The car park iPhone purchasing decision

I’ve just bought an iPhone, despite saying I wouldn’t. It’s not because O2’s dumped its daft data transfer limit, although that helps. It’s not that O2’s decided to play nice with existing customers or that its iPhone tariff actually saves me a tenner compared to the Blackberry contract I’m on, although that helps too. And it’s not pure techno-lust, although that’s part of it. It’s because I spent the other night standing in the pouring rain in a supermarket car park, cursing my phone.

The other night, we needed something for the baby and it couldn’t wait. After trawling the supermarkets without success, I tried to find a late night chemist. No bother – just Google it. So I did. Or rather, I spent ages typing the search query into my Blackberry’s browser, hit OK, and got the Google home page instead. No search. So I typed the search again, and the browser crashed.

In the end I phoned home, and Mrs Bigmouth used the laptop to Google for me. When you’re paying 40-odd quid per month for an internet-enabled phone, that just isn’t good enough.

Plus, the iPhone looks nice.

(A little later – the iPhone may look nice but my God, O2 really are a bunch of spanners)

17 thoughts on “The car park iPhone purchasing decision

  1. Gary says:

    Apple store? Queue? Pffft. Wandered down to my local carphone warehouse at 5.55pm, joined the other two chaps in the queue (nice blokes but hilariously Mac – a snowboarding graphic designer and a keen photographer) and had an iPhone by 6.03pm. And then endured 25 minutes of dead chip and pin network, desperate upselling, blah blah blah.

    Moving from a business contract is a pain in the arse, boys and girls. You need to sign up for a new contract and then beg the business team to transfer your number, which I *think* is happening now ’cause the blackberry’s giving me a SIM Card Rejected error. So right now I’m not receiving any texts or incoming calls, because the number’s in limbo. This could take several days. Bah.

    Stephen Fry nailed it in today’s Guardian btw. Despite its flaws – the stupid sodding headphone socket being a particular pain, EDGE coverage non-existent round these parts, ringtone restrictions etc – it really does make you grin a lot. Mrs Bigmouth wants one too, and she doesn’t usually give a toss about gadgetry.

  2. Stephen says:

    Just got back from the Brent Cross Apple store, which has about 200 of them available to play with. I do like it very much, but… I found the typing disappointing: I definitely cannot type with my thumbs, like I can on my work BlackBerry, and even with my index finger, I still hit the wrong letter a fair amount (although I admit auto-correct never missed during my testing). And browsing was s-l-o-w (although that may have been the overloaded Apple Store wifi). And I just think 8Gb is far too small. My 15Gb iPod is full of music, as it’s too old to have anything else: now I must make do with half as much, and also load on video, pics, email attachments, browser cache… not sure about that.

    So I’ve left it for the moment.

  3. Squander Two says:

    Well, the Nokia E90 is still preposterously good. And it has built-in GPS with a search function, so I say “Feh!” to Google and simply type “chemist” into the phone and see locations pop up on the map. Nice. It was also really cool using it on the ferry to watch our progress across the Irish Sea.

  4. Gary says:

    Aye, the typing’s a bit fiddly. Dunno whether I’m getting used to it or it’s getting used to me, or both. If you hold down a letter and move your thumb you can move to the right letter without having to backspace, which I didn’t suss at first.

    I think browsing speed will be the Apple Store being overloaded. Certainly on wireless here it’s just as fast as the Mac laptops.

    I think for me it’s working because I have a very specific set of requirements. I want a phone I can sync (both ways) with iCal, that I can get email on, that has enough room for a bus journey’s worth of tunes and that has a browser. That way I can leave the 80GB iPod in the car. That’s what I got the blackberry for but its music performance is desperate – it’s too slow to be usable, at least when you use a memory card – and I’ve had big problems with the browser. I’m about to test whether I can do blog admin from the iPhone; I can certainly do online banking, which the blackberry can’t handle.

    The other thing that’s maybe unique to me is that going iPhone actually *saves* me money. £35 per month sounds like a lot but my BB contract is £46 per month, and as it turns out data charges are on top of that.

    Basically pre-iPhone I had to carry the big iPod and the blackberry around with me, and forget about mobile web use.

  5. Gary says:

    Yep, can do blog admin. Excellent.

    FWIW O2’s own iPhone insurance is half the price of carphone warehouse’s.

  6. Stephen says:

    Yeah, I picked up on the “moving finger to correct” bit. I may also have been hampered by the big anti-theft tether stuck to the back of the thing. (When I took it off I got thrown out, ha ha!)

    I think you’re right, I just don’t need it enough. My work email is on the work BlackBerry Pearl, so iPhone would only be for personal email, which isn’t that important to have on the move, and might be a distraction at work to be honest, I purposely never log into personal email at work. It would be nice to take only BB and iPhone instead of BB and Razr and iPod, but £270 nice? I can’t use the web on the train anyway so never really bothered with BB’s browser but I’m prepared to believe it’s crap. But iPhone web won’t be any more usable until they install wifi on my train…

    And I’m only paying £25 to Orange for the Razr, and obviously nothing for the BB…

    Wonder how much the E90 is on Orange…

  7. Stephen says:

    Hmm, Orange don’t offer it yet. 02 do it for £220 on an 18-month £35 contract so it doesn’t seem to be a screaming deal. And it looks huge. And what’s with the Zune colour scheme? It looks kind of like a normal thin mobile stuck onto a brown leather spectacles case. Or is it just me?

  8. Squander Two says:

    How much? jesus wept. I got my E90 on O2 for 20 quid, on a 40-a-month-for-18-months contract. They must have hoiked the price up in the last few weeks. Maybe they’ll hoik it back down again.

    It’s not huge, but it ain’t small. I always say it’s small for a laptop, which is pretty close to what it is. I love the look of it, myself. And what the pictures don’t show is that it’s the most expensive feeling phone I’ve ever held. Not heavy, but solid and non-plasticky.

  9. Gary says:

    Yeah, I picked up on the “moving finger to correct” bit.

    Having spent some time with it I think I’m actually faster than I was on the blackberry. When you get the hang of the autocomplete/correct and the bigger landing zones (it tries to guess what letters come next, and makes the landing zone bigger) it’s actually pretty speedy. One thing it can’t seem to handle is big text input fields, though – so for example I can write a post title in wordpress but can’t get the keyboard to work on the actual post field. If that makes sense.

    I think you’re right, I just don’t need it enough.

    I was thinking about this some more and I think that for me, it’s exactly what I’ve been trying to get for a good few years now – from early arsing about with the Palm + mobile combination through various smartphones including SPVs, XDAs, Sony Ericsson walkmans and then the blackberry pearl. In many ways the iPhone is what I wanted the XDA to be way back when: a phone and PDA that I can use for the odd bit of music on the bus or quick web lookup. I hate to think how much I’ve wasted over the years with smartphones that *should* have done everything but which didn’t quite get there. Another example of Apple learning from other people’s mistakes and making them look a bit silly, I think.

    Basically it’s the tablet Mac I’ve wanted for ages.

    I really wish I could take the Stocks and YouTube buttons off the home page though. That, and get a few third-party apps. And use Girls Aloud songs as ringtones without having to buy them again. That’s not too far away though.

    I do think the biggest effect of the iPhone is likely to be the big kick up the arse it’ll give handset firms. It doesn’t do anything new – my XDA did web, email and touch screen, my Sony did a reasonable job of music, etc etc etc – but it does it *properly*. So when it’s widely copied, which it will be, it’ll all filter down to more affordable phones.

    It should also mean better data tariffs. Pre-iPhone, O2’s data plans were evil. I don’t see how they can sustain that now they’re doing flat-rate for one handset, particularly now other operators are doing things like web ‘n’ walk.

  10. Stephen says:

    Guy on my iPhone blog made an interesting comment: why the heck doesn’t the keyboard go landscape? Of course that’s easily fixed even for the phones already sold…

    I’m also fairly sure it’s what I’ve been waiting for… but I just can’t shake the feeling that 8Gb is not enough. I’ll give it a few months, I think. Having a new iMac does help, I admit… :-)

  11. Stephen says:

    Jo, not sure how you got it for £20, maybe the girl at the O2 store likes you? That’s just the web price, I didn’t actually go and look at it. Have you been on O2 before? Maybe they like the £50-a-month call charges you rack up… :-)

  12. Squander Two says:

    It was an upgrade, but they claim to offer existing customers the same deals as new ones. And my bills aren’t that big. That being said, it looks like O2 are now saying it’s discontinued. I’m glad I got one during such a tiny window of opportunity.

  13. Gary says:

    why the heck doesn’t the keyboard go landscape?

    Yep, that’s a good point. Mail should switch to landscape. It’d make typing easier. Also, the font for notes is pure evil, and the lack of ability to forward SMSes (or even copy and paste numbers from them, which I can’t find a way of doing) is an irritant too.

    I’d like to be able to make mail rules too.

    There’s a good wishlist at MacWorld.

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