Important tips that follow:
- Write down your passcode.
- If you can get a Verizon iPhone, don’t even consider the AT&T iPhone.
- Install a patience upgrade.
I hereby attest that it is possible for a lawyer to switch from a Google Android phone to an Apple iPhone without being a computer programmer or electrical engineer. It’s like ripping a six-inch bandage off quickly, but you’ll survive.
I compare it to switching from steak to sushi. Or from rooting for Red Sox to the Yankees. Or changing from a PC to a Mac. It can be done, but there is an emotional component that almost requires counseling and therapy.
I loved my $300 Android Samsung Charge and its big, bright 5.11" tall and 2.66" wide display. The iPhone is smaller at 4.5" tall and 2.31" wide. Either way, I need reading glasses.
When I started my new job, I had to choose between corporate phones. My coworkers universally told me to get the iPhone. There was no Android choice, so I went with the majority view.
The iPhone debuted in summer 2010 and is the top-selling handset, with retail prices ranging from $100 to $150 on ATT.
Somehow, I suspected the iPhone would be trouble, so it sat in its shipping container for weeks. However everyone at my company lives on email, and so I had to get that puppy working.
I took a deep breath and opened the little white box. It came with no instructions like all PDAs seem to. Would it be so hard to put a user manual in the box? When I complained to people I knew, my 26-year-old son Ted abruptly became very supportive. Longtime friends with iPhones gamely cheered me on like you clap for a 90-year-old man running a 5K race. I suspected they were patronizing me, but I pressed on.
Mysteriously, I had to plug the iPhone into my computer’s USB port and install iTunes to set up the phone. I didn’t want iTunes, thank you very much. After three tries, the iPhone started to function. After a very long call with a helpful and very patient tech support guy at the company, he got it to sync to office email. I could tell because it began making dinging noises every two or three minutes.
You can download the new iPhone iOS 5 software update, which Apple says it is excited about. It integrates Twitter, photo cropping, gaming with friends, and lots of other features lawyers can use with all the free time we’re supposed to have. But they’re harmless.
Warning: whatever happens, do not forget your security passcode. I was riding on a train to New York, decided to change the passcode, and didn’t write it down. I am so very sorry that happened. The iPhone is like a suspicious wife and will not let you in without that passcode. I woke up at 4:19 AM one morning and remembered it from a dream I had just had. I was so relieved I fell on my knees in gratitude.
The big difference between the phones is Verizon, which I had on my Android, and AT&T, which I am cursed with on the iPhone. You can get a Verizon iPhone, which you should get if it’s an option. AT&T is a miserable phone carrier. An AT&T tech support gnome actually said that they knew of no way to get the iPhone to work without the passcode. They also took 45 minutes and three people to set up my voicemail. I could hear the AT&T person reading the tutorial for voicemail aloud while she was trying to get it to work.
The phones are pretty much the same.
- The iPhone dings a lot. Did I mention that?
- Both have equally slow 1GHz processors.
- The pictures are similarly grainy and blurry, even though the iPhone 4 has a 5 megapixel camera and the Samsung Charge has 8 megapixels.
- They both deliver an overwhelming torrent of text messages and email with frightening efficiency.
- Battery life is equally brief.
- The iPhone offers an alarm that sounds like a duck quacking. The Samsung offers a guitar solo alarm that is riveting. I like the duck because it makes me laugh.
- The iPhone comes with a condom-like rubber housing, which cures the “death grip” dropped-call problem. It’s hard as blazes to get off when you need to read the “IMEI” number.
- Both have lots of apps, and you can waste hours playing Angry Birds on either. Not that I do that on company time.
- Both take forever to find your location when you’re standing in the rain in San Francisco trying to find Union Square.
The Samsung phone gets the speedy Verizon 4G network, which exists in big cities. AT&T’s first 4G LTE phones arrived in November 2011, and the new iPhone 4S runs on it. My iPhone 4 gets the pokey 3G connection.
The Samsung Charge is clearly superior when reading text on the web. It automatically resizes the text to a font that you select. With the iPhone, you need a magnifying glass. Maybe a microscope. You can make the iPhone text bigger by sweeping your fingers apart on the screen, but the text scrolls off the page. On the iPhone I can make the font size bigger in email but not on the web. I downloaded the 161-page iPhone User Guide, and it was no help regarding web font size. I suppose I could join an online forum of geeks or search the web to find a solution to this problem, but it shouldn’t be that much work.
The Android phone is loaded with permanent bloatware—junk apps like Bitbop, Lets Golf 2, and Slacker—none of which can be deleted. The iPhone has only what you want—calendar, camera, maps, contacts, email, the web browser, and—oh yeah, a phone. You can usually make calls with it, AT&T permitting.
The Android Charge is noisy, and makes a shattering glass sound when it starts up, and more racket when it shuts down. This is not welcome in a dark movie theater. The iPhone is delightfully silent, except for the constant dinging. Wait, who just emailed me at 9:49 p.m.?
All things considered, the iPhone is a good choice for busy lawyers who need a reliable PDA to stay current with email and texts from clients and colleagues. It does have a hypnotic quality to it that is not dissimilar from addiction—once you pick it up, it’s hard to put down. But you’ll always be in touch, you’ll never get lost, and you’ll always have it with you.
The American Bar Association does not endorse products or services of non-ABA entities.