4:  4 Gb ($45), 2 Gb ($25), and 200 Mb ($15).  I just looked at our AT&T bills for this year and noticed that with the exception of the January bill, I have not gone over 1 Gb of data usage.  The January bill showed over 2 Gb of data usage.  This was quite surprising to me. It seems that we could actually go with one of the limited data plans and save money in the long run.  The overage fine is $10 per 1 Gb (It does not say if that is a prorated amount.)

Special Updated Section:  How to Find a Lost iPhone (without totally losing your mind)

How to Enable and Use Find My iPhone for Free on iPhone 3GS and Other Pre-2010 Devices -- This will work for the iPhone 3 IF you have a newer device as well.

 Find a Lost iPhone:  Putting Tracking Apps to the Test
(I have only tried one of these apps.)

14 Ways to Find a Lost or Stolen iPhone


In future posts, I will be highlighting various apps.  If there is anything else you would like to know about, please leave a comment below.

You may want to read the comments below for more information on the iPhone.
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  1. I have an iPhone 3G which I bought almost two years ago through the AT&T web site. It was a refurbished iPhone, so I only paid $50 for it. I thought that was a great bargain, but now they are GIVING them away. *sigh*

    Anyway, I too love my iPhone. I keep it with me wherever I am--even when I am walking around the office building where I work. If I am in a file room or in a different part of the building, the people I work for can find me. I work for the corporate counsel of a company, and there have been occasions when he sends me a text message while he is sitting in a meeting, asking me to look up information for him or bring a file. He doesn't have to disrupt the meeting by placing a phone call, and I can get the information to him immediately. He says when he wants information he just goes to his "Linda app" also known as his "easy button".

    I am not a great fan of talking on the phone either, and when most of my church friends also got iPhones we all discovered texting. That is how we communicate now. In fact, a few months ago several of the ladies were decorating the church for an event, and although we were in the same building we would text each other (please bring two large mixing bowls from the kitchen to the fellowship hall, does anyone have an extra roll of cream colored crepe ribbon--we need it in the lobby, etc.) When the pastor figured out we were texting each other although some of us were only two rooms apart, he was incredulous, but it really did save us from running around from room to room looking for a person or seeking needed items.

    My two-year AT&T plan will expire in November, and I think I will upgrade to the iPhone 4. I'm hoping to get some sort of a discount, perhaps by then they will offer refurbished iPhone 4 models. You can only get those through the AT&T web site, I believe. The only reason I'm upgrading is that Apple no longer supports the iPhone 3G, so no more upgrades to the operating system. I've only had the phone for two years and it's already obsolete!! Eeek!!

    I also was grandfathered in to the unlimited data minutes. I wonder how long AT&T will continue that? Theoretically, they could decide to start charging all of us for data at some point.

    I also won an iPad 3G through an online giveaway. I really *love* my iPad. The OliveTree Bible Software iPad app is fantastic, and I've gotten several people at work hooked on it.

    I look forward to hearing more about your favorite iPhone apps. Now I'm going to go look at the Cozi app. It sounds like something I would really like to have!

  2. Thanks for this review. I only have 1 question when you do use the phone is the sound quality good? Any echoing? The guy at the Verizon store said the iphone5 would be out by Christmas so we're thinking of keeping an eye out when they discount the iphone4. Thanks again for this review it was very informative and helpful. A sweet story about how you got your first iphone too. Blessings! :-)

  3. Miss Linda, our pastor started "textification groups" (edification by texting) at church. We are in groups of ~4 ladies or men (same gender groups, of course). We text each other sharing blessings, burdens, nuggets from Bible reading, etc. It's really a great thing.

    If we cannot find Gracie's iPhone (I intend on going through a thorough search and rescue tonight after my husband gets home), I would like to buy your iPhone 3 from you when you upgrade.

    AT&T does have refurbished iPhone 4s. I'm pretty sure I did see some when I was looking up the information about the data plans.

  4. Laurie, the sound quality is good, but not great. My husband works in a machine shop and he sometimes cannot hear the phone ring. Neither one of us have great hearing, and that does pose somewhat more of a problem. I cannot use the phone while on the interstate. I meant to say something about this in my review, but I thought about it after I'd published it.

    There is no echoing except in the rare instances where there's a crazy connection with the person you're calling. This happened last night. I called my mom, it never rang, but it showed that it was connected. When I spoke, I heard my voice echoing. I had to hang up and call her back. She said that she was inside my grandparents' house. Even though she is with Cellular South, reception is not good at my grandparents' either.

  5. Dear Ava,

    I really like the idea of the "textification groups" your pastor has established! A wonderful idea!

    It's so funny, because the second before I read your sentence about purchasing my iPhone I thought, "if they can't find their iPhone I can give them mine". Please let's talk about that. I had planned on finding someone to give this phone to when I buy my new one. I'm not interested in selling it. I like to give things away when I no longer need them (I do that with computers, phones and yes even my last car which was an old Honda that had 200,000 miles on it--I gave it to a family in my church five years ago and believe it or not that old car is STILL going strong!!) I would be most happy to send you my phone once I replace it, but please keep in mind that I think that won't be until later in November and you may not wish to wait that long. My iPhone is refurbished, but I can tell you that I have never had one iota of trouble with it. It was packed just like a new phone and has never given me a bit of trouble.

    Can you try calling the number of the missing iPhone? Perhaps you could hear it ring? Or turning off the lights in the house so you could see it light up when it rings?

  6. Thanks for this great information. Maybe someday, I'll have need of this knowledge! :)

  7. Miss Linda, Thank you so much for your kind offer! I found Gracie's iPhone about an hour ago -- in a bowl in the pantry. I knew it had to be in a random, strange place, and I was right.

    Oh, and her iPhone does not have phone service. It's much like an iPod Touch with what it can do (except that it can't do the newer apps which are written for iPhone 3GS and above). It connects to the internet via WiFi. I installed the Find My iPhone app tonight and that should help us in the future.

    Valerie, I do hope you get to have an iPhone one day! You would love it!

  8. In a bowl in the pantry? *shakes head* Little ones certainly do "put things away" in the strangest places, don't they?? I'm so happy you found it, and I'm sure your little Technology Princess is VERY glad you found it!! I am interested in the Find My iPhone app. I'll have to look into that. My iPhone is never more than a few inches from me at any given time, but you just never know.