Monday, December 21, 2009

Upgrading/Replacing a BlackBerry vs. an iPhone

I know this whole article will start the inevitable flame-war with Apple fanbois, but here’s something about the iPhone that I found to be a serious time-waster, and data-loser. Upgrading! My wife has had the original iPhone since it came out. She loves the iPhone, but she has had FIVE of them. One heated up and stayed red-hot (shorted-out?), so she took it for replacement. Two seized up, replaced. One’s screen failed. Her fifth one was the charm, which worked for several years. Recently, I got her the iPhone 3GS for her birthday, so she could enjoy 3G speed. Just so you know, she never listens to music on her iPhone, buys songs, or syncs it with iTunes – ever.

Also, to make it more difficult, since AT&T is so terrified that I will sell the iPhone on eBay, they would not let me buy her new phone without converting over her old iPhone number. So I couldn’t surprise her with a shiny new iPhone; I had to rob her of her phone, for several hours, and basically she knew what I was going to do then. So, no “Surprise!” That sucks. When I bought the iPhone, at the Apple Store, I asked them if they could be gems and quickly copy over the data for me, because I knew how much trouble it would be. No, they don’t do that; no, no. So I had to do it myself.

I had the choice of getting an iPhone when I was up for renewal from my old Treo 750, but I chose the BlackBerry Bold (my first BlackBerry) for two reasons – I wanted a keyboard, and my employer will not let any iPhones connect to their server (security reasons), but we have tens of thousands of BlackBerry users connected. I have had three Bolds – one seized up, one had a firmware problem and one’s trackball starting double-clicking a lot, from my constant power-use. I am getting an upgrade from AT&T in a few days; the tech guy asked me if I wanted an iPhone instead of a Bold. I told him, “No, I want a BlackBerry.” So they are sending me a BlackBerry Bold 9700.

So I have lots of experience with swapping out both BlackBerries and iPhones. How difficult is it to replace either of these phones? Well, let’s see; I will do the BlackBerry first.

BlackBerry Swap Steps:

  1. Connect old BlackBerry to PC with USB cable.
  2. Do backup with Desktop Manager.
  3. Remove old BlackBerry’s SIM card.
  4. Put SIM card in new BlackBerry.
  5. Connect new BlackBerry to PC with USB cable.
  6. Do restore from backup, with Desktop Manager.
  7. Done.
  8. Time elapsed? A few, maybe ten minutes.

At this point, I have an exact replica of my previous BlackBerry Bold.


iPhone Swap Steps:

  1. Install iTunes on my PC. Her 4-year-old iBook is too old to run iTunes+iPhone software, so I have to use the Windows XP iTunes version on my PC, which is from 2001.
  2. Connect old iPhone to PC with USB cable.
  3. Since she doesn’t sync, I have to somehow get the data off the old iPhone, into a backup. There is no backup. I call tech support, and they say, buy MobileMe – $100. No, I’m not doing that. So I try to sync with Outlook. How can I keep her contacts separate from my Outlook contacts? I have to export the data to Windows Address Book, into a specific filename.
  4. Sub-Steps

    • Go into Windows Address Book and export my contacts into a backup file.
    • Delete all my contacts from Windows Address Book.
    • Import her contacts into Windows Address Book with iTunes (took a couple of tries)
    • Sync with iTunes into her new iPhone.
    • Delete all her contacts from Windows Address Book.
    • Import my contacts back from the backup file.

  5. What about her calendar entries? I have to use Google Calendar. I had to create a Google account for her, then sync with it. That failed; it cleared out her calendar entries on the iPhone. She’s gonna be angry with me!
  6. What about her photographs? She has hundreds of photographs on her iPhone. I set up a folder to sync those pictures to, on my PC. That worked, thankfully, but I am not sure why, and I don’t know if I could do it again.
  7. So I feel pretty good about it, and disconnect the old iPhone.
  8. I connect the new iPhone to the USB cable – it says it has a backup, so I let it do a restore from that. No name/date on that backup, or anything else. Just faith.
  9. Wait.
  10. Disconnect the iPhone and check it out. The pictures are there, but no contacts.
  11. Retry everything; works second time.
  12. All applications had to be re-downloaded and re-installed.
  13. Time elapsed? About three hours!

I gave my wife her new iPhone, and she loved it, but wondered where her bookmarks were, all her general settings were lost, Wifi locations were all gone, email addresses were gone, emails were all gone, from multiple accounts. I cannot believe Apple did not/will not provide a simple, comprehensive backup for this phone. Even my old Nokia 3650 had a backup/restore, and it was from 1998!

Conclusion: Yeah, the iPhone is pretty, but try supporting it.

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