Bob McKinney

The time is near for a new phone.

I wouldn’t swear to it, but I think the one I have is an iPhone 7, and I’ve had it more than three years, maybe closer to four. Sadly, I’ve learned that’s a pretty good life for these devices and I’m on borrowed time.

I know the end is approaching for this one because it’s slow to charge and sometimes, even to get it to charge, I have to jiggle the cord. It also seems to lose its charge more quickly than in the past, although that is likely a combination of its age and the fact that I use it more since I started working from home in March. 

I had a similar experience with my previous phone. An Apple Store employee smugly pronounced the port (into which the cord goes to charge the phone) “fried.”

This was after a two-minute examination for which I waited two hours. (Don’t get me started.)

Before it finally died, it was down to something like 10 percent power. Due to the aforementioned port being fried (remember that was the techie guy’s word, not mine), when I went to buy a new phone, the folks at AT&T couldn’t transfer my contacts from my old phone to the new one.

Clinging to the old phone’s last traces of power, I had to frantically retrieve all my contacts (as in, I copied them all down on a piece of paper). Also, I lost all the pictures on that phone.

Apparently, all of that was my fault because I had not backed up anything on “the cloud.” (Don’t get me started, again.)

So that brings me to my next phone and deciding what that will be. Apple is all the way up to the iPhone 12 and there are many new bells and whistles. In the past, I have eschewed most of that, as I did not need anything but a way to make and receive calls and send text messages.

But I’ve come a long way. With four grandchildren, you can bet I take plenty of pictures, so the enhanced quality of picture taking might, in fact, now interest me. I also listen to podcasts and regularly use the internet on my phone.

In other words, in less than a decade I’ve gone from reticence to total buy-in.

My daughter is saying she’s about to give me a tutorial in obtaining music on my phone. I have never had iTunes or any kind of digital music and I am told there are now a number of low cost options. As much as I love music, it’s silly for me not to have it readily available this way.

I haven’t looked into the costs of the latest iPhone, but I know the newest ones usually come with a handsome price tag. When I get to the point of getting one, I suspect I’ll end up with an iPhone 11 or earlier, since it’s not the latest and greatest and will therefore have a more palatable price.

But who knows? I’ve made tremendous progress since I started writing this column and did not even own a smartphone. I'll never again say never when it comes to technology.

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].

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