Smartphone reset, summer 2015 (part 2 of some)

September 1, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 1, 2015

After abruptly canceling my mid-August road trip, I spent 90 minutes or so at the library before heading back home.

Once there, I did something that I hadn’t done either at the library or in my car: I attached my seemingly dead iPhone to a charger and plugged it in. This gave me a surprise: The device came back on, although the sleep/wake button still seemed to have absolutely no effect.

As a test, I unplugged the phone and attempted to reset it. It failed to come back on. But once again, when it was plugged in, the phone came on and seemed to function normally, with the exception of the sleep/wake button.

That was the first of two unexpected twists that I encountered after I canceled my trip.

The next one came the following morning, on Thursday, when my Parental Unit emailed me to inform me that M—’s father had died.

This was not entirely unexpected. I don’t remember what M—’s dad, G—, was sick with, or when exactly he was diagnosed, but M— had gone to New York to visit G— along with her sister just the other week. And when M— and I had spoken about my joining her family at the rental cabin in the Virginia mountains, she had made a morbid joke about how she hoped her dad didn’t die until her vacation was over.

I called M— early Thursday evening to offer my condolences. She and her family were somewhere in New Jersey; they’d left the cabin around 10 that morning.

I explained, with a bit of embarrassment, that my phone hadn’t died permanently, as I had believed the prior day. M— told me that my not coming had worked out for the best in the end.

I asked M— if she wanted me to travel north for the funeral; she thanked me but said it wasn’t necessary. We spoke a little bit about the vacation she’d cut short and about her father and then we ended the call.

That still left the question of what to do about my phone. When I’d thought that it was dead and gone, I’d considered buying a brand-new replacement. But this seemed like a bad idea: Apple is days away from holding an event at which the company is expected to announce its next generation of iPhones, which could go on sale shortly afterward.

During two or three hours when I’d believed my iPhone to be dead, I’d also explored the possibility of buying a used phone. But to buy something at a price that suited me, I’d have to skip back to the iPhone 4, which used a different style of cable connector. Once I realized that my device was still semi-functional, it didn’t seem worth paying even $50 for an inferior substitute.

So I resolved to limp along with my current phone until the new generation of iPhones rolls out, at which point I’ll look into getting a new one, or at least getting something newer than what I have that isn’t the newest thing. (I’m sure that after the new generation goes on sale, the current models — the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus — will be easy to get at very attractive prices, considering their condition and capabilities.)

Since that could take a month or two, I decided that I should at least look into getting my phone serviced. While there are two Apple Stores within easy driving distance of my home in Durham, unfortunately, all available tech support appointments tend to get snapped up pretty quickly.

I ended up scheduling a so-called Genius Bar appointment in the Raleigh store for Thursday, Aug. 27 — which is where I’ll pick up this gripping saga in a future blog post…

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