iPhone in case of outages


I’m an Apple guy through and through, but I have not shared in the enthusiasm for the iPhone. I almost never talk on the phone more than 100 minutes per month and hardly ever text anybody, and with the unit itself running $400 and the rate plans starting at $60 per month I really can’t justify the expense.

However, this morning I’ve seen a concrete case for owning one. Up until five minutes ago our cable and broadband were out. And we were trying to plan a trip to the Indy Zoo but the weather was iffy. With no TV or computer, we couldn’t check the radar; and with broadband out, we couldn’t even use our Vonage line to call up potential alternate destinations.  (But of course having a cell phone solved that last problem.) If I’d had an iPhone, I could have used the 3G capabilities of the phone to bypass our broadband outage and get to Weather Underground to check the radar as  well as call other places up to get their hours.

I still don’t think it’s worth $400 + $60/month just to have a device that can be useful for contingencies like this that rarely happen, but there’s something to be said for an internet device which has two independent means of accessing the web, so that one is usable if the other fails.

9 Comments

Filed under Apple, Technology

9 responses to “iPhone in case of outages

  1. Justin

    For decent Web access on a cell phone, you don’t need an iPhone. You can use Opera Mini”. It’s free, and it works on a wide variety of phones and cell phone service providers. I’ve been using it on my phone, and it’s been great.

  2. Ben Chun

    No need to make up excuses — just get one if you want one. 😉 In case of a serious emergency (natural disaster, etc) I would guess that 3G and cell coverage would be the most vulnerable to disruption, with landline phone service and pay phones among the more robust networks. I will say that if you don’t text much on your phone it’s probably because your phone doesn’t have a keyboard.

  3. Ben – No, actually I don’t text much because I don’t see the point — why not just call the person? — and because most people I’d want to text have even less of a clue of how to do it than I do. I think if I had a keyboard things wouldn’t change.

    The closest thing to a “killer app” that would make me seriously text on a regular basis is some of the functionality of Google Calendar and other Google apps that plays well with texting.

  4. Ben Chun

    I suppose the norms and social conventions around calling vs. texting vary quite a bit between different groups of people. Most of my close friends prefer txt for asking questions or giving status updates, and some even consider it rude to call without texting or IMing first to check availability. No one uses voicemail because no one wants to have to dial it up just to sit and listen to someone talk non-interactively. So time consuming!

    I guess what I meant was that perhaps if texting was easier to do (with a keyboard on the phone) for all of your friends, then you all might do it more. As beautiful as the iPhone screen is, I prefer my Helio Ocean for fast typing. If your phone can send email, then you can post to a Google Doc that way. I do that (or email myself little reminders) as well as post to Flickr via email from my phone a lot.

    Oh, and Google does have a special Docs/Spreadsheets view for iPhone:
    http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2007/10/docs-on-go.html

    Not that I’m trying to tempt you into buying an expensive toy or anything…🙂

  5. Believe me Ben, at the price the iPhone incurs, I’m only tempted on the outermost level. If they drop the price to under $200 and the cost of the plan to something like I normally use (around $30/month) then I’ll be SERIOUSLY tempted. It’s a cool gadget but not within my means right now!

  6. And also Apple needs to get the storage on these things above 8 GB.

  7. Jami

    And just think… 20 years ago we all lived perfectly happy lives without cell phones and text messages. 🙂
    Dont get me wrong, I love having my cell phone because it has gotten me out of quite a few jams, but some days I just want to throw the thing in the toilet! God forbid my mom cant get ahold of me every second of every day.🙂

  8. Hear hear, Jami. People seem to have lost the art of disconnecting themselves from time to time.

    That morning I mentioned when the cable and internet were out, for example, was blessedly quiet around out place and we had some very good family time.