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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-10-25 18:47
Subject: [tech] iPhone grr
Security: Public
Tags:iphone, personal, tech

Well, I finally made the transition and joined the cult of iPhone. Day One with my 16GB iPhone 3G has not been happy. Not in the least.

The iPhone has repeatedly hung, requiring me to power cycle it to clear application freezes in the telephony application as well as the highly-rated SSH application I downloaded from the app store.

Very often I have to tap a command multiple times before the touchscreen responds, a ludicrous problem to have. It seems dreadfully slow to recognize changes in its orientation, which is supposed to be a feature of this device.

The AT&T network here in my area of Portland is notably inferior to the Sprint network I’ve been on — which may be creating some of the other problems I’m having, if network latency is a factor in application behavior. I can’t even make a call from inside the Safeway near my house unless I approach the very front of the building.

Under most circumstances I would just have taken the damned thing back already. That’s three strikes, right there. But I’ve switched carriers to get this phone. Untangling that will be a mess. And almost literally everyone I know who owns one sings high praises, which makes me wonder if I have a hardware lemon. The multiple screen tapping issue, and the failure to recognize when the phone has been rotated, suggest this.

I’ll live with it a few days and see if some of the bugs shake out, but right now I’d give this thing a C- at best. Which is a shame, because I’ve been a diehard Apple fan since 1985, and I waited a long time to get an iPhone specifically in order to avoid early adopter issues.

Are you an iPhone user? Did you have problems like this out of the box?

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

Post A Comment | 16 Comments | | Flag | Link






User: n5red
Date: 2008-10-26 01:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
32GB iPhone? I thought 16GB was the max.

Mine has been working just fine. Sometimes I have a little trouble tapping the very left side of the screen, but that only affects a few games.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-10-26 02:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My bad, it's a 16GB. Post corrected.
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User: n5red
Date: 2008-10-26 02:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm doing too many things at once. Sigh. I meant to recommend taking your phone in to an Apple store and seeing what they say.

Also, if you haven't upgraded to the latest firmware, you probably should.

The only real troubles I've had is with iTunes. I had to repartition my notebook and install Windows XP to be able to get it to connect with my phone. Grumble, grumble, wouldn't even work under vmware. A pox upon proprietary operating systems! Particularly ones from Redmond!
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Brenda Cooper: sasha and nix fall park
User: bjcooper
Date: 2008-10-26 04:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:sasha and nix fall park
My vista machine sees my iphone just fine.
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Adam Israel
User: stonetable
Date: 2008-10-26 01:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was an early adopter, thanks to having a boss that's even more of an Apple fan than I am.

I did have some delays in rotation in the earlier versions of the software but I haven't noticed it at all in the last few months. I've had delays in screen tapping, also attributed to buggy software.

I've had a few friends with bad hardware out of the box, so it wouldn't surprise me if yours was as well. The 3G phone is still relatively new enough, with new components, for their still to be some glitches to happen in production.

BTW, which SSH application are you using?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-10-26 02:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm using TouchTerm. I wonder if installing it has led to these other issues. I'm quite frustrated at the moment.
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Alexander B. L.
User: aleksandyr
Date: 2008-10-26 02:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Speaking as an iPhone 3G owner --- I'm experiencing the exact same problems in Seattle. I still remain enough of an Apple fan to drive to Portland* tomorrow to buy a new MacBook Pro. :)

I've started rebooting in the morning. I've never had a hard crash, but I have had freezes lasting upwards of 30 seconds.

The rotation sensor varies from perfect to terrible, usually at a rapid pace.

Supposedly AT&T has one T1 for voice and one T1 for data at each tower: ergo, if you're near a lot of iPhones, which are simply data hogs, expect severe service issues.

I have a degree of faith in Apple here --- I expect them to fix it. I've also had friends who swapped their iPhone out and stopped having (as many) problems, so I'd give that a shot as well.

*I do not, however, remain a fan of 9% sales tax.
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Dave Gallaher
User: dave_gallaher
Date: 2008-10-26 04:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, the number of T1 lines to each cell site varies depending on the site and projected usage. Most in cities and along highways with heavy traffic will have more than one of each.
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Deborah Layne
User: deborahlive
Date: 2008-10-26 02:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We had ATT Wireless for quite while and had significant coverage issues (e.g., we couldn't use our cell phones inside our house), dropped calls, etc. We've had Sprint for two years now and skipped iPhones because we're unwilling to go back to ATT.

Even if you iron out some of your Apple specific issues, you may not enjoy ATT.

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Dave Gallaher
User: dave_gallaher
Date: 2008-10-26 04:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You can get an idea of the coverage from AT&T's coverage viewer at http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/. It defaults to voice and EDGE, but you check a box to see the 3G coverage once you have entered an address.
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Brenda Cooper
User: bjcooper
Date: 2008-10-26 04:21 (UTC)
Subject: I love my iphone
I have the old one. With the new software. It does not have serious bugs. The battery runs out a little fast, but that's about it. It does run better at home with the wireless network, but I suspect that is the outer world network's fault and not the phone's fault. I would not give it up easily. It is my casual camera, gets my work and home email, lets me text my kid, and even occasionally functions as a phone. I feel almost like Scotty.
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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2008-10-26 04:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've got one, and not had problems like that out of the box.
I do recommend iSSH for SSH, but the alternative, which would possibly solve some problems, and would also give you access to a quite nice Terminal program with which you can use SSH, is to jailbreak the thing.
I've had a jailbroken iPhone 3G for a while, and it's rather awesome. mobileterminal is cool, and you can SSH into the phone as well with it jailbroken. Plus you can tether it via various means (PdaNet is probably the nicest), and install other stuff Apple don't want you to have...

Certainly updating your firmware might help your problems, and jailbreaking effectively means installing a new firmware (I'd follow instructions from somewhere like BigBoss...)

But it could just be a shonky piece of hardware you've got...
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David D. Levine
User: davidlevine
Date: 2008-10-26 06:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Kate's had three iPhones so far. She dropped the first one and broke the screen, the second one had a bum accelerometer, the third one is fine. The symptoms of the bad accelerometer are: works perfectly until the iPhone sleeps for 30 seconds or more, then when it wakes the screen no longer rotates (see http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7577258#7577258 for more info). If your problem matches these symptoms, you have a hardware issue and you should be able to get the phone replaced. I don't recall her having problems with the touch screen not responding, though.

You should definitely try removing the SSH client (and maybe ALL third-party software) to see if that's causing the problem too.
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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2008-10-26 10:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Happy iPhone 3G owner here (in Europe). Minor delays in opening the settings and sms apps on occasion, but that's about it -- the thing's rock solid, and the only crashes I've had are associated with Cydia and Installer applications (I jailbroke it within 3 hours -- why are you looking at me like that?).
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Andrew
User: carnwrite
Date: 2008-10-26 20:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
No problems on mine, other than the 3G coverage hole around our house ;) It came loaded with the new software, so that's something to check. Sounds like you might have a lemon.
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Hedonist
User: ethicalhedonist
Date: 2008-10-27 03:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've used mine in Portland, San Francisco, and Boston in the past month. It has worked beautifully in all three places. I found the GPS/map functionality extremely useful when I was in Boston. Likely you've got a hardware problem or you've loaded some incompatible software. To save battery usage I turn off 3G and activate it only when I want to do browsing or emailing and there is no available wireless access.
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