There should be an image here!I had to do it. Trusting Apple’s official stance, as it were, apparently has rendered my iPhone 3G into an unusable iBrick. And before folks start ranting about how “I should just upgrade” or “buy something else,” consider this. It’s still under AppleCare protection. Well, that and the principle of the whole thing.

I took a working product and tried to update it so I could run some of the iOS 4 ready software. Ideally, anything that went wrong should easily be remedied by restoring from my latest iPhone backup. No such luck. Seems that even after going up two tiers of AppleCare support and getting fairly deep into the complex ins and outs of hacking the registry, etc., the phone is stuck in some kind of recovery mode.

Please spare me any “solutions.” Trust me, they’ve all been done. The phone is sound in hardware as iTunes sees it. But it’s unable to restore things and gives an error after the failed upgrade to iOS 4. To be honest, most 3G owners merely had to back up and restore their phones, then upgrade. That worked for most folks within the 3G universe. But what is comical is how trusting we are that Apple is going to make it all work. Guess what? When an update goes south and your restore fails — you’re done.

Most folks at this point would simply take it down to the Apple Store (I don’t live in some large city — no thanks) or mail it in. Instead, I was asked to simply create a series of reports and forward specific logs. Right, because Apple’s engineers are going to make it “work” based on trouble reports from a remote location. Must be some amazing magic it has working there.

To be ultimately fair, AppleCare is very nice and very helpful — vastly better than most big named PC companies, this is for sure. But in the end, a huge lesson was learned here. Actually, a couple of lessons.

  1. Proprietary data backups mean squat when the one and only recovery tool fails to work. The fact that I couldn’t simply export this to another tool, with all my recent iPhone backups, is beyond stupid.
  2. Never trust that your hardware company has all the answers, because (blank) happens. It’s life, not Apple’s fault as it (kinda) had success with other 3G phones used by other users. But the reality is: keep your data backed up OFF of proprietary systems. Much of mine was and is now happily running on my older BlackBerry. Because I chose contact, calendaring, and email solutions that were not locked into AppleLand, I was able to recover my key stuff that I would have been really screwed over with, otherwise.

Key to remember: these are phones. The iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc. are getting ridiculous. They are devices and anyone putting complete and blind trust into these devices needs to remember that they’re exploitable and when they fail… be very aware that those apps and music you bought may not be accessible to you. Depending on how it was installed, it may very well belong to your iTunes/AppStore account.

So if I switch platforms, it’s gone. The same thing would be said if this happened with Android. Locked-in scenarios are dangerous and should be dealt with carefully.

As for myself, I may very well get my iPhone fixed. But let me be clear: I will be looking at what I buy and how I back it up VERY differently the next time around. Food for thought for all iPhone/Android fans.

[Photo above by magic_quote / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Melanie Cullen]