Can’t the iPhone suck even a little bit?

Roughly Drafted proclaims:

The New York Times has again violated its own no-shill policy by paying Randall Stross to amplify Roger Entner and a variety of other mobile company clients who are all struggling to portray the iPhone as the reason why AT&T’s network is terrible in New York and San Francisco…

Roughly Drafted

Because there can never be a problem with the beloved Jesus-phone, right?
Roughly Drafted’s article came in response to a NY Times article wondering if maybe, just maybe, the iPhone problems weren’t all AT&T’s fault. Many Apple polishers were aghast at the effrontery it took to suggest such a thing!

Come on. I’ve ridden side by side in a car with my wife, me on my iPhone 3G, her on a Sony-Ericsson GSM phone, both on the same AT&T account. Time and time again, my iPhone would drop a call to someone, while she would just keep talking.

I vividly remember one ride home from my daughters’ dance studio. Over the twenty-five minute ride, I dropped a call to my mom’s landline four times, while my wife talked to the same person for the duration of the ride. This ride takes me through what I have learned are four-five iPhone “trouble spots” — areas where the combined love of AT&T and iPhone suffer a Tiger Woods-like failure.

When I sit in my daughters’ dance studio (again), I can watch several other people make and take calls on AT&T, while my iPhone remains in a complete data and voice black hole.

Sure AT&T’s network has problems. But to blame AT&T exclusively for the iPhone’s sucky phone performance is to ignore a couple of things:

One, AT&T’s mobile data usage exploded with the advent of the iPhone, particularly the 3G. I suspect that Verizon’s network would be getting hammered to bits as well if it were subjected to the kind of skyrocketing growth that AT&T has seen.

B, Apple had all the cards in getting the iPhone certified to work on AT&T’s network; Verizon is notoriously fussy when it comes to certifying phones to work on its network, caring little for cellphone manufacturers concerns. Verizon attempts not to let a phone on their network until they are satisfied it will perform at a level so as not to damage their reputation for having a great network. I suspect that whatever radio performance Apple deemed “good enough” was rammed downed AT&T’s throat without comment.

In spite of the shiver down my spine every time I make a call, I continue to use the iPhone. My wife moved up to my old 3G when I got a 3GS. We are a two iPhone family.

But for me it is a network computer first, phone second. I bet that is true of most people who own one. Folks who spend six hours a day on conference calls, they buy Blackberries with good reason. My wife’s work-supplied T-Mobile Blackberry hangs onto a call like a remora hanging onto a shark.

And for all the attention Verizons “There’s a Map For That” ads got, if you overlay EDGE+3G for AT&T, the maps are nearly identical.

And I can never go back to “no data while in a call”; one remnant of my Verizon/Moto Q days I never miss. I suspect iPhone owners who jumped to Droid got a very nasty surprise with this. Of course, they can probably  call people and complain without any dropped calls.

It’s ok to like your iPhone. Can’t imagine not having mine. But a little truth please?

The iPhone is a sucky phone at worst, and average phone at best. Live with it. We all have to.

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4 Comments on “Can’t the iPhone suck even a little bit?”

  1. John Doe Says:

    Chris, do you realize that EDGE is also “no data while in a call”? Only UMTS (3G) can do both simultaneously, plain old GSM and its’ extensions can not.

    • Chris Says:

      Yeah, EDGE is sucky in that and other ways — but does work in a pinch. The fact that AT&T has an in between 1.5G infrastructure simply means apples to apples comparisons are not as easy as 30 second ads make it seem.

  2. Bears Says:

    Is this why you never call me?? (Smile). I do love my crackberry but would trade it in a flat second for an iPhone but not a droid.

    • designbygravity Says:

      Grin. I’ll likeley trade for an Android phone in a year or so. The apps I depend on are slowly showing up in the Android store.


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