Dear AT&T iPhone ... : All Tech Considered With the end of AT&T's exclusive hold on the iPhone, one customer reflects on a painful breakup.

It's Not You, AT&T iPhone, It's Me

The Apple of my eye, for now: the Verizon iPhone 4 meets its public for the first time at a January media event in New York City. Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

My Dearest AT&T iPhone,

Since we broke up, hardly a day passes when I don't think about you. I have no regrets about our decision.

Our time together was tumultuous. But, iPhone, you also changed my life. You showed me a world of wonderful apps. Sometimes you almost seemed like you could predict what I was typing. And yet so often we just couldn't connect — like three times in one 15-minute conference call. You talked and talked about leaving AT&T. But you wouldn't. So I did.

Well, I am writing to you now because I have some news, and I wanted you to hear it from me first. My dalliance with that trim new Droid from Verizon is over, too. In Facebook terms, the relationship was complicated.

My HTC Incredible certainly lived up to its name. Its long, elegant screen was bright and beautiful. Its camera took pictures that were just as sharp and clear as every phone call it made. And it had a zippy Internet connection.

Incredible seemed to understand every word I was saying. It even knew where I was and where I was going.

But its on-screen keyboard made me feel clumsy and awkward. Our address books and calendars just never synced. In the end, that was no basis for a lasting relationship. I returned the Incredible after four weeks. But our fling was worth the $35 restocking fee.

Since then I've been spending time with an old friend — a dependable 5-year-old flip phone from my past. I know some people smirk and call it homely. But, hey, at least I can actually hear my calls and press the buttons I intend to press. And we both understand that this is only temporary.

The other night was my first date with a new Verizon phone. Actually it looks a little like you, iPhone, with that same graceful Apple frame and sophisticated features. But I really think this one has the connections I need. I can even see us settling down together and having a family plan.

I know what you're thinking, AT&T iPhone: That's what I said about that Treo I was seeing before you. And all those Blackberry and Kyoceras and Palms and Handsprings before that.

OK, maybe you're right. Maybe it is me — a serial cellular dater, jumping from glitzy new device to glitzy new device just as soon as my two-year service contracts allow.

Look, this isn't about you, iPhone — even if you're the one whose name starts with an "I". What we had was special. Perhaps on a different network things would have worked out. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

I know I touched you. I hope you know how much you touched me, too.

All of my love.

— Mark

(Mark Stencel is NPR's managing editor for digital news. By his count, his new Verizon iPhone 4 is the eleventh smart phone or Internet-enabled handheld he's dallied with in as many years.)