My 24 Hours With an iPhone 4 or Why I Took it Back

Yesterday I returned my iPhone 4.  Long story short: worst piece of Apple technology I have ever purchased.  Here is why.

Backstory: I had one reserved for the day of release but couldn’t get through the line in under three hours so had to abondon the ‘reservation.’  AT&T was to blame for the long activation lines, I am told.

I put myself on the waitlist that week, and yesterday, almost a month later, was told one was in stock. Excited.  It had been over a year since I purchased a 3GS so wondered if I had an upgrade.  No, according to the txt message I sent.  Yes, according to the sales rep I talked to on the phone.  No, according to the nice Apple employee that explained that this was happening often.

Again, AT&T at fault.  Paid the premium for the phone, although the upgrade could come any day if I just wait.

iPhone 4 finally in my hands!  Just $450 for the privilege.  Oai.

So lets get this going!  First, phone call to Mom.  Call dropped.  Call back. Call dropped.  Call back.  Call dropped.

15 minutes into owning an iPhone 4, I’ve dropped 3 calls.

Lets see if the data works out.  App store -> a few apps:

iphone 4 apps download start

Then, over an hour later, one had finished.

iphone 4 apps download end

Restart iPhone.  Doesn’t work.  Change location.  Doesn’t work.  Restart again.  Doesn’t work.

Let’s try to download an album from iTunes.  About an hour into it I gave up, but noticed a bill for the album twice in my inbox (on my computer).

Clicking the ‘this is an error’ I got this nice message:

Then 3 more dropped calls.

Then all the apps finally downloaded (via wifi) I tried to use some of them.  All the apps would launch, then close down immediately.  Open, close.  Open, crash.

Text message takes four minutes to send.

Another dropped call.

Ok, I got a dud.  No real issue here, except his Jobsness just had that big PR event saying that the community was up in a roar about nothing.

With equal respect and volume: screw you.  Almost everything about that experience was broken.  The provider, the hardware, and the software all had complete failures.  This was after your big press event taking no responsibility.

Bullshit.  The AT&T store was packed with people pleading for different phones (I counted 4 sales reps working and 6 angry iPhone 4 owners).  The bumpers are not the solution.  The solution is realizing that the greedy partnership with AT&T is a big chunk over what sucks with the new phone.

Here I was though, supporting Apple and AT&T with the purchase.  I just can’t support that.  I returned it.  The Apple employees were super nice about it.

Be honest Apple.


Try for one saying you sell a phone that can’t make calls.

In 2010.

Your greedy and dishonest legacy.






16 responses to “My 24 Hours With an iPhone 4 or Why I Took it Back”

  1. BrettGreene Avatar

    Andrew, sorry your experience was so bad. Mine was the opposite. I bought the iPhone 4 with the overpriced plastic “bumper” and have not only had no issues, but actually have better cell reception than I had with 3GS. Hopefully you just got a bad device, but it sounds like tons of others have similar painful stories to tell. Bummer.

    What sucks the most about these situations is the time suck involved after all the money that goes into buying and using cell phones. The telecom companies are almost as bad as the banks when it comes to reaming customers while delivering bad service.

  2. Tika Bean Avatar

    It's so easy to pass the buck of blame. This actually reads much like my Moto Droid experience, except that the particular points of failure, while just as numerous, were different. Main Difference: I did return it for another of the same unit. And then I failed to return that within the 30 days. So now I'm buying out my Verizon contract.

    Ironically, my iPhone 4 works so much better. Not as well as it should, to be sure, but it beats the heck out of my previous experience.

    None of it is anyone's fault, though. It's someone else's. 🙂

  3. ericbieller Avatar

    My experience wasn't as bad as yours but it hasn't been good. My calls are disconnecting without even saying “Call Failed” so I'm not sure if it's a network or hardware issue.

    I also notice the antennae issue when I'm playing a game, can't hold the phone how I normally would or I lose signal.

    My proximity sensor seems to be busted as well. I am hitting buttons, muting and ending calls with my face hah.

    I love the improvements to the phone though. It's barely enough for me to keep the phone. I will be, however, taking it to the Apple Store for a replacement. Hopefully the proximity issue can be fixed at the very least.

  4. Spencer Fry Avatar

    I gotta be honest, man. I haven't had a single issue. Not one.

  5. Matt Gist Avatar
    Matt Gist

    I must be lucky too. I have absolutely no issues. I couldn't be happier with the thing. Your the first person I know first had to have a truly horrible experience. That's unfortunate.

  6. Grant Avatar

    Your experience totally sucks, but it doesn't warrant your outrage. It sounds like you got a lemon. It happens. An exchange would've been in order or, in your case, you decided to return it. Totally fine, but that one bad experience doesn't make anyone “greedy and dishonest”. I think you're being a bit unfair or simply reactionary to a legitimately frustrating experience.

  7. cr8tivejen Avatar

    Awesome review Andrew…but sucks that you've had this poor experience. The really scary thing for Apple – which sadly, they've earned – is that even their brand loyalists are sick of the bullshit and calling them on it.

  8. Ef Rodriguez Avatar

    I see Angry Birds!

  9. doniree Avatar

    That's what I noticed!

  10. Casey Schorr Avatar

    My girlfriend had similar issues. Tons of dropped calls, an entire day wasted while she called ATT & Apple and they passed the blame back and forth. She's been getting free ATT service for over a year though, she just calls in and bitches at them every month and they comp her entire bill!

  11. msitarzewski Avatar

    I've had exactly one issue with my iPhone 4, now that I think about it… the Bluetooth range seems to be shorter with this phone. Bit it's still hands down the best phone I've ever owned. I don't even carry a camera anymore. Did you try a fresh restore? A replacement? I've also seen mention of a network settings reset, especially with a restore from a backup.

  12. hkoren Avatar

    Even if your iPhone 4 worked completely as it is supposed to, it still wouldn't have a replaceable battery, it still wouldn't have turn-by-turn navigation, it still wouldn't have an open app marketplace, it still wouldn't have true multitasking, it still wouldn't allow you to place phone calls through Google Voice, it still wouldn't allow you to expand your memory with a micro SD card, it still wouldn't allow you to have custom widgets on your home screen, it still wouldn't allow you tether to your laptop for free.

    Andrew and Android were meant to be together…. Both of these entities like to do lots of things, including make phone calls. Resistance is futile!

  13. Elaine Ellis Avatar
    Elaine Ellis

    It's a travesty against mankind when the apps won't download. TRAVESTY!

  14. omnism Avatar

    Gotta agree with some of the commentators here. I've had my iPhone 4 for about a month now, no bumper, and it works like a charm. Much better reception than with my 3GS and I swear I've tried to hug the damn iphone every way you can imagine and I can't replicate that bar problem at all.

    Add to the fact that I'm located in SF which is notorious among users to be one of the worse cities for AT&T coverage in terms of drop calls which I've experienced first hands with about 3-4 phones, this one rocks. i sincerely hope you just got a bad unit.

  15. andrewhyde Avatar

    All I want is calls and some photo apps 🙂

    Sent from mobile device via space.

  16. Ef Rodriguez Avatar

    Our brains are the best!

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