Thursday, September 26

Land's end

I've never been enamored by technology. Not really been into smart phones, gaming consoles or whatever else caught the fancy of my peers over the years. Heck, I still use the laptop gifted to me 7 years ago. And it runs fine, thank you very much.

Which is why I've never been satisfactorily able to explain my desire to own an iPhone. I'd always dimly been aware of the brand but mainly because of the iPod. Like many others who's desires are/were heavier than the wallets, I've surfed through websites looking at iPods of various shapes & capacities with a mixture of longing and exasperation, discussed with friends and the voice in my head whether it made sense to own one, got to the 'check-out product' page before abruptly closing the tab, and so on and so forth. This was until last year.

While I was perfectly happy with my trusty Nokia phone, my friends slowly succumbed to the smartphone craze. I resisted as long as possible, often finding myself in situations where everyone was fooling around with their phones while I twiddled my thumbs, looking around aimlessly. It was a tiring time, and the defenses were being steadily crumbed away through sheer peer pressure.

To stave away the nagging, I declared that the only smartphone I'd even consider buying was the iPhone, safe in the knowledge that even though I admired its beautifully innovative design and simple interface, I'd never have the shekels for it. Of course, that's the moment the universe chose to cough gently and inquire, "Oh yes?"
   
On a weekend, last June, I saw a deal on Ebay, that made the iPhone 4 just within my EMI affordability index, and knew the opportunity was too good to pass. At least that's what I told myself. Given some time to consider, I may have decided against it. For one, this was a 4. In June. The 5 was releasing in September, making the 4S a more logical choice. However, there wasn't a 4S friendly deal out there. For another, the seller was some store in Jogeshwari, which didn't exactly scream 'legit', but what the heck, right? What could go wrong? There was a 1-year warranty too. Cue, hollow, bitter laugh.

The phone took so long to show up, I imagined it resting on a silk pillow in a tastefully furnished palanquin, accompanied by elephants and trumpeters. Opening the box was a real Pandora moment, as the problems came tumbling out one after another. First off, I had to move heaven & earth to get a micro-sim, something that had been conveniently left out of the feature details. Once that got done (it took 2 days of running around), it became very obvious that the home & power buttons, the only goddamn buttons on the phone, were not working properly. Making the darshan to the seller's store, past a couple of buffalo stables and seedy neighbourhoods, my heart began sinking fast. The owner's smarmy assistant (his nephew) oiled over to try and convince me that things were fine and that the phone was 'supposed' to work like that. Really. Once he realised I wasn't buying the spiel, he reluctantly agreed to 'fix' it, gleefully telling me it'd take a week.

A week later, I went back, to find that the scratch-guard was gone and the side had a dent. The snake hissed that the phone had been like that all along, something I was unable to refute without photographic proof. Though the power button was and is fine, the home key went back to it's somnolent state, displaying as much sensitivity as the politicos do for the people in this country. And I wasn't looking forward to going back to the dealer anytime soon either.

Apart from a malfunctioning power cord and few minor speed issues that came via iOS 6, the phone was fine since that time. That is, until this asshat of an operating system, i.e. iOS 7 came along. Not only did it make the icons look flat and cheap, the overall functional thought looked borrowed, a word I never thought would be associated with Apple designs. But the coup de grĂ¢ce was releasing it for the 4. They knew iOS 7 wasn't meant for the 4. They knew the phone would be significantly affected. And yet, they went ahead and released it anyway. Now I'm probably not the first person to think 'conspiracy' as relates forcing people who own the 4 to switch, but that's exactly what it feels like. Because right now, my phone is basically a paperweight that can make & take calls and connect to the internet. Slowly. 

So maybe they got the strategy right. Maybe it is my fault that I upgraded, of my own free will. Maybe I'll now be forced to buy a new phone. 

But maybe it won't be an iPhone. 

Song for the moment: Fool that I am - Etta James