Hello, iPhone

So I think my iPod is showing its age. A thick black streak showed up on the screen a few weeks ago, and it doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. … It was only a matter of time. I’ve worked the little white device hard during the last – let me think about this – seven years, playing it for hours almost daily in my office and home.

Remember when I was so obsessed with simply owning one?

And that brings me to the newest addition to my gadget family. …

I am now an iPhone user.

Remember when I hated the idea of a cell phone being more than a device to simply call people?

The fact that I’m now equipped with an iPhone came about from a lucky turn of events connected to my work. I had been working the last three years with a Blackberry Curve … Yes, some days I fantasized about having an iPhone, but the Blackberry was working just fine for me. I didn’t know anything different, and the thought of trying to type on the iPhone’s touchscreen intimidated me.

Nonethless, I was awarded an opportunity to work with an iPhone – an iPhone 3 – on a trial basis and see how I liked it. … I liked it all right. And, after about a week, through another lucky turn of events, I was upgraded to a brand spanking new iPhone 5.

Cue the angel chorus.

I received it during the morning hours and refused to remove the packaging before I had all of the accessories. I’d seen so many of my colleagues traipsing around with cracked screens that I wasn’t even going to try using my new phone without protecting first.

So, during my lunch break, I went on a search for a case and eventually ended up at the AT&T store, where a perky young woman came to my assistance. I picked out a case I thought would work and the woman offered to put it on for me.

She seemed to share my lust for the high-tech phone. Though I suppose she’s paid to do that.

“Ooooh, you haven’t even taken it out of its packaging yet,” she said.

“No, I wanted to make sure I had it protected first.”

“Absolutely!” she said as she removed the plastic wrapping. Then she began bathing the screen and encasement.

“Have you had an iPhone before?”

“Yes,” I said, totally not acknowledging that I’m still an iPhone newbie and I had just been transformed from being a loyal Blackberry user.

“Which one did you have?”

“An iPhone 3.”

“Ooooh, you’re going to like this!” the woman said.

Having experienced some of the outdated-ness during my trial run with the iPhone 3 and having some knowledge of the upgrades in the newer models, I didn’t doubt she was right.

I smiled. “I can hardly wait.”

Fast forward to a few weeks later and – yes, yes, I am liking it.

I feel like I have my whole world in my hands. Literally.

I can access my email – work and personal – with the touch of the screen, no matter where I am. And all of my social media accounts. I could only access Facebook on my Blackberry.

I can blog on my iPhone.

I can access all of my favorite news and sports sites. At lightning speeds.

I can get instant weather updates with the Weather Channel app.

I can snap pictures and upload them immediately to my Flickr page, or Facebook – although I much prefer Flickr. … The photo part is a good thing because my digital camera had begun showing its age recently, too. Most of my pictures came out blurred on the left side, no matter the lighting or settings with which I was working.

And I have officially joined the Instagram community. …Yeah, Instragram. I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. …

(Why must people take every photo with Instragram and run those same photos through one of the vintage-styled, sepia-toned filters so that you can suddenly pretend to be some hip, artistic photographer? I believe there are certain times and places to use Instagram. Not all the time. There are photos that are perfectly captured and displayed in their array of colors and don’t deserve to be diluted by Instagram. Respect the art of photography, people.)

Sort of like the love-hate relationship I have with Facebook photo albums …

(Why must people post every blurry, out-of-focus, close-up they take to Facebook? Delete the poor photos, people! And no matter what you post, they all seem to end up in a disorganized mess, never to be looked at again – because you’d have to spend hours trying to figure out where they ended up. Seriously, good luck finding those photos from that one night you and your buddies went to the corner pub that one summer.)

Which all goes back to my preference for Flickr, its ease of use, privacy settings and wonderful ability to organize and display photos.

I’ve digressed.

Now, with my iPhone, I can listen to any radio station I want, wherever I want. … One weekend, I was doing some work in Phoebe’s room and wanted to listen to the Bearcat football game. I downloaded the Public Radio app, and – bam! – I could listen to the broadcast loud and clear on my phone. Later, I downloaded the app for WTMXthe Chicago radio station that Kates and I have faithfully listened to for a decade now; we've regularly accessed it online since moving to The ‘Ville. … And just think about the possibilities from there! I can restore my summer pastime of working in the yard while I listen to Cubs game on WGN or Brewers games on WTMJ, or classic rock on WDRV.

When we made our move to The ‘Ville, Kates and I discussed one of the advantages being that the world was becoming a smaller place and becoming more mobile. But I never imagined this!

And then there's the access to my music library. After a couple weeks of using the iPhone, I warmed up to the idea of testing how it could work with iTunes and my music library. That night, I was walking through our house with the sounds of “Abbey Road” echoing through the hallway. And the next night we were dancing around to Fun. In our kitchen. … My music library grew beyond the capacity my iPod long ago, but I’ve figured out the iPhone has nearly double the capacity – not that I’m going to load my entire music library on the iPhone. Only the really good stuff will go on the iPhone; the iPod remains my preferred music listening device.

I’m just skimming the surface here. But life is definitely good with the iPhone.

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