Steve Got An iPhone…

…And so far, he hates it!

Of all the songs in the world that could have popped into Carin’s head as she watched me play with my shiny new phone, this was the winner. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about that. I probably don’t wanna know, actually.

Yes, I caved. My old Nokia 6682 has been showing me signs pretty much since I got it back in 2009 that it was ready to bite the dust, but the last few months have been worse than ever, so since Rogers had a deal on smartphones, I thought now would be as good a time as any to replace the old thing.

I knew going in that I was more than likely ending up with an iPhone. When it comes to accessibility, they’re pretty much as good as it gets. some people swear by their androids, but judging from what I’ve seen and heard the accessibility features are very cobbled together and even less intuitive than usual for somebody just figuring out buttonless screens for the first time, and I knew I’d have enough trouble with the iPhone as it was, so that made the decision. I’d have loved a keyboard phone, but the Blackberry screenreader is still just a baby, and I want to be able to use my phone for more than adjusting speech rate and turning the volume up and down.

So I ended up getting an iPhone 4. Why not a 4S, you ask. I know you ask, because I’ve gotten that question from all kinds of people on Twitter. the reason is simple. Rogers said here are your choices. You can get a free 4, or you can pay us something like $90 or $100 and get a 4S. Who am I to turn down free, especially when the only real selling points for the 4S seem to be Siri and Dictation, neither of which are all that appealing to me. So yeah, free 4!

I’ve had it for a few days now, but thanks to some less than ideal Swiss Chalet chicken making me play a fun game of find the can and a few other non-chicken-related things I’m not talking about here, I haven’t messed about with it as much as I’d hoped. But the figuring out and playing around I have done to this point has reinforced one of my very strongly held beliefs, that being that the person responsible for unleashing touchscreens upon the world can bite my ass…twice!

When other blind folks tell you that there can be a pretty steep learning curve when you first enter the touchscreen world, believe those people! They are not, I repeat, *not* screwing around! Maybe it’s me and in fact I’m pretty sure that me has quite a bit to do with it, but steep learning curve is actually being quite charitable. I’m beginning to get the hang of some of it…I think, but just when I think I’ve made a breakthrough, I have a setback that makes me want to throw the damned thing across the room and go back to using the garbage phone because at least when you do things you more often than not get the expected result. That, and it has buttons! Oh how I already profoundly miss my buttons.

Last night it took me nearly 10 minutes to send a text message that was one word long. I nearly lost it. by it I mean both my mind and the message. My mind I understand, but when all you’re doing is searching the screen for letters and suddenly you’re seeing stuff that’s supposed to be at the top of the screen when you’re near the bottom, I don’t get how the other is even possible. I sent another one word message this morning that took only 4 minutes, so I suppose that’s good progress. I was still ready to split the phone in half and set it on fire by the end, however. Opening a notes file and trying to write didn’t help take the pressure of composing something that needed to be seen by others off, because I still had the problem of icons showing up where letters were just seconds earlier. I also have what Carin and I think is a strange issue where I’ll move my finger up and down the screen to find things, but focus either won’t move, or it moves to the wrong place. For instance, if I want letters, I get buttons. If I want letters on a different row, I get the same letters I already have. If I want certain buttons, I get different ones. And all this happens even if I don’t move my hand to a different part of the screen. I either have strange hands or this phone is far too sensitive.

All this has taught me that, as many have said, touch typing on the screen is just out of the question. So Carin, being the kind fellow that she is, bought me a bluetooth keyboard while I was sleeping. I think that’ll help, especially at first. The less exposure to screen failure I have, the better off I’ll be. I get frustrated easily when I suddenly don’t understand or can’t do things like texting that used to make perfect sense, and when I get frustrated I have to put the phone down before I throw a murderin’ on it. and since I get frustrated even more easily than usual these days, there are more breaks than there should be if I’d ever like to get anywhere. I can’t wait to get my hands on this keyboard. It can’t ship here fast enough.

Another thing I don’t understand about these things is why phone has to be its own app. the fucking thing is an i*Phone*, so why isn’t the first thing you see when you open it the phone? I won’t bother going through how making a call is like another touch typing arcade game because that just goes without saying, but clicking phone to even get there is dumb. I should have to work to get other things, but the phone is just core technology, and the main purpose behind owning the thing in the first place.

And who builds a phone that drops your calls if you hold it like a phone? That’s seriously elementary shit right there. It’s like NASA scientists saying “hey, we figured out how to get men to the moon,” and then somebody saying “great, now how do we get them home,” and the scientist coming back with “we don’t know yet” and that being perfectly ok for most people. I hear a case should pretty much solve this, but come on now.

And while I’m ranting…perhaps this feeling fades with time, but I really don’t like the feel of this phone in my hand. I find it a bit awkward. Maybe that’s got more to do with me trying to hold it the right way so I can get the different gestures down or with my broken arm from years ago, but after a few minutes I find I have to stop and shake out my hand before I can go back to what I was doing.

I sound like such a rambling old technophobe of a man right now, don’t I? I think on some level I’m writing all of this down now so that when I fall in love with this phone and wonder how I ever lived without it, I can look back and laugh about how foolish I was. I hope that’s all this is. I don’t want to be stuck with a phone I hate until my next upgrade, especially since I know where the phone world is going. I realize that we’re headed for all touchscreens all the time, so I might as well suck it up and learn it now. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, and I certainly don’t at the moment.

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