Monday, March 27, 2017

Bad Apple: iPhone 7

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published March 29, 2017] ©2017
I know some people who can’t wait to upgrade their cell phones when a new model comes out. Personally, I’d rather eat my own organs.  
Anyone who has read my column for a while knows that I have a hate-hate relationship with technology. My antediluvian view is that it should make people’s lives easier rather than utterly suck the life and the will to live out of people.
A case in point: I’d only had my iPhone 6 for 18 months when it stopped charging. After endless wasted hours trying to troubleshoot it on the Internet, the cell phone store guy diagnosed it within two minutes.  “The port’s gone bad,” he said, demonstrating.  “You can send it to Apple and have it fixed for $199. Or you can upgrade to the new iPhone 7 today for $70.”
He was genuinely surprised at my lack of enthusiasm.  “Nothing ever works the same,” I groused.
“Oh,” he insists. “You won’t notice the difference.”
Come back, iPhone 6 with the bad port. I should have just fixed you. Unfortunately, to get the “deal” on the iPhone 7, they make you turn in your old phone where it will be “refurbished” and inflicted on some other hapless iPhone customer where it will never work right again.
Technology has simply run amok. The Apple people just keep adding stupid features which for reasons known best to them they think people actually want. 
One of the first aggravations I had with this phone is that the when I turned off the screen to save the battery it would come right back on when I was carrying it in the upright cell phone pocket of my purse.  It was sucking the heck out of the battery.  After more fruitless on-line research, I ended up back at the cell phone store.
“Oh,” says the sales kid-du-jour, “It’s a new factory set feature on the iPhone 7 called ‘raise to wake.’  Every time you put the phone in a vertical position, the screen automatically comes on.”  He adds, seeing my grumpy face, “A lot of people really like it.”
WHO??? More to the point, WHY?????
To me, it would seem that if you wanted this idiotic feature, you could activate it instead of torturing techno-morons like me who would not have figured this out in ten zillion billion years. He disabled it for me.
Now another feature I liked about my previous iPhones that the malevolent spawns-of-satan at Apple have done away with is the headphone jack. If you want to plug in a headset now, you have to use a cheap junky worthless adaptor that comes with your new iPhone which plugs into the charging port.  This, of course, means that you can’t charge your phone while you’re using a headset or do myriad other functions which I don’t do anyway but if I did, I’d be seriously annoyed.
Plugging my former ear buds into the adaptor and then into the phone, there was a steady clicking noise and a lot of static. The sound cut in and out.
It didn’t take me long to find out on Google that many other iPhone 7 customers had the same unhappy experience.
Personally, I don’t think Apple ever cared whether the adaptor worked or not.  They want you to buy Bluetooth stuff.  But the idea of having yet another gadget that has to be charged irritates me beyond belief.  I just want low-tech ear buds so I can listen to music or meditation programs on my phone. I am trying to learn to be a calm person.
It is not surprising that there are dozens of links for “Solutions to iPhone 7 lacking a headphone jack” on the Internet.  It would not surprise you to know that virtually none of them are cheap. The Audeze Lightning Headphones are a mere $800.
I should mention that along with the crappy useless adaptor, the phone came with a set of ear buds that can be plugged directly into the charging port but were clearly designed for persons with mutantly-large ear canals.  No hope I could get them into my little ears. 
The Apple non-support guy was unapologetic and more to the point, vastly unhelpful. He recommended “going to the Apple on-line store and picking out some new head phones.”  So I was right all along!  Meanwhile, both Apple and non-Apple vendors have jumped in with products that will fix a problem that should never have been created in the first place.
I could feel my blood pressure soaring.  When I hung up with Apple, Olof listened to me rant for 10 minutes.
“What are you trying to listen to?” he inquired.
I’m saying it right now:  my next phone is a Jitterbug.