iTech fever

I love my iPhone. It’s true. I don’t think I can live without it. Phone, music, Internet, e-mail, camera, calendar, GPS, a million applications . . . what isn’t to love?

But seriously, how can anyone possibly keep up with, or afford, all of the new iterations and offerings Apple Inc. keeps throwing at us? It’s no wonder Apple products are such popular items to steal. Hilariously, I thought I was so techno because I picked up my iPhone even before one of my supremely tech-loving friends, but here I am, already on my second handset because the first one crapped out, and it’s a dinosaur after just less than two years.

I know — my laptop dates back to the Jurassic Age (it still works too, though sadly, not with my beloved iPhone; I like to think it is a simple case of MAC-PC rivalry) and although I bought my first-ever new television just six years ago, the movers complained bitterly that it was too heavy and I needed to get modern and buy a flat screen. Isn’t moving the heavy stuff what I paid for? I’ll have you know, I do have a flat screen television, but the picture is crap so it is currently collecting dust in the closet. So much for (cheap) modern technology . . .

Apple isn’t the only game in town though, even if I like to think so, and in fact, its iPhone only enjoys about a 15.4-per-cent share of the global smartphone operating system market (level with Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry), while Nokia’s Symbian software has about a 44.3-per-cent share. The good news is that the technology and related bells and whistles are getting cooler and cooler. The bad news is these devices are not inexpensive to own and use and by pushing the envelope to drive sales and market share, technical problems are bound to arise.

In point of fact, what Apple and my current service provider have together failed to deliver are consistent signal and coverage. Network signal strength miscalculation (which dates back to the early 2007 version of the iPhone) remains a problem. In fact, the newly released iPhone 4 has antenna design issues that have given rise to consumer-initiated litigation in the U.S. And I still don’t get reception at the cottage.

I have pointed out many times that having limited reception has its advantages, but driving around the lake in the boat, standing in the northeast corner of my parents’ bedroom, and driving up and down the highway to try and find a live zone (that is usually only viable for a few minutes at a time) really is a pain in the neck, particularly when I know for a fact rival companies have coverage in the area.

For the time being anyway, you’ll be able to find me trolling the lake and the highway or standing like a statue in my parents’ room, rather like some sort of junkie, waiting for my next fix. Sad isn’t it?

Apple isn’t the only company having issues though. Recently, Microsoft Corp. decided to cease sales in North America of any new iterations of its Kin smartphone series and has apparently pulled the plug on the sale of any Kin devices into the European market.

The product was only launched in North America this spring. Unfortunately, with its decided lack of substantial edge over the competition and an expensive price point for the overall cell/data package by comparison to the relatively inexpensive device itself, the Kin isn’t any sort of competition for the iPhone.

I will say that one great feature I discovered about the Kin is that the device in its entirety is automatically backed up into the “cloud,” accessible from any browser. Being very lax about backing up my device, automatic backup would be very handy. Unfortunately Microsoft probably has five patents pending or already issued on this great feature, so unless that isn’t the case or Apple beat them to the punch, I guess I’ll never get to benefit from it.

iPhone, iTunes, iPad, iMac — iNeed a doctor — stat!

Sarah Dale-Harris is an intellectual property, technology, outsourcing, and interactive entertainment lawyer. Her practice focuses on the creation, development, management, commercialization, and enforcement of technology-based portfolios and related intellectual property rights. She is currently looking to outsource the packing and moving duties she has been tasked with by her parents.

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