The lessons of a broken iPhone

11 09 2011

By now most of you have heard about my phone — it’s dead. I have a beautiful “brick” as we like to call it in IT, or a paper weight to put on my desk. I tried all that I could do to get a new one; I went to three different Apple stores. The last one was the most helpful (go South Coast Plaza Apple Store!). He took apart my phone tried different components and nothing worked. He even went and pleaded my sob story to his manager. Nope. $200 for a replacement iPhone 4, since I’m out of warranty by two months. Bummer.

It made me start thinking and looking at my option. Yes, $200 is a lot. But I have a job and could do it. It’s more the principle of it, though. I have a 14 month old phone and it just dies on me. Never was dropped, took great care of it, didn’t do anything unusual to it (no jailbreaking, messing with it, etc.). PLUS, this is my thrid iPhone 4. The first two had problems and were replaced last year. I’m disappointed with the quality of these phones. As I sat at Apple, I saw about 5 people come in and say that their phones had just “died”. They were still under warranty (some 3 months, one lady 9 months, another 4 months) so Apple just gave them new phones. Almost like it wasn’t a big deal. So then when my phone has the same problem (that’s apparently a known issue if there were about 5-10 people within my three trips to the store that had the same problem) but it’s out of warranty, they won’t do anything. Frustrating. It’s obviously a hardware issue. And there’s something that wasn’t made well if they’re returning some percentage of them. I didn’t have any problems with my iPhone 3G. But there have been so many problems with these iPhone 4’s, especially hardware related.

So I ended up going home trying to figure out what to do. A friend has graciously lent me his old iPhone 3G for however long I need it, which is awesome. One problem: iPhone 3G’s don’t accept 4.3 software (which is what my broken phone had). Because of this, I can’t sync my data to the iPhone 3G. It’s too “old”. Frustrating that Apple does this, because really, it’s a 3 year old phone! That’s not that old! It makes me mad that they’re not compatible. I thought Apple was all about compatibility and customer service. I have not experienced this. These are the expectations and image that Apple promotes. Yet as they’ve gotten larger and more popular (and making more money), they have declined in their core mission.

The tech at the last Apple store (who was awesome, btw) said that last year he would have been able to help me, no problem. But recently they’ve cracked down. If you don’t have an extended warranty, they won’t do anything. The warranties are expensive, which is why I didn’t get it. Now I’m sorta wishing I did. However, I think that your phone should be able to last for 2 years (the length of your contract) before dying on you. I can understand if it was user damage. Of course not; don’t cover it. They dropped it, their fault. But if it just dies? Faulty hardware. If your computer just died after a year, it would be covered. They almost always give you 3 year warranties.

It’s just a frustrating situation. I understand what Apple’s saying. I’m out of warranty. Yes. But please, make the “iPhone 5” good so that it doesn’t just die from normal use. Because I love your phones and what they do. I need my phone. It’s critical to my life and job; so please make sure I don’t have to return three iPhone 5s in the future. If they don’t have good reviews for hardware, I probably won’t be buying one. This is just ridiculous.

Yet, a bigger life lesson has been learned in this besides about buying warranties or not buying iPhones. I was bothered by paying $200 for a replacement phone. But I’ve been willing to pay $350 for a new phone last year and two years prior to that. They kind of get you with upgrading. The old phones slow down and don’t work as well so you want to upgrade. I’m so used to the convenience of always having information at my fingertips. It’s become a life necessity. I can get places without my iPhone map. However, I don’t know the FASTEST way to get there necessarily. And I can get to the store or restaurant, but what if they’re closed by the time I get there? Then I wasted my time. Time is REALLY important to me. I like to do things the most efficiently. Wasting time is something I don’t do. If I have to wait somewhere, I read an article (physical or digital). If I have 30 minutes driving, I’ll call a friend to catch up. An hour to spare before an event? Go to Starbucks and use the wireless.

I’m a getting things done person (GTD) for sure! I’ve learned this through my trip to Europe (where my sister was like “I’ve never seen someone go to this many places and events in one day! We’ve hit all the things to see here!”). Of course; can’t waste time waiting an hour for the bus. If we had looked up the time schedule, we would have had an extra hour to play. I have learned this recently at work when people are fooling around, not working. We’re here to work. Let’s get it done. I have learned this doing yard work; “Why are you standing around? Get to work”. Okay, so my sisters had this running joke when I was in high school that they were going to start calling me “SD” for Slave Driver because I wanted them to “get to work” doing whatever we were supposed to be doing instead of fooling around.

I don’t like to waste things, so whether that’s time or money, I’m against it. Thinking about money, I was planning to upgrade my phone this next coming year, so another $350 out there. But since this happened it would mean I’d end up paying the $200 to fix my phone and $350 to upgrade in the end of next year. $550 on a phone (which isn’t just a phone, more like my second brain, so I guess it’s not that unreasonable! :)) is still ridiculous in one year.

I’ve decided that I’m going to put up with not having all of my data synced (thank God for cloud services where most of my contacts had been synced to, and my evernote data is there) and stick with my borrowed iPhone 3G. It works. It’s sluggish, but does what I really need (minus the good camera that I can print pictures out with 😦 bummer)… I’m grateful to have something. And I’d rather use my money elsewhere than $200 for a new phone right now.

I have a friend who is going to be a missionary and asked for support. I can either use my money to support him or get a new phone. Which is more eternal? Hmm. That’s a different way of looking at things. What if I looked at everything like this? The way I spend my money is important to me. I want to make wise choices and be frugal when I can so I can support others and the kingdom of God with my money. But do I think of my every day choices that way? If I go out to dinner X times a week, that means I can’t give “that” much to serve others who need it more. Hmm…

Praise God for life lessons that are worth more than a broken iPhone (which actually is still worth a decent amount of money, ridiculously enough ;)).




4 responses

12 09 2011

“Never was dropped, took great care of it, didn’t do anything unusual to it”

Should’ve knocked it around from time to time, would have died at 10months.

13 09 2011
Amanda Zook

Haha, so true, Eric!

21 09 2011
Heather @Gluten-Free Cat

I’m RIGHT with you, Amanda! My original iPhone died last Friday, and it’s been a loooooong week without it! I didn’t realize how my life revolves around my iPhone! I bought a $20 phone so I can make calls and text, but with no connection to the outside world all day I’m DYING for an announcement that the iPhone 5 is available for presale!!!!

Hugs to you, sweet cousin!

21 09 2011
Amanda Zook

Aww, Heather, such a bummer about your phone! Hopefully they come out with the new one soon!

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