Leaving the iPhone behind

Opinion: I’ve never had a mobile phone as good as the iPhone. It’s also the best MP3 player I’ve owned. Still, I wonder occasionally how long it will be before I toss it aside for a newer, more satisfying cellphone. After all, it’s only the latest in a long line of handheld devices I’ve recycled since my Motorola flip phone in 1993.

Besides, the iPhone gave me the flu.

You see, about 10 days ago I had to drive from my home in the Willamette Valley in Oregon to the Northern California coast. There are two ways to get there. My preference is to drive along the gorgeous Oregon coastline to the equally sublime California oceanfront. However, it was a Friday and I had a business call to make mid-way through the drive, which forced me to take the second route, Interstate 5, a mostly tedious freeway that stretches from the Mexican border in the south to the Canadian one up north.

The iPhone’s only carrier, AT&T, does not have the best coverage along the edge of the Pacific. So, I stopped in Grants Pass, Oregon, where the coverage was great. It’s also where I grabbed a late breakfast and overheard the locals chatter about who was sick in the community and the staff discuss who was out that day with the flu. Perhaps I only imagined sneezing coming from the kitchen, but the coughing I heard inside the restaurant was real.

Now, after a week of coughing, sneezing, aches and a decent fever, I am dwelling on what it would take to leave the iPhone.

Not that much.

Seriously, its primary use is as a cellphone and secondarily as an MP3 player. Its tertiary functions are to read and reply to emails when I’m not at my desk, for which it is, at best, adequate. I use it as a camera on occasion, where it is subpar. I have tried numerous apps and while some are clever and interesting, I depend on none of them (even good ones like the Echofon Twitter client) and can easily leave each and every one behind.

The biggest shackle for me to the iPhone is my contract, which has a year to run. After that, my main concern will be how it will be possible to move my music collection to a new device, iPhone or otherwise. I don’t believe I’m so unique. Millions of us switched to the iPhone because it was not difficult. If a competitive device makes change possible, I’m up for a it. More importantly, unlike trading in my PC for a Mac or Windows for Linux, I’m accustomed to swapping out my cellphone.

I’m just hoping my next one won’t give me the flu.