It's been one of those days when it comes to technology. Actually one of those two months. And, given the amazing timing of a new article I wrote for the site the other day, I thought I'd share my tale of iWoe with you. It goes like this:
I bought the iPhone 3G on the first day it came out in July 2008. I have to, right? I mean, I write this site. I need to know what's up with the latest/greatest from Apple. So, I had it and enjoyed it for months. But, around Christmas I noticed that the back of the phone's casing had cracked a bit and a piece next to the ring/silent button had fallen off. I hadn't dropped the phone - just looked like a random failure.
After returning from my holiday travels, I took my phone to the Apple Store. The guy at the Genius Bar (just can't bring myself to call him a genius, even though he was very nice and smart; I mean, I just met him. Who am I to judge?) inspected it, judged the crack not to be my fault (which it wasn't), and gave me a new phone. Pretty much the perfect support/repair experience, really.
Except. Except that within a month or so, that new phone started acting very strangely. Overnight, it drained almost its whole battery without reason, began having file management problems, and restarting itself 10-12 times per day. I immediately went back to the Apple Store and spent some quality time with another Genius Bar rep.
This problem was a bit more complex and suggested multiple causes (possibly both hardware and software failures, she thought, though I was leaning to the hardware side). Given the magnitude of the issues, she deemed it best to replace the phone again. Again, lovely experience, but three new iPhones in 6-7 months had me wondering about Apple's QA processes.
Then came this morning.
I live in Rhode Island, and despite a few recent days of nice weather, we're still in winter, which means a lot of dry indoor heat. So, while I sleep I keep two things next to my bed: a glass of water and my phone. When I woke up this morning, I rolled out of bed, grabbed my phone ... and then dropped it right into the glass of water. It was about 75% submerged - and very soaked - for the few seconds it took me to fish it out. (The picture with this post shows you the vicious, evil cup in question.)
Now, this is kind of good timing (if it can be called that), because I'd just written an article about what to do when your iPod gets wet. So, I knew what to do.
First, I shook the water out of the phone, but as I did that, the screen just faded away to black. Uh oh. Then the phone kept trying to restart, even after I tried turning it off, with the screen looking very dim.
I repeated the shaking of the phone, blew into the SIM slot and dock connector a bit and cursed my bad luck. I also checked my bank balances and online pricing for a new iPhone (this is my only phone - for work and personal use; I can't go a day without it).
I had some friends coming for brunch, so I set the iPhone in a sunny spot in my office, hoping the warmth from the sun would dry it out and went off to eat. When I returned, the phone seemed to be working. The screen was bright and clear again. But it kept restarting.
So I took a slightly aggressive step. You're usually supposed to wait a few hours or a day to bring a hair dryer into the equation, but I needed to know right away if I'd be buying a new phone, so I began blowing the dryer (on low) into the SIM slot and dock connector.
It seemed to help. The screen looked good, the phone stopped restarting, and I could use the phone. Except, I wasn't getting any sound out of the speakers, couldn't get audio when I tried to make calls, the phone thought it had headphones attached even when there were none, and I could see condensation on the camera. Uh oh.
But I kept running the hair dryer, setting the two a few inches from each other for 5-10 minutes. And lo and behold, that did it!
The phone works, the speakers work, I can place calls, sync, listen to music, connect to the web, send texts, and my camera looks clear (though the image I took of the cup of water looks blurry. Hmm). I think I've saved my iPhone. After it sat in a few inches of water. Maybe Apple's QA isn't so bad after all!
I'm not sure yet whether the phone is completely fixed yet or whether I'll have to buy a new one later this week, but signs are positive.
I'm curious, readers, what similar experience have you had? Have you saved iPods or iPhones from the brink of death or have they slipped away from you? What techniques haven't been successful for you? Which worked?