my current personal pet peeves with ios and the iphone 7 plus

January 2, 2017

I’m using the iPhone Upgrade Program to keep me up-to-date with, well, iPhones. I started using it when I switched in 2015 from the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the iPhone 6S Plus. Along with the ability to exchange for the latest iPhone every year is the inclusion of Apple Care in the price. I’ve used Apple Care once, for my wife’s iPhone, when she broke the screen when dropping her iPhone. It cost $30 to repair. Because I started in early November, I upgraded my 6S Plus to the 7 Plus in early November 2016, before I left for Japan.

When I got to Japan I discovered I couldn’t find cellphone coverage anywhere, unlike the 6S Plus. Normally I keep my phones in airplane mode because I don’t want to pay AT&T’s exorbitant international roaming fees. But I do like to turn it on right after I land to get my phone’s time synced up with the local time. The last trip I managed to sync up via free public WiFi at Haneda, along with my Apple Watch, so that wasn’t an issue. After getting to my hotel I did a little digging, and you guessed it, I have a Model A1784, the iPhone with the Intel modem, not A1785, the model with the Qualcomm international modem. To rub salt into the wound, the Intel component has much inferior performance to the Qualcomm model. Qualcomm appears to perform about 30% better than Intel, especially when downloading data.

That wasn’t the only issue I had in Japan. I stayed at the Hotel New Otani Kumamoto. The New Otani had excellent WiFi performance, probably the best I’ve experienced to date in Japan. That included the ability to stream video from services such as Netflix, which in the past had always been a pain due to regional segmentation. This time it seemed to work. The issue I had was with apps running under iOS 10 that required I log into repeatedly, such as the Guardian, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, WordPress, Google+, Google Hangouts, and even Twitter from time to time. And those are the apps I remembered. I’d log in repeatedly, about once every 24 hours. In several cases I deleted the apps; this included the beta version of the Guardian app and LinkedIn. I re-installed the regular Guardian app and logged back in, but changing out the app didn’t solve the problem. All I know is that, for whatever reason, I had to log in repeatedly into apps from my iPhone 7 Plus. I also had my iPad Pro with me as well, and it exhibited similar behavior, but not nearly as often.

Once I returned home back in the US, that behavior stopped. I don’t know if that was due to timezone issues (I was 14 hours ahead of Orlando), or some other issue. Maybe it was tied into the fact I got my time sync via WiFi, and not the mobile network. I just don’t know. But I was well and royally pissed off.

I don’t know what I’ll do, let alone can do, from this point forward about the app behavior, but as far as the modem issue is concerned, I intend to head back to my local Apple store and push to get my iPhone 7 Plus switched out for the version with the Qualcomm modem. I won’t put up with such limitations with my smart phone, especially overseas. That issue didn’t exist with the 6S Plus, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put up with it with the 7 Plus. I can live without the headphone jack, but not international capability. And not from Apple of all people.

As for Intel, this is the straw that has broken the metaphorical camel’s back. I’ve had all I intend to take from Intel as a device provider. My interaction with Intel goes back decades to the 8080, when I discovered I got considerably more value using the Z80. All the way up through the 286, I found I got better performance and capabilities if I used Harris or AMD CMOS versions of the 286; Harris with low power, AMD with higher clock speeds. And then we’ve all had to live with Intel’s x86 market manipulation. Yes, I know I have an Intel i7 in my MBP, but that was a necessary evil I was willing to put up with.  The fact that there is Intel content via a critical component in my iPhone 7 Plus is something I won’t put up with. And to be brutally honest, once Apple releases an MBP with ARM, I’m switching, and I’m not looking back. As an engineer and a user I’m doing everything I possibly can to marginalize Intel by specifying anyone else besides Intel in my designs, and making sure any electronic product I purchase has little to no Intel content.