Mission Impossible: Finding an iPhone 6

Friday isn't the most productive day of the week and usually lends itself to a long lunch. So, knowing the chances for success were fairly non-existent, I decided to amuse myself with an adventure to score an iPhone 6, preferably before I throw my ATIV SE against a wall. More on that later.

First stop was Best Buy. There was a crowd milling about and a lot more blue shirts working the mobile section than usual. I was told to speak with a hapless fellow running around with a clipboard. Yes, he was keeping track of things in a decidedly 20th century manner.

After waiting my turn just to talk to him, he said the only thing left were 128GB models. No thanks, that's one scam Apple won't pull off on me. More on that later as well.

The next destination was the local AT&T store. I'm a Verizon customer but really don't care to stick with them any longer. At first, I tried calling and got a busy signal multiple times.

A busy signal? In 2014??

Eventually I got through and learned that they had a line out the door, even at 2 pm, and I had no chance of scoring a 16GB phone. So scratch that.

Next stop was to Verizon, just to see what they had. I could have gotten a 16GB model, but I also had to buy a $200 accessory bundle with it. I couldn't just have the phone.

Now you know why I'm unimpressed with Verizon.

The last trip was to Staples. They sell phones and frequently fly under the radar. Turns out they were sold out but a store about 20-30 minutes away had one. Sadly, I couldn't go. I had to meet with someone in the afternoon and couldn't spare the time. That's also why I didn't hit the Apple Store in the nearby Brea Mall. It would take too long and Orange County is not a place you get around quickly, especially on a Friday.

It was amusing to me. The crowds weren't that bad, it's just there were so many weird happenings. I'll get my phone eventually.

Apple's Storage Scam

Here's why I call the high capacity devices a scam. The iPhone 6 16GB, 64GB and 128GB are $199, $299 and $399, respectively. But a 64GB microSD card retails for between $30 and $35 on NewEgg.com while 128GB drives are around $110 to $120. So using the 16GB device as a base, the 64GB phone is three times as expensive as it would be if you just could put a microSD card in it (plus you get 16GB more storage), and the 128GB device is twice as expensive as it need be.

That's one area that distinguishes Apple negatively against virtually every Android device maker. Android devices let you pop off the back cover and slide in a microSD card to expand the capacity on your own. Not only is it cheaper, it's a good way to get sensitive data off your phone so it doesn't end up in the wrong hands, as a whole bunch of Hollywood starlets have learned.

Along with replaceable batteries, a microSD slot is the highest on my iPhone wish list. Which brings us to…

Samsung Buyer's Remorse

A few months back I swapped out an iPhone 5c for a Samsung ATIV SE, which I was initially told was a Galaxy S4 running Windows Phone. Turns out that's not true, the internals are different, but it sure looks like an S4. I genuinely like Windows Phone but didn't like the Lumias, which feel like bricks.

Well, not six months later and the buyer's remorse is enormous. For starters, Samsung has abandoned the users of the phone. While Lumia users are enjoying WP8.1 and the first update to it, called GDR1, ATIV SE customers are left hanging in the wind with no 8.1 upgrade, no news on when it will come, and not a peep from Samsung in general.

And now my brand new phone is proving a lemon. While out and about, I used it a little for gaming while at a restaurant and the battery ran down to 70%. I came home, put it down on the desk, and 4 hours later got an alert that it had just 17% power. I'll repeat that: from 70% charge to 17% in four hours, just sitting on my desk. No apps were running in the background, either. I always zero that out.

That's why I'm looking for an iPhone. And I shall prevail.

I wrote a glowing review for the ATIV SE on PC World a few months back. I take it all back. If you want Windows Phone, get a HTC One (M8) or a Lumia.

Related:
ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon