Letdown of an iPhone 5 Experience

After guiding a good friend through his iPhone 5 activation, I told him that it would make for a good story. Here is Manoj Osuri's first 48 hours with his iPhone 5. My initial iPhone 5 experience has been less than ideal, to say the least. It's not that I think it's a bad phone…it's actually pretty awesome, now that I've gotten it working. But it was the "getting it working" part that really tainted the experience.

So one of the things I love about iPhones (and my limited experience with Apple products in general) is how quick and easy it normally is to go from opening the box to enjoying the new device without skipping a beat. I pre-ordered phones for my wife and myself. When they arrived over a week earlier than we initially expected, it felt like Christmas came early.

We both turn our phones on, see that it prompts us to sync it with our iTunes, and run straight to our computers. My wife has an HP running Windows 7, and I have an early 2008 MacBook Pro. Within a couple of minutes, my wife has her phone up and running without any problems. I, on the other hand, get a message saying that my phone cannot sync to any iTunes lower than 10.7. I don't think this is more than just a minor annoyance, but when I try to install it, I find out it won't run on my operating system. I do realize that my OS is old (OS X 10.5... I have no idea what animal that corresponds to in Apple's feline nomenclature), but I kept up with all the available updates, and I don't think it's right that I would be forced to buy a new OS in order to use my phone. A big reason why I spent about 4 times as much money on a laptop 4 years ago was because I was put under the impression that my computer would not go obsolete in a few years. I assumed that paying for new operating systems every couple of years would not be involved in keeping my computer relevant. Luckily, since I'm pretty close to being computer illiterate, Elijah was able to help me get OS X 10.6 installed on my computer, but the process took up my entire afternoon and early evening. While all of that was happening, I had my old phone backing itself up on iCloud (which in hindsight is probably something I should have done before). It took nearly as long, but at least I was able to get my phone working that evening. And because the activation of my new phone had technically started, I had no usable phone the whole time.

After going through all of this, I definitely lost most of my excitement over my new iPhone. Getting this phone was not nearly as awesome of an experience as when I got the 3G or the 4. I guess it really left a bad taste in my mouth that, compared to my wife's setup process, I felt like having an Apple computer made things way harder on me than if I had had a PC. And to make things worse, my story still isn't over….

Now this part is definitely not a knock on Apple, but rather a terrible experience with AT&T. That night, my wife and I went to an AT&T store to combine our separate accounts into a family plan. As I expected, I had to change my number since she has a North Carolina number, and I have a Maryland number. Since NC is considered to be in same regional market as Georgia (we live in Atlanta) it made more sense for me to change my number to an Atlanta area code, and have her keep her old number. (Not to mention that she had to deal with enough hassles with changing her name after we got married, so it was my turn to take one for the team!) So after combining our accounts, I started texting my friends and family my new number. I realized something was wrong when every group-text failed to deliver. (Yes, I checked my settings to make sure it was enabled). So having to text all of my contacts my new number individually added to my annoyance with my new phone. The following day, when I left our condo (and our wifi) I saw that my phone would not connect to the internet. I could still call and text (as long as it wasn't a group text), but no internet. At first I thought it was another phone issue, but after investigating a bit further, I start to think that my data plan never got reactivated after getting the new number. That was confirmed when I called AT&T. The person who helped us at the AT&T store the night before somehow missed that step. But in a way, it was a blessing in disguise, because not only did she forget to reactivate my data plan, but she never actually set up our family plan. She just put both of our individual accounts on the same bill. I probably wouldn't have caught that for a while since I use auto-pay, and we would have ended up paying a lot more than we were supposed to. And I'm not 100% sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if having no active data plan was the reason why I couldn't send group-texts. So most of another afternoon was wasted setting up my new iPhone 5.

All that said, I am happy with my new phone... it's pretty awesome. And while I wasn't really expecting to be blown away by it, I did expect to at least have a fun and exciting experience when I got it. And thanks to all the issues I had, the "new iPhone experience" definitely wasn't fun or exciting.