The Roller Coaster that is My iPhone 4S

Let me start by saying that I don’t even like roller coasters. I will forever be the girl sitting on the bench at Six Flags, waiting for her group of roller coaster goers to return from their latest thrill ride. So suffice it say that this emotional roller coaster that my new iPhone 4S has me on is far from entertaining. Action-packed, maybe (considering the amount of action the Apple Store has seen from me these past couple weeks.)

But enough with the intro. Here’s how it all began.

When the iPhone 4S announcement was made, Mikey and I decided to treat each other to the new phones for our birthdays (mine was October 14th, his is November 23rd). Poor Mikey was still in no man’s land sans smart phone and was in dire need of an upgrade. And my iPhone 3G was lacking in the whole instant gratification department. Took about 12 years and a few gray hair transformations to pull up driving directions on the Maps app and pretty much any webpage on Safari.

So I was uber pleased to learn that pre-ordering would be available starting October 7th in time for delivery on October 14th, my actual birthday. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. And so when October 14th came around, I went to work, left work and drove home in anticipation for what I hoped would be the new phones on our doorstep.

I hoped wrong.

I came home to the UPS packaging slip that said they made a delivery attempt. But because the packages contained $200 phones, they obviously couldn’t leave them unattended at the foot of our front door. Duh. I should’ve thought of that. I should’ve just taken the day off like a tech-obsessed gadget geek to wait for its arrival.

But there was still hope.

I called the UPS 1-800 number to see if there was still time to pick the phones up at a brick and mortar store before close of business. I gave the customer service rep my name and number, and he told me that someone from the nearest UPS pick-up location would contact me within the hour. When the phone rang, I was excited to hear that I could pick up the packages between 7pm and 9pm — but immediately disappointed when I realized that time frame wouldn’t work for us. We had dinner reservations with my parents at 7:30 and the pick-up location was about 45 minutes from our house. Driving out there to get them was cutting it too close.

So after hanging up with the UPS guy, all defeated and melancholy, I proceeded to mope around the house. Pacing back and forth and whining to Mikey and basically acting like a five-year-old who just got denied access to the candy store.

Until the phone rang.

It was the UPS guy again! He said that the UPS driver that was carrying our phones was still in the area, and that if we were planning to be home before 5:30, he’d be able to deliver it then. I gasped at his glorious good news and thanked him profusely. He then explained how he could sense the disappointment in my voice during our earlier call and figured he had to do something to lift my spirits. He didn’t lift them; he catapulted them. My mood immediately shifted from pissed to ecstatic. Mikey can even attest to the ridiculous happy dance I did in the living room, which I’m glad none of you were able to witness.

And so, at 5:23, the doorbell rang and the UPS delivery man handed over our new phones.

The next few days were great. Mikey had jumped head-first into the new chapter in his life, which I’m now entitling, “How a Smart Phone Healed My World, Made it a Better Place for You and for Me and the Entire Human Race”. He even joined Twitter and started tweeting (I’m such a proud wife!).

But then…

A few days later, I reached into my purse for my phone and found it was juiceless. The battery had completely drained. After plugging it in to charge, it even took a few minutes for the power source to recognize it. But eventually it did, and it charged to 100% without a problem.

Then, the same thing happened the next day. Reached for my phone to find it had zero charge. I had hardly even used it that day. The phone was warm too. Was the battery overheating?

After charging it up again, I realized something was definitely wrong. The battery percentage would drop anywhere from two to five percentage points for every five minutes that I was using the phone. It would even drop percentage points even if it wasn’t in use! Not cool at all. The weird thing was that Mikey’s phone was working perfectly fine. No issues whatsoever. Equally not cool at all (for me).

So to the Apple Genius Bar I went…

We ended up speaking to a manager. He ran diagnostics on the device and the report showed that everything appeared to be acting normally. One thing he did catch was that I wasn’t closing out my applications when I was finished using them. So there was a build-up of apps running in the background that could have been contributing to the poor battery life. So once again, I was hopeful. The Genius Bar visit was actually therapeutic, and I was ready to face another day.

But the next day was just as sucky.

I saw no improvement in the battery life. Still the same drop of percentage points with every five minutes that I was using the phone. And still the risk of percentage drops without my even touching it. I saw Apple discussion boards start to flood with complaints about the battery life. The stories sounded all too similar to mine. I was just waiting for an Apple acknowledgement or some media coverage to bring the issues to light. But waiting wasn’t helping me any either.

So back to the Genius Bar I went…

I explained my unresolved issues to the “genius”, and she hooked me up with a new 4S. I was skeptical but wanted so much to be hopeful. I brought iPhone 4S #2 back to the Riley house, and for the next few days, my optimism seemed to work. All was smooth-sailing.

Less than a week after I welcomed the second 4S into my life, the media finally picked up on the battery life issues that were circling among 4S users. Apple had yet to issue a statement but had reached out to some 4S users to start the process of pinpointing the problem.

A day later, I reached into my purse to once again find the battery on my brand new phone had died! The last I had checked, it still had 32% of juice left. Seriously, WTF?! I was about ready to throw the phone against a wall, but I don’t think the bride and groom of the wedding I was at would’ve appreciated that. So I refrained.

Luckily, I haven’t run into any issues since then. But when it comes to this new model, I wouldn’t be surprised if the battery fail happens again.

I was happy to stumble across an article in my Twitter feed today that said Apple has confirmed the battery flaw and will be issuing an iOS 5 update to resolve it. No news on when that update is coming, but reports say that the bug that’s causing the battery to tank is a result of the phone’s location services. When enabled, it continuously runs to determine whether or not you’ve switched time zones. And dangit, I’m not switching time zones. I’m right here!

So while I’ve definitely gone through an array of emotions with this frickin’ phone, here’s how I really feel. The phone does have some great features, including faster speed (light years away from the sluggishness of my 3G), an 8-megapixel camera and the oh-so intelligent voice assistant that is Siri. She’s pretty awesome and definitely outsmarts Samantha, the voice of our GPS device. But aside from that, there is a little voice inside my head (better known as, my dad) who is saying, See, you shouldn’t buy into the hype. Wait it out. Weigh your options. Do your research. Don’t make rash decisions. In this case, the hype definitely got the best of me. Given the time that this new phone was set to release, I thought the stars were completely aligned. But one of those stars must’ve been a black sheep of the twinkle twinkle family or something because now I just feel foolish. It is a lesson learned though. The next time I buy a phone, it’s gonna have to prove itself before I buy it.

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One response to “The Roller Coaster that is My iPhone 4S

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Moments of 2011 | Everything Glitters

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