Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2014 (Bloomington, MN) with:

Apple iPhone 3G Has Been Extremely Frustrating

By Ben Nadel on

A few weeks after the Apple iPhone 3G came out, I upgraded my phone. I got the new Black 16 Gig model and installed all the updates that have been released for it. And, I only have one thing to say: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


 
 
 

 
Apple iPhone 3G Has Been Extremely Frustrating And Very Undependable  
 
 
 

I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but my iPhone 3G has been extremely frustrating. At first, I overlooked the fact that it was slow and buggy because the Internet was much faster than on the original iPhone. But, it has just gotten to be too much. And, what's even more frustrating is that the iPhone 3G has gotten progressively more frustrating with each 250 Megabyte update that I've had to download and install.

My biggest complain lately is the completely undependable nature of the actual phone service. And I'm not talking about how many bars I have; I'm referring to the actual phone functionality of the device. With the frequency of almost every other call, one of the following happens:

  • The phone doesn't ring at all, but then the screen lights up to tell me I missed the call.
  • The phone rings, but the interface is frozen and will not let me "slide open" to answer the call.
  • The phone rings, I "slide open" to answer, and the phone continues to ring.
  • The phone rings, I "slide open" to answer, the phone stops ringing, and the line is dead.

And, I'm not talking like every once in a while. This is happening like every other incoming call (if not more often). This is simply unacceptable!

My network connectivity also seems to be much crappier since the latest iPhone 3G update. Now, my Twitteriffic app often times out or has some sort of connection failure and its mini-browser - forget about it (I've stopped trying to use the mini browser altogether as it never connects). And my Pandora app?!?! I haven't been able to connect to the Pandora service from my iPhone 3G in over two weeks.

On top of that, the usual problems are still there - the interface is very slow and often crashes after 5-10 seconds of "frozen" time. The browser cache is exteremly small, even on a 16 model.

I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who is having these problems. Frankly, it feels like Apple is not doing anything with their updates. Apple designs a nice looking product, no doubt. But I am really beginning to get tired of their less-than-performant applications (iPhone, iTunes).



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Reader Comments

Wow, sounds really bad. Maybe there's a hardware problem. You might want to look into if other people are having these problems as often as you have. If not, maybe you should try to get an exchange, because like you say it's unacceptable.

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I like the "answer a call and 10 seconds later the ipod starts playing again, double the decibel level of the call while you fumble to navigate to pause it again" That's with the non-3g though

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Have you done a full restore of the iPhone...that seems to fix many issues. If it doesn't, take it to a Genius.

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When I said restore, I don't mean from a backup. Let it rebuild it as if new...all your data will be fed to it from iTunes.

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If it's any consolation, the EDGE version isn't necessarily any better. Incoming calls sometimes don't ring, text messages duplicate on their way out, voicemail notification shows up minutes or hours later, calls drop for no reason, Safari crashes regularly ... today's problem is that no custom apps will run.

My iPhone was replacing a Treo 650 with EarthLink service. At least with that one, I knew what the problems were, and they didn't seem to be nearly this bad. In fact, I'd suspect the reception was the biggest problem, and that wouldn't be an issue any more (because it seems they no longer offer cellular service).

I'm reaching the point where I'm weighing the ETF against a phone I would like more, but I'm not really interested in Sprint or Verizon, and I'm not entirely sure staying with AT&T will give me the best deal on a phone ...

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Ben,

I really think it's something on your end as I've not had those problems. I'd probably suggest resetting the iPhone to it's original state from when you bought it (firmware 2.0) and starting from scratch. It's possible that an update got hosed somehow.

I was able to connect to Pandora just now w/ no issues.

Rey

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I have had nothing but great things to say about it. I would think that it must be your phone or the firmware on it. Try a restore if that doesn't work then use your warranty and get another one.

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Ben, I recommend the Motorola Q. Sure, it's not as sexy as the iPhone, but it does what it should: It just works.

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I have an orrignal iphone. Believe it or not, it's my third one. The first one freaked out one day (the screen went a bazillion colors and then faded to black) and ever came back on. The second one wouldn't ring when in stand by.

In both cases I went back for tech support, demoed the problems and they gave me a new phone.

If you can reliably demo that the phone doesn't ring on every call or any of these other issues they'll probably just give you a new phone.

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@Doug,

Not sure if can reliably demo any of it as they don't happen on every call. Nor does my browser always crash, etc.

I am hoping the restore does the trick. But I'm already concerned as I did the restore once and went down stairs for a snack. When I got back, the iPhone said "Synch in Progress", but nothing was happening in iTunes. In iTunes, it was just giving me another "Restore" option... so I selected it again. I think it might just be running restore for a second time... not a good sign :)

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If it fails to do it, take it to a Apple store and let one of the Mac Geniuses do it so that way, if it fails on them, you have some recourse.

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@Rey,

Will do. Also, I just connected to Pandora.com app and that worked. So that's good. But, I guess I never synched up all my apps as I lost one of them.

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Ben,

I've also heard that installing Apps directly to the phone can create issues, downloading them through iTunes is preferred. (I think it was Leo Laporte that mentioned this)

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@Steve,

Interesting tip. To be totally honest, I didn't even know you can download apps directly in iTunes. I don't much care for iTunes and use it only to put music on my phone :)

I will give this a go.

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I have one, dont have any of these problems.

One person in the office does however, and he is returning it. You might just have a lemon.

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@Dale,

I can't tell if its comforting or disconcerting to know that *some* people are having this problem. I wonder how prevalent it is. I haven't gotten any calls since my Restore.

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I've never had any of the problems you describe. It was sluggish up until the last update, but it's working great now. I don't think any of the ringtones are loud enough, but I guess I can live with that considering what an amazing phone it is.

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By far, not the first time I've heard an iPhone 3G owner that is terribly disappointed in the difference between the hype and the product.

As I write this on my utterly dependable Blackberry Curve. :)

Hope it works out for you.

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There is a sound button just above the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone 3G. If you see an orange dot, the sound is turned off. Slide the button over to cover the dot and you will hear the phone ring!

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After reading your post, I am so very glad that I have not bought the iPhone. I figured it would be a while to "debug" the thing, and it sounds like I was right about that! Thanks for sharing!

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I know this may sound like a noob question, but is the iPhone still only available with service from AT&T? I'd get an iPhone today, but where I live AT&T simply doesn'tt have a strong enough signal. Verizon is it for where I live....

Thanks,

Rich

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@Rich,

I think it is only available for AT&T. However, I think if you JailBreak one it will work with T-Mobile (but don't take my word for it - that's just what I've heard).

I also heard some people talking on the subway the other day that Verizon might open up to it soon... but that could be totally bogus.

... all to say, yeah, its only for AT&T.

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I had tons of problems with my iPhone 3G when I first bought it, the biggest of which was just that it was a slow-as-all-eff POS. Returning it to the store and purchasing a non-iPhone seemed to fix everything though.

I actually had what Apple deemed 3 straight "defective" 1st gen (Edge) iPhones, and the Apple store was glad to replace them with a new defective phone each time. When I got my 3rd I just sold it to some poor T-Mobile bastard on Craig's List and ate the early-termination fees.

I gave it another shot with the 3G, but even with 3G speed, the web-browsing and general use experiences were still a joke. So, I returned it to Apple and canceled within 30 days and have been happy ever since.

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I've had a problem with Pandora over 3G for the last few days. Works fine via WiFi but fails to connect over 3G, even when I have 5-bar signal and other apps are running smoothly. Seems to be since I downloaded an update to the app. I've tried resetting all settings but have not (yet) tried deleting the app.

Probably moot anyway, as obscene royalties are about to force Pandora and a lot of other internet radio stations to pull the plug.

Rick
twitter: rickmbari

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@Rick,

I have been finding lately that the bars on the phone have very little to do with the ability to connect to the data stream - Pandora, Safari, etc.

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@Ben I know, but Pandora is failing when everything else (Maps, Safari, Graffitio, Twitterrific) is working fine. It worked until a couple of days ago, but now fails consistently any time I don't have WiFi. Shame that, it's a great app when it works.

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@Rick,

Agreed - it is a great app when it's working. I run into the problem where it will work for the first song and then can't seem to play any other songs without stopping every 5 seconds.

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if your iphone is not ringing at all it may be due to the switch on the side of the phone next to the volume control. you can switch it back and forth to have your ring on and off.

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I have THE exact same problem. My screen cracked about a month ago but I hadn't dropped it. I had no idea where it happend. I meant to get to the Apple Store (I bought the warranty) and hadn't had time. Then today it bounced on the blacktop gravel at work and looks like I dropped it.

So, with my recurring NO RING problem, I'm afraid I won't get a phone. I'll post what happens at the apple store.

I've tried all of the fixes for the iPhone 3g: factory resets, turn off and on, etc. Nothing, just a $300 phone plus extra monthly charges that I miss calls on...

FRUSTRATING!

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Ben-

iPhone be damned! I went and bought a Blackberry Curve. Far and away the best thing I've done for mobile communications. Why? I could stay with Verizon, the full Blackberry service was only an extra $30/mo, including unlimited internet. (My friends and family all have Verizon so calls and texts to them are no charge) Also, NO touch screen. Folks I've spoken with have been hating their touch screen phones for a variety of reasons, so I even got a free case that has a clear plastic cover for the screen part of the phone. And: QWERTY keyboard, my thumbs just like how it feels so much better, and the little roller mouse/pointer-thingie has been really refined, not too hard, not too soft ;-)

After seeing the differences between the Blackberry and the iPhone I'd have to say, hands down, go with the Blackberry. Caveat: I had AT&T once before and they gave me very poor customer service. I told them it would come back to bite them one day, so if only one person does not buy an iPhone from reading this then karma is in full effect, what goes around comes around.

Rich

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My iphone will not ring when calls come in, text messages are hours delayed. I missed calls all the time. I have reset the phone and still the same thing. Any suggestions?

friedman8018@yahoo.com

feel free to email me

thanks
Matt

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@Matt,

It's been a couple of months since I did the full factory-default restore and my phone has been acting much nicer since. If you have done that and are still having lots of problems, you might just want to get a new phone (trade it in).

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Thanks Marlin. I bought the iPone 3G for my son and thought I had ended up with a lemon. Thank God I did a search on the internet before calling at&t. Not only was his phone not ringing but he had some applications with sound that were not working either. We found the orange dot and slid the button over to cover the dot. Yes! Yes! Yes! It finally worked. Thank you so much!!!!

(There is a sound button just above the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone 3G. If you see an orange dot, the sound is turned off. Slide the button over to cover the dot and you will hear the phone ring!

Posted by Marlin on Aug 29, 2008 at 2:08 PM )

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My iphone would not ring.Thanks to Marlin's comments
(Aug 29, 2008 at 2:08 PM) my phone now rings.

"There is a sound button just above the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone 3G. If you see an orange dot, the sound is turned off. Slide the button over to cover the dot and you will hear the phone ring!"

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I've had mine for two weeks and have had no problems - up until now.

My ringer icon keeps popping up switching itself on and off randomly. I've taken the vibration function off because having it vibrate every time the phone decides to randomly switch from normal to silent to normal to silent back to normal was driving me nuts.

But it still does it, and the icon pops up randomly and it pretty much makes the phone unusable - if the icon is on screen I can't use the touch interface.

Do you think a restore would fix matters? Or should I just get a new phone? It's only two weeks old. The warranty definitely still covers it.

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@Mike,

You might want to take it to the store, just to get their opinion? If you've only had it a short while, I guess you don't have too much stuff on it yet. Try a restore though, if that's easier.

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Funnily enough, I can't restore it either haha. It comes up with an error message saying I cannot restore the phone, but the phone is currently in the state where it asks you to connect it to iTunes to start using it. I do, and iTunes says it needs to be restored - but it won't actually allow me to complete the restoration process.

Love the phone. Very useful, sleek and easy to use. But I must have gotten a lemon! I'll be taking it back and getting a replacement.

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Yep. Unfortunately it's time to get a brand new one - two weeks in! Still a great phone, though.

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@Marlin,
For days I could not get my phone to ring...just found your post from 2008...thank you!

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I have a 3G Iphone but appear to be Getting alot of problems with it freezing and switching itself off? I press both top and centre buttons together to reset it, but it doesnt switch back on at all? I end up press and hold very firmly for about 20 seconds both buttons! Still nothing, so I try again, it fires back up eventually. The white apple sign shows put there is a thin white line showing in the black area above the apple. Do you think I have been sold a faulty phone? Should I be sending it back? Is this a common problem with the iphone G3

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mmmm think I might do the same, its really really annoying, all the faults and problems, its very disappointing and I am not at all satisfied with it! So Dave I might just be happier without the dam thing! @David,

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@Lisa,

Sounds like you might just have a faulty one. Perhaps try plugging it into iTunes and restoring it to the factory settings (backup the phone first). If not, it should be covered under warranty for a year (I think all Apple products have a 1-year warranty).

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@Marlin,

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I moved the button on the side, which did have the orange dot. Once I slid it I checked and the sound is working again. It didn't just ring,but I immediately checked and it is working. Excellent. No restore, no visiting store. Excellent!

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