Of iPhones & Reviews
Did I upgrade to the latest iteration of Apple’s flagship product, the iPhone 7? What do you think?
It wasn’t the foregone conclusion it has been in the past, as I detailed in a prior post, due to my love affair with the iPad Pro. In fact, I eventually decided not to upgrade.
But then I, like so many, was wooed by carrier deals that seem, at least on the surface, to be pretty sweet. In fact, I’d pay more if I didn’t upgrade. Oh, not if I paid the phone off and kept it. But with no incentive to own the then-current phone outright because T-Mobile sold it to me at cost, paying it off would take a year, after which I’d need to keep it for yet another year, forgoing in the process the iPhone 7s (or whatever they call it; I suspect it won’t be 7s, but that’s a topic for a future post), rumored to be something extra special in honor of the iPhone’s tenth anniversary. I shan’t be missing out on that excitement. I had a fairly exciting life, actually, relative to most people’s lives, until I didn’t, a change so abrupt I’m still suffering from withdrawals.
So, yeah, I pre-ordered. I was pleasantly surprised to receive the phone of the actual day of release. My first iPhone was the 5s, making the wildly successfully 6 my initiation into the equally wild experience of pre-ordering an iPhone. Back then, I went with the Plus form factor, gold, 128 GB, because everything else had delivery dates a month out, more for the then-new color rose-gold. So new to the Apple ecosystem was I that I feared the gold would be gaudy. I know, I know. A reminder, it is, how insular the tech world, broadly conceived, can be: I now find my own previous concern unimaginable. Who could ever think today’s Apple, and the iPhone specifically, would ever be gaudy? I could, apparently, upon a time.
Even last years’s 6s had shipping delays. I realize sales are supposed to be down this year, but initial reports seem to indicate otherwise. Further, one would assume Apple would have adjusted production accordingly. I won’t remark on the conspiracy theorists who claim the delays are purposeful, not because I think Apple incapable of it but because in weaker moments I have been among their number. Probably helped that my 7 is rose gold. Funny the difference a couple of years can make; for that matter, funny, too, the difference simple color can make. Not so funny, I suppose, if one considers the history of racism.
Anyway, my phone arrived. I had tracked its progress from Louisville, much like my own progress a decade ago, though, I made no stop in Albany, GA. The text I received from UPS at 9:10 AM said the package was out for delivery, expected delivery time 4 to 7 PM. Twenty minutes later, a second text announces the, uhm, scheduled delivery time as 3:30 to 7. Okay, UPS, whatever you say. We both know it’s going to be much closer to 7 than to 3:30, but whatever.
Counter to doctor’s orders, my sleep schedule is all out of whack. The result on Friday, Release and Delivery day, was I found myself sleepy as hell at 3 in the afternoon. My day had started early, my classes were over for the day, and I was home, settled in comfortably if irritably, knowing I had to stay awake, fearing I wouldn’t be able to do so. My neighborhood isn’t bad, but with my house being practically on campus, there’s plenty of foot traffic. UPS leaves those packages right on the doorstep, instructions to the contrary ignored, and who doesn’t know new iPhones are coming out? Okay, maybe lots of people. (See comments regarding insularity above.) But lots do know.
I fell asleep, predictably. Awoke sometime after 7 to find a 7 on my doorstep. Official delivery time, according to the final text message? 7:01. Oh, UPS, don’t worry; I realize someone in this town received a shiny, new iPhone at 3:30. Your next-day service worked flawlessly, so long as I remove your pretentious affectation of precision.
What do I think? Anyone reading their words isn’t looking for a detailed review of iPhone 7, I suspect, as others far better known in the Apple community than I (considering I’m utterly unknown) have published comprehensive reviews already, and besides, the shelf life of any product review is so fleetingly short. I’ll give initially impressions instead.
Except, I’m still not overly enthusiastic, despite the late-stage change-of-heart to upgrade, and haven’t much to say. But is that the phone, or me? Could be the newness has dimmed, the initial exuberance that came with being late to the smart phone — now more aptly described as the mobile computing — party and finding it still going strong having had its own last call already. Could be further evidence of my inability to feel pleasure, a disability that began about three years ago, when my married and social lives simultaneously imploded.
Thing is, my interest in technology took shape precisely as everything else was falling apart. Tech-related projects have been the one exception to the pleasure embargo. Or, if not exactly pleasurable, then, at a minimum, attention-holding.
In the last couple of months, however, technology, too, has withered. The too-coincidental timing leads me to believe it’s the results of medication. I wouldn’t have thought working with workflows in the Workflow app to bemania, but, then again, can be pretty damn engrossing. Same can be said of Hazel rules.
Familiarity or pharmaceuticals — either way, my initial response to the iPhone 7 is rather meh. But it’s early still. Very early. The biggest advances come with the camera, which is why I stayed with the Plus despite, again, an iPad Pro that is, for me, nearly as mobile. (I may not take the iPad to the grocery store, but it, not the phone, nor even the MacBook Pro, goes to class with me.) Problem is, I don’t take many photographs. I have no children. I have no one, really. And I learned long ago I don’t use photographs for nostalgic purposes. I do reminisce, but I prefer theaters of the mind. (Pretentiousness intentional for once.)
I spent a month in the U.K. and France with Jackass Angie and some of her attorney pals, all of whom took hundreds and hundreds of photos, doubtless well over a thousand before it was all over. Well over. I took zero. At the time, I didn’t even own a camera, having not yet joined the ranks of iphonographers, a term I’m not sure I endorse. Isn’t a camera just a camera? Not just in the sense of doing nothing else, but rather in only needing to do a particular thing — take photos.
The above being said, I also used to bemoan GarageBand as a storage hog. As recently as six months ago, I deleted it from all my devices. Now look at me: this week’s song on the Today In iOS podcast is mine, a song I performed, recorded, and mixed entirely on the iPad Pro. Had never edited film six months ago, either. Or worked with cell animation. Hundreds of hours later, I can now say, Oh sure, I’ve done that, and that, too.
I suppose I’m hoping the same will happen with photography. Have dual camera lens, will shoot (photos), or something to that effect. I need the distraction. The poor Watch is doing as much as it can, but it alone can’t pull my stare from the middle distance.
In the meantime, I’m quite satisfied simply to gaze upon my rose gold iPhone after a year of the dullest of dull space grays. My skies are gray enough; give me the soft-hued golds of sunset.