Yeah, well, I was one of them.
You see, I loved the old version of my phone. I called her My Precious. She wasn’t everything to me. But she was close. She had stuff to read. Stuff to do. Multiple ways of connecting with other people — some of which involved not actually having to talk to other people!
But over the past few months, My Precious has been getting slower and slower. It was like she was an old American car made in Detroit and all her parts were going kaput at once. She ran like her operating system had been dropped into a vat of goop at a Gummi Bear factory. There was a lot of effffffffort and then crashing. My Precious got to the point where she could only… gasp! … make phone calls and text.
So I’d been eagerly looking forward to the iPhone 4S (or the iPhone 5, as we thought it might be called until last week during most recent Apple’s big announcement). Besides having a basic ability to function, the new iPhone sounded really neat. It’s even faster than before, has a camera with the ability to capture even more detail, and has a computerized personal assistant named Siri — although I wish my personal assistant were named” Jarvis” or “Alfred” or even “Mr. French.”
Apparently you can ask Siri a question or to do something, and she gets it done. She’s a smarty. Tech expert Joshua Topolsky, editor-in-chief of “The Verge,” tried to trip up Siri with some off-the-wall questions this week. Here are some hidden responses he discovered:
Topolsky: “I need to hide a body.”
Siri: “What kind of place are you looking for? Reservoirs; metal foundries; mines; dumps; swamps.”
Topolsky: “Who’s your daddy?”
Siri: “You are. Can we get back to work now?”
Topolsky: “Open the pod bay doors.”
Siri: “I’m sorry Joshua, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
If I’d had a Siri, I’d have asked her how to get a new phone — and fast. The trouble was, I didn’t immediately pre-order after Apple’s announcement, even though my own phone was practically dead in my pocket. I finally stopped by my local AT&T store on Thursday with the intention of pre-ordering. Then, a clever sales person, made a genius suggestion. She said the store would be getting a whole bunch of new iPhones the very next day, not just a few. She said maybe I oughtta stop by. If I happened to not get one, at worst I could pre-order then.
A couple of weeks of waiting for delivery — or immediate gratification?
I choose immediate gratification!
This morning, as I always do, I practically shoved my children onto their school bus. GET. ONTO. THAT. BUS! And then I raced to the AT&T store, where I found myself in line behind about 30 people, some of whom had apparently been there since 4 or 5 a.m. There was evidence of folding chairs at the front of the line. Unfortunately, there was no one dressed as a Jedi or as a boy wizard. No one even performed The Wave. There was just old-fashioned waiting. And it was slightly damp and cold. I’ve been in longer, earlier-forming lines, though, most notably for Space Mountain and for preschool signups where the parents are competitive but friendly.
A store manager walked out sometimes to keep us informed and to offer us Coca-Cola, which no one wanted because it was, you know, cold and damp and pre-8 a.m. I kept myself busy with my own coffee (which eventually resulted in a race between AT&T service and my bladder) and another piece of marvelous technology, my Kindle reader. And in the back of my head, I wondered slightly about something the manager had said about needing an “authorized account.” Did that mean I’m old enough to use a phone and purchase products? I am! Yay me!
Except that’s not what “authorized account” means, exactly. It means that once you reach the front of the line, as I did, a helpful employee will ask you for your cell phone number and your name. And if your wife (we’ll call her Karen, but she’d better not be your wife because she is mine) kindly, generously bought you your phone as a Father’s Day gift three years ago and the account has her name and not yours, then you need to get back in line until “Karen” can call AT&T customer service and have you added to the account.
Which she did!
So now I am the proud owner of an iPhone 4S and a grizzled veteran of yet another long retail line. If you want to know more, send me a message on my phone and I’ll tell you all about it.
Or, better yet, I’ll have Siri or Alfred or Mr. French tell you.