Life of a 1st Gen iPhone

On April 22, 2010

After the applause at last week’s conference had died down, and Apple packed away its reality distortion field until the next show, many iPhone users began to wonder what was to become of the one unmentioned iPhone: the first generation. I know it may be hard to believe that there are those out there who still use Apple’s initial entry into the mobile phone world. The first generation iPhone not only initially sold for $600 with a contract, but was an EDGE-only phone with a measly 8GBs of space for your music, photos, etc. Mind you, it was a different world out there. The app store was merely a twinkle is Steve’s eye, and Apple told us that web sites were just as good as real apps on the iPhone. Our iPhones couldn’t look up a website while making a phone call unless we were connected to wifi. It was a harder time, and we paid dearly to be a part of it.

From the iPhone’s simple, yet presumptuous, beginnings to last year, we have seen incredible improvements to our little Cupertinian smart phone. I now rarely take my laptop with me on trips so long as I have my handy iPhone, with all of its handheld entertainment, organization, and productivity apps. I feel like my phone has finally grown up to become the all-inclusive device I always wished it would be. So there I was, at the edge of my seat, anxiously awaiting the newest upgrade to my digital life when his Jobsness dropped the bomb on us: the last update would not fully support first generation iPhones.

At the time, MMS was one of the big missing features of the iPhone. It was one of those things people would ask how you ever got along without it since their $20 LG phone from three years ago could send MMS. We made do without it (and found workarounds) but now was our time to say, "See? Now we have all those features, AND we can do so much more!" You can imagine my disappointment when I realized that I wouldn’t be sending anyone photos of what I had for lunch, or forwarding the latest lolcat picture that was going around the office. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the reasoning behind the feature snub I received. I knew in my heart that my aging iPhone was due for a trip to the great Apple Store in the sky. I also knew Apple would need to leave behind the elderly if they were going to make it through the pass and sell more iPhones. The shiny new 3GS was very tempting indeed, and in fact, I started setting aside funds to make the upgrade to the "latest and greatest" class.

As my savings account grew, and the days until I would have my new "precious" drew near, I began to realize more and more that the consumerism and gadget lust I felt masked the simple fact that my first generation iPhone was still, in fact, a fantastic mobile device. I was quite use to the speed, or lack there of, of the EDGE network. MMS aside, it remained on par with the core features of the OS. The only apps I could not enjoy were a handful of games that I probably shouldn’t be wasting my time playing anyway. So, with all things considered, I decided to punt this last year and wait to see what 2010 would hold in store for my pocket.

Now with Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 announced and with Steve’s confirmation that first generation iPhones are being completely left out in the cold, It seems this year is the final year for those of us still clinging to our aging iPhones. WWDC 2010 is still months away, but after seeing what’s ahead with iPhone OS 4.0, I believe I made the best calculation. If Apple continues its current trend, the fourth generation iPhone will undoubtedly surpass the 3GS in many ways, and as Apple has demonstrated, be a viable piece of hardware with substantial updates to the OS for at least 3 years. My little first generation iPhone may have the battery life of a digital camera on alkalines, but it should hold together a few more months; at which time it will be turned over to my children to use as an iPod touch, while Daddy goes to open the box for his new slice of Apple goodness.