I love my iPhone, I hate my iPhone #1

I have an iPhone. I bought a 3G about a year ago when my Verizon contract was up; I stood in line to get a 3GS on day one even thought I paid a hefty price to upgrade. (And I don’t begrudge AT&T and Apple not re-subsidizing my purchase.) It is a fabulous piece of technology, and it is hard to imagine another phone weaning me away from Apple’s occasionally irksome dominion. But there are some things …

Today I had to make a short trip (five hours round trip with grocery shopping at the end) to pick up my children from their weekend at my mom’s. I got in the car, turned on the Slacker iPhone app, settled in to listen to some comedy. An hour and a half later, I turned it off, picked up the kids, had lunch, jumped back in the car. It was now noon, an hour until the Yankees game, so I listened to the latest podcast of The Inside Story using Stitcher. when it was done, I killed a few minutes streaming 1050 ESPN out of New York using RadioBox, then at 1pm, went to turn on MLB At Bat 2009 to listen to the Yankees. As I did I glanced at my iPhone; 30% charge left. Here I am, in iPhone-battery-hell 3 hours out of the house. Sadly, this is a daily occurrence for me.

I mean Come. On. Already. I know thin is in and the iPhone is pretty, but the battery life is a joke. I had my Mophie Juice Pack with me (because the iPhone is mostly useless to me without the extra battery power), and I could charge if needed in the car (though Number One Daughter’s MP3 player was charging for part of the ride, and I’ll be dipped if I can find my iPhone iGo tip in the minivan), but this is stupid.

How do you build a consumer device with great multimedia features and high speed data network access and not give it a battery which will last a full day, at near constant usage. My iPhone spends as much time annoying me as it does delighting me, because of the damnable battery life. I use my iPhone; really use it. Three email accounts, GPS, Maps, Google calendar sync, lovely push instant message with IM+, Evernote constantly. And I stream audio all the time. Because, you know, it was designed to do this stuff. They did sell it to me with the understanding I would use it right?

I can get a little over four hours of streaming from a full battery if I am very lucky and stay in a reasonably strong signal area. Four hours! Sheesh. Apple is all about the user experience, often to the point of dumbing down parts of its products. But for me, the iPhone (and all smartphones) are still chasing my old Palm III in this area. In the Palm, I could put 2 AAA batteries in, and it was good for 2 months. In the iPhone, I can charge fully, and I am good for 4 hours. 2 Months. 4 hours. Grrrr.

It is comparing oranges to well, Apples, I know. I am aware the iPhone gives me vastly more capabilities than I had way back then. Not a fair comparison. What an idiot I am. Apple fanboys will be arriving shortly to fling hummus at me. I get it. I get how great the iPhone is so much I want to use the thing! And a lot of the time I can’t, because I have to nurse the battery.

I’m not sure what the best answer is, or what Apple could do. Better battery tech? Maybe. Replaceable batteries? Steve Jobs hates them, though they let me smack a big fat extended battery on my Motorola Q and have it last for 3 days at a time. Make the phone itself bigger, with more battery? The aesthetes would hate that I suspect, but I care not what it looks like — I just want it to work. (The aforementioned Mophie case is a partial solution, but it does seem to degrade phone performance a hair, and on AT&T’s network, a hair usually matters). As it is my iPhone is like a junky looking for its next 5V fix.

The iPhone ought to work for far more than four hours on a single charge while streaming audio over 3G. Period. It works so well with power that when the battery drains, the pain is acute. Like being jilted by a lover.

That’s you Apple. Jilting me everyday.

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