29 April 2009

A Modest Proposal™

I'm a big a fan of the iPhone. I'm certainly as avid (or obsessive) a user as the next white earbudded commuter I see on the train each morning when I actually look up from my tiny screen to take stock of my surroundings.

But I'm not a big fan of Apple's iPhone partner ATT.

Like most cell phone users I've changed carriers a few times trying to find the least painful compromise between price and performance. Finding a tolerable middle ground can prove steady work: cellular plans are everyone's go-to example of usury and excess while reception under the best of circumstances is left to the whim of location, how over-sold the carrier's voice and data capacity might be, sun spot activity, and how many hair dryers are running in the general vicinity.

By a generous margin, ATT consistently manages to be the least reliable cellular service I've ever used. Five bars, then one bar, then back to five. A few seconds of 3G, then down to EDGE, then back to 3G, then...you get the idea. Every other call fades to static like Marconi's first wireless and every third call is dropped altogether. It certainly comes in handy that I can do so many other things on my iPhone, like watch movies, listen to music and take pictures. It entertains and distracts me when I'm utterly unable to do the one thing I'd have thought would be essential: talk on the phone.

According to Apple, there are over 100,000 applications (and counting) available for the iPhone. But even in this embarrassment of riches there's one glaring omission: an app that can direct iPhone owners to the closest pay phone so they can actually make and complete a call.

No comments: