I was going to write a post called ‘Ode to my iPhone’. Because I really gave my 4S phone a workout over the past month while travelling. More than a workout… It completed an endurance event. Like an ultra-marathon.
Navigator. Blogging tool. Camera. Social media interface. Hotel finder. Tourist information centre. Even occasionally a phone.
But then my iPhone died. The moment I stepped off the plane and switched it on again, it gave a whir and a click and collapsed in a heap.
Well, not really. Figuratively.
It refused to give me any 3G data. It was as though all its labours to squeeze megabits out of the dodgy UK cellular networks had finally taken its toll and it curled into the foetal position and screamed ‘No more! I’ll give you calls and WiFi, but don’t expect me to channel any more firetrucking data!’ (Sorry, this blog is G-rated.)
It took me and Telstra a while to realise the iPhone’s demise. I put it down to software confusion… one too many SIM change. (And for all I know, that might have been the cause.) But no matter how many parameter resets and reboots and diagnostics, the phone dug in its figurative heels and refused to give me data.
Option #1 – Recontract with Telstra and upgrade my phone. Did I mention I was in the last week of my two-year contract?
Option #2 – Head to the Apple Store and see if they could do anything to fix it. They couldn’t.
With just 4 days left in the warranty period, Apple replaced the phone.
I’ve been very happy with my iPhone 4S. Laying aside the fact of its premature death, it performed admirably under extreme duress during the past month. I’m not exaggerating when I say I used it for everything.
Camera – I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about relying on the iPhone as a camera, but the thing takes way better photos than my aging Canon Sureshot (only 5MP) so I decided to give it a whirl. It’s a bit unwieldy at times, but I can’t really complain about the photos, based on my level of competency as a photographer. It did place unanticipated strain on the iPhone battery though, so I had to monitor the battery quite ruthlessly. This was sufficiently challenging to ensure I’d probably take a dedicated camera next time.
Blogging tool – The WordPress app is pretty good, with the main limitation being the iPhone screen size and keyboard. I blogged using both the touch keyboard and my bluetooth silicone keyboard, the latter providing a little more ease of editing. Photos are inserted as html, requiring cutting & pasting of code to reposition — a challenge on the tiny touch screen. The best solution was to insert each photo as I wanted it, which required some planning. Obviously, I’m ecstatic to be back on a proper computer interface with a proper keyboard and a proper screen! However, I have definitely conquered the art of phone blogging!
Navigator – I went to special lengths to obtain a local SIM in order to have 3G data on the phone while travelling, one of the main drivers being the ability to use GPS and maps while out and about. While this worked wonderfully well where 3G coverage was to be had, network coverage down in England’s South West is patchy to say the least. Still, the GPS ‘blue dot’ continued to function, even when the maps themselves couldn’t be downloaded. Once again, however, using the phone to navigate demanded much of the battery. If using in the car, a car-charger will be required for next time!
Social media and other stuff – For social media, the iPhone is tried and true, with my only complaint being the inability to edit documents created within Facebook. A minor concern, really. After I figured out the best methods of sharing blog posts, all seemed to go fine. The Booking.com app is fabulous, by the way. And Safari definitely got a workout too. I used Safari a lot to figure out bus/train routes — and then used the ‘screen shot’ function to store a photo of the information. That ‘screen shot’ function is an AMAZING tool for travellers! Plus I used the various Australian banking apps for the first time — all went very smoothly with my funds. On the whole, everything was great.
So I have proved it’s possible to be an obsessive blogger and social media user while travelling with little more than an iPhone.
About the only thing I didn’t use it for was an e-reader. For that I took my kindle.
And I confess I’m saddened by my phone’s demise and subsequent replacement. We’d been through a lot, my iPhone and I. And now I have to build up a bond with a different device. OK, so it’s another 4S, but it has a different soul, you know?
It’s not the same device that tramped all around South West England, over hill and down dale, photographing stone circles and sheep.
Do you have a relationship with your smart phone? Have you ever blogged on it? Would you be willing to try?