Three years with the first-generation iPhone

Three years ago at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania Eliza and I were nearly at the front of what became a very, very long line at the Apple Retail Store ready to buy two first generation iPhones. For six years prior to that day Eliza and I hadn't owned mobile phones. We were rebels during the early mobile phone explosion, partially to save money, partially to save us from being 'available anytime'. We decided to come out of hiding for the iPhone because the iPhone wasn't going to be just a phone - as Steve Jobs pointed out in his Keynote that year -  it was going to be a phone, an iPod and an Internet device. And that is exactly what it proved to be.

Eliza and I have used our first-generation iPhones every day since. We use them for audio (music, podcasts, books), Twitter and Facebook, playing games, accessing the Web on the go, making phone calls, taking photos, maps and directions, weather, keeping track of our time and weight. (I tried my best to put those in order.)

Having any electronic device for three years used to be remarkable but remember I had my Macbook for three years before upgrading it too. I think I've set a new benchmark for device longevity in the Devroe home. If a device performs well for at least three years I'll declare it a success. In that vane the iPhone has been a smashing success for us.

We didn't upgrade to the 3G or the 3GS for a number of reasons but ultimately it came down to need. We didn't need to upgrade to the 3G or 3GS. Most of the software that is available for those two phones are also available for us first-generation iPhone owners. No, we don't have GPS or the magnometer or video - but we haven't actually needed those things. The first-generation iPhone's location capabilities were good enough for most purposes and we've got a Flip Ultra HD for video.

Today iOS 4 for iPhone will be released and it will not run on first generation iPhones. This is the first update to the iPhone OS that will alienate any of their previous versions of iPhone. The next-generation iPhone, iPhone 4, also gave a vast number of reasons to upgrade this time around. HD video, upgraded camera, multi-tasking, an all new slimmer design, and a forward facing camera, (the list goes on).

As you see from the above and following images, my iPhone has taken some wear (it is the one on the left). Recently I dropped my iPhone into a toilet bowl full of fresh pee (yes, you read that right) and because of that it has now been turning on and off randomly. Which kills the battery in about three hours. Until then though it has worked flawlessly for most of three years.

Eliza's phone, on the other hand, looks absolutely pristine. Neither of us really ever had a case for our iPhones though she does have an invisishield cover on her screen. So, those scratches you see on her iPhone aren't really scratches in the glass. Ironically Eliza's iPhone doesn't work as as well as mine. Her home button works when it wants to and the headphone jack has some issues. These have been minor gripes by Eliza until recently.

So, even if iOS 4 and iPhone 4 weren't so compelling - we'd probably be upgrading anyway. Since we're both eligible to renew our AT&T contracts it simply seems like the very best time to upgrade to the next iPhone. We'd be tickled if they both lasted for three years the way the first-generation iPhone has.