I Got Rid of My iPhone

Back in my November 11, 2010 blog post, I asked if I needed a smart phone?  Back then I was thinking about how much or actually how little I used my iPhone beyond it being a phone, camera, ebook reader or iPod and a GPS device once in a great while.

I was beginning to wonder even back then, if I really need a smart phone at all, especially at $80 plus a month? Now that I am going into semi-retirement this $80 a month payment for a tool and service that I under-utilize
significantly, is a luxury that I can do without.

So I have cancelled my iPhone service with AT&T effective in July, with a cancellation cost of $110.  Which saves me around $700 bucks over the next year.

Do I Use It?

I just don’t use the iPhone enough to justify keeping it and to be honest as much as I like the 3G and I am sure the newer versions are even better, smart phones don’t really fit my lifestyle.  We rarely go out or very far away from home, usually have wifi service and by the way have I told you how much I love my MacBook Pro – which I use all of the time?

I use my MBP at home, work and most everywhere else that I go.  I like the keyboard entry, a screen I can see and read, real multi-tasking and the host of other things that I can do with my MBP.  Yes I know that I spend entirely too much time on it, but it does everything that I want it to and more.

I guess I just never got over the hump as far as trading in my laptop for what a smart phone can do or can’t do.

Some observations about my iPhone 3G:

As a phone my iPhone 3G pretty much sucks, I can barely hear people on the other end of the line when they are talking (I may be older but nothing is wrong with my hearing) and according to the forums that I have researched, there doesn’t seem to be any solution except to wear an ear piece.  You can’t simply turn up the volume????

Even though I had over 70 apps on my iPhone, I only actually used only around 10-15 of them very often.  I used iPod, RunTastic, SportsCenter, Stanza, and Camera pretty regularly, then once in a while I will use Mail, Google, Evernote, CoPilot, Clock and iFitness.

I did like the GPS function for recording how far I have walked, run or hiked, but it was not worth over $80 a month for that capability? I can go out and buy a single purpose GPS device that can do that.

The iPhone and other Smart phones are good general purpose tools, that do a decent job at a lot of things, but are not great at specific tasks.  They will do about 80-90% of what you need done, but it is the next 10-20% smart phones have a problem with.  Does this mean that I go out and buy individual devices for everything – no I will still have my 3G, but I will have to go get a phone and GPS device.

The reality is
that looking back I got the iPhone because I wanted to be seen as cool and tech savvy.  I don’t really need a phone with a data plan.  I got it because I wanted it and was swayed by the “wow” factor around having a smart phone.

There is a big difference between wanting something and needing something.  I wanted the iPhone, I have found out that I certainly don’t need it.

To me having the iPhone was and is more of a status symbol item to show that I am a “techie”, than has been an useful tool.

I wonder how many others out there were swayed like I was to get an iPhone/smart phone by all the hype and the neat things they thought they could do with one.  Then once they got their iPhone/smart phone, found out that they really don’t use it all that much or vastly under-used it compared to what it was costing them.

Maybe if I was on the go more or had a job where I didn’t have WIFI all the time I would find an iPhone/smart phone more useful.  But for what I do and am going to do, I really don’t need a smartphone.  I need a phone that will work well, a GPS unit and an iTouch, which is basically what my iPhone 3G will become in July.  If I did’t have a computer then I might see the iPhone/smart phone differently.

For a while I will use a combination of Google Voice (for business calls) and my wife’s flip phone until we figure out our real phone service needs over the next couple of months.

This is the part of this semi-retirement thing that I really do like, I can take time to make decisions and not have to rush around like a chicken with its head cut-off and make a rash decision that I will regret later.

What do you think – are the iPhones/smart phone over-hyped and under-utilized for the cost of what you get?

Next on my downsizing for retirement – Cable TV.

“Are you doing the right thing for the right reason?”