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Giving up on the Iphone…

images-2.jpegLast night, I returned my second Iphone to the Apple (AAPL) store and I won’t be buying another one — at least anytime soon. Twelve days ago, after spending all day in line waiting to plunk my $599 down, I was eagerly looking forward to replacing my trusty Treo, which I’ve had for the past 1 1/2 years. It worked fine for email and the call quality was very good, but the web browsing was limited, at best. And the calendar didn’t sync well with Apple’s Ical that I use to keep track of my schedule.

The Iphone, which has Safari, has a great browser — when it worked, which unfortunately wasn’t all that frequently on either of the two phones I used over the past 12 days. It would repeatedly crash, requiring me to restart, resync and even reconfigure the phone repeatedly (I must have entered my WiFi password at least 8 times). And spending hours on the phone with Apple’s tech support — nearly two hours yesterday and probably close to 10 hours in total — means that I have less time to scour SEC filings, which surprisingly, have largely been devoid of Iphone mentions.

The first Iphone I bought didn’t have a working speaker, so that when someone called me, I was unable to hear the phone ring — a basic feature that’s kind of essential to a working phone. There was also this recurring problem with Safari where the browser window would open, but you couldn’t type anything into the page. So it went back last Friday. The new Iphone had a working speaker, but the Safari issue was still there. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. But for $599 — really $1,975 as this story points out, given the cumbersome 2-year contract — it needs to work all of the time. My first bill from AT&T (T), which arrived yesterday, was for a whopping $136.40.

Now I’ve been an Apple customer since 1998 when I bought my first Imac and I’ve been generally pretty happy with all of their products. But when a device that’s supposed to make your life easier (or at the very least cooler) starts to take up large chunks of your time, that’s when it’s time to raise the white flag. Which is what I did last night when I returned it. The woman at the Apple store looked as if I had insulted her personally when I said I had had enough with the Iphone and just wanted a full refund (read: no $59.99 restocking fee).

How many other people who bought Iphones have had similar problems? It’s hard to say, though there’s lots of speculation all over the web. The person who actually processed the return said she’s seen a fair number of people exchanging Iphones because of problems like the ones I experienced, but not a lot asking for refunds. “They’re not willing to give it up that easily,” she said. To be sure, returning my Iphone wasn’t an easy process: dealing with Apple on the phone, then my old carrier to get my number back, and then AT&T to cancel the service, and then having to drive 25 miles to the Apple store to physically return the phone. But given all the problems I had, I wasn’t willing to waste any more time on this. I still love my Powerbook. And my multiple Ipods. But I’m done — at least for now — with the Iphone.