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December 11, 2012
In the summer of ninth grade I was happy as a ninth grader could be. I had just celebrated a birthday and extra money filled my pockets. Coincidentally, my cell phone had just died for the third time due to faulty wiring. I was done getting a replacement that would die and lose all of my contacts and pictures six months later. I finally convinced my mom to take me to the Verizon store. I ended up buying the newest “smartphone” on the market, the LG Voyager. It was perhaps the worst purchase I ever made. Within a couple of months it felt like the touchscreen was just a rock that lit up. I could not even input three numbers in a row successfully. The final straw was the battery. It would constantly come loose, causing the phone to turn off randomly, often when I needed it most.

After my contract expired I went back to the Verizon store looking for something that would just work reliably. I eventually decided on the Alias two. I read many good reviews about it and was excited to try it out. Once again, problems arose within months. The keys felt like they were covered in honey, the screen would freeze up, and the texts I sent failed to find the right destinations. Eventually this phone too pushed me to the breaking point. One day while charging it I heard a pop and came over to find that the battery had overheated and melted my phone’s memory.

I had enough. However, the timing worked perfectly to where Christmas was right around the corner. I knew exactly what I wanted, something I had wanted for years. A device I had almost begun to idolize, the iPhone. I begged and begged and sure enough, on Christmas morning, a shiny, new iPhone 4S sat under our Christmas tree with my name on it. Since that day I couldn’t be happier with my phone. Never have I had a problem with contacts, electric issues, or customer support. Everything I ask of it is done quickly and exactly how I want it.

That’s the wonderful characteristic about iPhones: they are reliable. Buying an iPhone is like buying a V-6 Honda Accord. You buy it, you enjoy driving it, and you get it cleaned every now again. Any maintenance can be quickly and professionally taken care of, but for the most part your car starts everyday and runs perfectly. Most iPhone competitors today are like lower-end Subarus. They might compete with an Accord but they don’t play on the same level. They have lines but lack the refined sophistication that is clearly apparent in an Accord. These cars have an upside though: they are much easier to tamper with. Someone who knows what they are doing can super-charge the engine, add body work, and improve the suspension. In the end you might have something sleeker and faster than the Accord, but it still took time and effort to get it that way. For most people being able to drive the car off the lot happy without having to make any modifications later is the ideal choice.

Being the closest grandson to my mother’s parents and attending a church of mostly elderly people I have taught many people how to use their phone. Since these people often aren’t very good with technology, they frequently need someone to show them the ropes. Time after time I will go help someone with his or her iPhone and within one or two visits they can do almost anything. It often takes twice as long for someone to learn the same things on an Android device. Another fascinating, and surprising, observation is how people have often already figured out some things on their iPhones before I begin to help them. Before my first session with an iPhone user a basic knowledge of how to make calls, send texts, check emails, and take pictures is already present. All too often people with other phones come to me only knowing how to make calls.

Another time that an iPhone was clearly a better choice was when my mother decided to get a smartphone. At the time the iPhone had still not come to Verizon and my mom had to pick something else. She ended up going with the Palm Pre. Constantly she would ask me questions. “How do I open this attachment? How do I forward this text? How do I turn on the camera’s flash?” Whenever I was around I was able to help her, but I wasn’t always around. The final straw for her came one night while I was hanging out with friends. Her phone recommended that she back up her contacts by plugging her phone into her computer. When she complied, all of her contacts disappeared, never to be seen again.

Overall the iPhone is smooth and easy to use. While it may not offer the same freedoms or customization of other handsets, it does offer consistent, reliable usage. It is definitely true that on a typical Android device one can add many different features that could never be edited on an iPhone without jail breaking it. This is part of the reason the iPhone is so user friendly. The user interface is designed to lay out applications and settings in a simple format.
The most common complaint I hear about the iPhone is that it isn’t anything incredible, just a shiny well-built phone that has been marketed well. While this might be true, it isn’t bad. Even if the iPhone cannot do something that another phone can do, such as near-field-communication, it is still an incredible phone that has come through for my family, many friends, and me. Like millions of other people, I’d rather drive the Accord off the lot rather than a Subaru in progress.

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