Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An iPhone 4S Retrospect

It has been while since I updated my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 4S and I thought it a good time to review the experience. First of all, I have a problem with most cell phones because I am deaf. The iPhone is no exception. The volume control on the phone does not allow me to hear a normal conversation is there is any background noise. I can avoid the problem by using either the earpods or some other device, but it would be nice to have a phone I could hear. I have traditionally worn hearing aids, but don't wear them very often because I spend a lot of time on the phone and I have to take them off to hear on the phone properly. So subsequently, I use a speaker phone almost exclusively. Some of this may not make sense, but if you were me with my hearing problem it might.

Usually, if there is an upgrade to a product you can discern some small differences between the updated product and the older model, at least enough to justify the upgrade. I would say that the iPhone 4S barely qualifies as an upgrade in my book. The Siri voice recognition software is just as unreliable and cranky as I expected it to be and most of the other innovations are things I don't use and probably never will. Microsoft went through this problem with its word processing program, Microsoft Word. They kept adding features to features, until nobody could figure out how the program worked. Adding another way of giving me reminders about meetings is not my idea of an upgrade.

Hmm. I am sounding a little cranky myself here. I do keep finding apps and settings that didn't migrate from the older machine to the newer one and that is also a bother. The real question is whether or not I would buy an iPhone today, if I didn't already have one? I find that nearly everything I like about the iPhone works on an iPad or iPod Touch through WiFi. I don't need the cell phone charges and data plan charges to do exactly the same thing. The only part of the iPod Touch that would not work is the GPS if there were no WiFi, it can't download the maps from the Internet without a connection. I could buy a cheap lifetime map upgrade GPS + an iPod Touch or iPad 2 and save a lot of money and get by with a simple free cheap cell phone and a basic plan.

But would I buy an iPhone 4S if I didn't have one already? If you can't tell, I am avoiding the question with more discussion. If I needed a cell phone, which I probably do, I would spend a good bit of time comparing the iPhone to an Android phone. Since I have done just that, I would be forced to admit that the iPhone still outshines the Android phones in the app department. But the Android phones are catching up rapidly. So far most of the genealogy programs on the iPhone are still not available on the Android platform. So, if I want to do genealogy on the bitty little keyboard that comes with a cell phone, I prefer the iPhone. So I guess my answer would depend on whether or not I felt wealthy enough to have a cell phone with a data plan at all. As I indicated, I don't see this as an Android vs. Apple issue at all, I see it as a cell phone as an Internet device vs. iPads, iPod Touch, ultra-light laptop, etc. Maybe all I need is a phone?

But what about all those time I use my iPhone for checking things out on the Internet? Like Red Laser for example. All I have to do is take a picture of a product bar code and zap, I have comparison prices on the Internet, unless, of course, I am in Costco or Walmart or someplace where they have their own special UPC codes. Now that I think about it, there are dozens (hundreds) of times I use the iPhone's connection to the Internet when I am definitely not in range of any WiFi. But would I buy one again? I'm glad I have one for the duration of my contract so I don't have to make that decision.

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