A New iPhone

Today is Nov 24, 2017 — “Black Friday”. I bought my first smart phone today. My dumb cell phone seems kaput. I see pictures of people walking in the slums of 3rd world countries, half of them peering at their smart phones. It is a bit of a scandal that I have waited so long especially considering my professional interest.

I bought what I think Apple characterizes as an unlocked SE iPhone for about $480. Virgin Mobile has served me well enough so I went with their $50/mo service offer.

Sans SIM Mode

I was surprised that I did not get a password before I left the Apple store. It is as if you have no access to your iPhone until it is under contract with a cell provider. It is good to protect the bill payer from someone who uses the phone to use billable services. Protecting the phone content is an independent issue.

With no SIM card my phone seems unable to talk to me except to ask for a SIM card. My daughter, with developed iPhone reflexes, gets to screens that choose among WiFi services. I see no point in WiFi service in any of the interfaces I can access in a SIMless phone. I think of SIM card as an option that enhances my pocket organizer. It is frightening to think that I cannot use my iPhone out of cell coverage. I can turn off WiFi on my Mac. I would correspondingly like to turn off cell service on my iPhone. Also I cannot put the iPhone in my pocket without the screen coming on. This is a power problem or perhaps a fancier power control than I have imagined.

Apple tells me that the phone will originate and answer POTS calls over WiFi, if in range. I think that POTS service over WiFi requires the carrier to have an ‘Internet cell tower’ and handoff between towers, an old solved problem, may be harder there.