A Bold Decision Regarding the Mac

John ArmstrongPersonal

My cell phone contract was up on Tuesday. (I had used T Mobile for two years and found out it did not give me the coverage and service I wanted.) I knew I wanted a new provider, and chose AT & T, so it was time to consider the two really superior Smart-phones that are on the market: The Blackberry Bold and the Apple iPhone. I have to tell you I have never put much time into making a rather simple decision like this. I generally seek a little advice, check a few phones at the store and buy one. This time I did about four hours of online research (alone) and then about two hours of conversations with sales people at three different retail stores.

First, both of these products are excellent phones. If you really like to have a load of applications, a truly neat screen and some very cool Internet stuff then the iPhone is what you want. If you want to manage data, use a great phone, and are just not into the Mac system then the Blackberry Bold is a superb option. (I had used a Blackberry for several years!)

Second, I asked four sales people what they personally used. The truth is that three of them used both phones, since they could use them as employees of AT & T, and one person used only the Bold after trying an iPhone and not liking the virtual typing function. All four sales people said, "It depends on what you want and how you will use it." Great help that was. I wasn't even sure much of the time I was doing my research. I was caught in a consumer maze and didn't know how to get out. (Man, I am glad I do not do this very often.)

Third, I read various reviews and watched comparisons of the two online and in person. One minute I was sure I would buy the Bold and the next minute the iPhone. After a day or two of this I said, "I am going to buy this one and get on with it." On the way to the store I called several friends. Again, I got two very different responses.

My Mac friends swear by their phones and their computers. In fact, they are often like recent red-hot converts. They are almost all evangelists for their Macs. A few think I am crazy for not getting all Mac computers and the iPhone. Rarely do I meet a person who uses Mac who is not in love with their system. Is this techno-idolatry or what?

Well, I broke down and made the decision, knowing I could pay a small restocking fee and get the other phone within 30 days if I changed my mind. I got the Blackberry Bold. Just to bother a few of my Mac friends I told them the deciding factor for me was this: "President Obama uses a Blackberry. I wanted to follow my president!" (I knew that would get a rise from a few of my more conservative friends and it did, to my pleasure.)

Now, I may yet change my mind, fickle as I am about this decision. I like the Bold but I tried to use it to work with this blog spot today and had some minor frustrations. I think I can sort this out. In terms of support and easy loading of my previous Blackberry files it was all a breeze. The feel and the keyboard are great. (I still like to feel keys strike under my finger tips, something the iPhone does not do with its virtual keyboard.)

OK, who wants to bet on what I will now do? Will I keep the Bold or still want an iPhone?

One thing for sure, this choice is not one of life and death consequence, though you could fool me the way some people fall in love with these phones. I do wonder about how much we are taken in by all these options and the newest this and that. The bells and whistles offered in these Smartphones make for some convenience and make millions of us consumers.

If you have tried both of the phones I would love to hear your response as to which one you picked and why. If you are a Luddite, and think the whole business is a waste of time, feel free to tell me that as well.