Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry
kingpin248

iOS 5, the iPhone 4S, and Steve Jobs

Today, I took a technological great leap forward. I finally decommissioned my nearly seven-year-old Motorola V220 in favor of an iPhone 4S. I took the suggestion, made here and elsewhere, to wait and see if Apple would bring something new out. While a lot of the company's fanboys enthusiasts gave the new phone a tepid reception, I was not disappointed by what Apple was offering up. When I saw that the 3GS model would be offered for free, I briefly thought about going that route. But I ultimately concluded that having a more advanced device was worth the price...especially for Siri, the new voice control system. (Although, for the life of me, I have no idea why it's named after a former U.S. women's soccer goalie.) I also thought the extra eight gigabytes would be preferable (the free 3GS is only available with 8 GB of storage). One of the eventual advantages I see in purchasing this phone is the ability to combine two devices - my phone and my iPod - into one. I'm going to keep using that iPod (a fifth-generation "classic" model I've had since 2007) until it becomes inoperable, but once that happens, I don't intend to replace it.

Prior to my receipt of the new iPhone, I took advantage of the opportunity to install its operating system, iOS 5, on my iPad. Boy, was that an adventure. It took me three attempts to download it - and after each of the first two failed tries, iTunes wiped out the partial download, meaning I had to start over from the beginning. Once I had the file on my hard drive, the update was hampered by the persistence of an "error 3200." It happened each time as the iPad tried to "verify the restore with Apple." I sighed twice in relation to this error. The first was in frustration that I couldn't get past it, and the second was in relief after seeing "error 3200" as a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. That reassured me that I wasn't the only one fighting this battle. The third time I got the error code, I click the "more information" button, which gave me a few things to try. One of the steps in this troubleshooting protocol was to ensure the operating system was fully up to date. Despite having last installed updates less than twelve hours prior, there were nine new ones to download. After getting those and the subsequent restart, the installation proceeded without a further hitch. It's possible that bringing my Windows 7 up to date resolved the problem - but then again, it may have simply been the effluxion of time relieving the crushing pressure on Apple's servers.

For the most part, I like the way iOS 5 plays on my iPad. I love the implementation of tabbed browsing in Safari. The reminders app is a particularly nice addition, as it represents a convenient place to put a "stuff to do" list, as well as a shopping list, which are much easier to manipulate than, say, the note pad app. The one major gripe I have about this is the music app, formerly "iPod." It STINKS. You can't access podcasts from the main menu, instead having to make an additional tap to get to them via a "more" menu. The "rewind 30 seconds" control seems to be gone. And the app has frozen on me a couple of times already. Thankfully, those instances haven't been while the iPad was playing music.

I received the iPhone 4S just after 11:00 this morning, and it took me less than an hour to set it up and activate it. The process was as seamless as you would expect from an Apple creation, down to the point of not having to re-download all the apps I already had on my iPad, since I had already logged the iPhone in with my Apple ID. I still am getting the hang of Siri; sometimes it stops "listening" to my request before I'm done speaking it. I might be moving it too much while I'm talking. Even so, I freaked my mom out a bit when I gave her the demonstration, asking my phone "how do I get to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory?" and getting a viable set of directions. I - well, that's funny. I was just about to type that I'd love to get my hands on a full list of acceptable Siri commands. I picked up the "Finger Tips" brochure that came with the phone, flipped it over, and apparently, all I have to do is ask Siri "what can you do?" Unfortunately, I've already discovered that Siri cannot tell me why UPS had not yet delivered a friend's iPhone. So if I give Siri the command "Carberry to Enterprise, two to beam up," that might be problematic.

The V220 has served me well over the years. But it was a phone from a different time - from "days of yore," when phones were primarily phones. The time had come for it to go, despite the fact that it was not yet irreparably broken. That thing is so old and useless that Gazelle won't even give me any money for it. It now goes to the dustbin of history, and maybe even an actual, physical dustbin. Into that void steps the latest creation of a company still reeling from the loss of its spirit and conscience. There are innumerable tributes to Steve Jobs floating around out there. I called him a great innovator, businessman, and American, because of the immense value he created for so many. I thought it quite telling that Cato and Reason were most effusive in their praise. I'll only link to two testimonials: Mark at TidBITS, and fellow cancer survivor Lance Armstrong at ESPN. It's just too bad that Jobs left us too soon, when he had so much more to share with the world. But if his vision truly permeates the culture of Apple, then he will continue to contribute to us for a long time to come.
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