The problem with buying an Apple Watch and why we finally gave our 12 year old a smart phone

I heard somewhere that the Apple Watch detects heart attacks and then notifies authorities.  This is not actually true.  But I thought it was true.  DH works from home alone and my second biggest fear is that he’s going to have a heart attack at home and his life could have been saved if people had been around to get him medical attention (my biggest fear is similar but involves semi-trucks and crossing the street).  So I decided that an Apple Watch would be a good thing for DH to get, especially after reading a bunch of highly compelling stories about people whose lives were saved by the watch.  After additional research, I did find out that the newest version of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 5, is very good at fall detection and will alert authorities and I have instructed DH to attempt to fall (in addition to chewing the aspirin I make him keep at his desk) should he feel a heart attack coming on and is unable to call 911.  This is only somewhat tongue-in-cheek (yes, I do make him keep aspirin at his desk).  Version 5 also has better detection of heart problems that aren’t heart attacks, so if it’s a heart problem that has some warning signs that would be nice too.  So even after I found out that the heart attack thing isn’t true, I was sold on him having one.

It turns out, if you buy an Apple Watch 5, you’re going to need a new iPhone to go with it (because your iPhone 6 isn’t compatible).  You find this out after you get the watch in the mail and have to decide whether to upgrade the phone or return the watch.

When you get a new iPhone 8, you’re going to need a new SIM card to go with it (because your old iPhone 6 SIM card isn’t compatible).  Fortunately, unlike the iPhone 8 ($450 plus tax), the SIM card is only $5 (plus $4 s/h plus tax).  You also find this out after you get the new iPhone in the mail, but by this point you’re committed.

DC1 is going to get the hand-me-down iPhone 6, which is surprisingly beat up (surprisingly because mine is still in really nice condition).  Turns out it’s only worth about $60 resale which is just a little more than we’ve been paying for DC1’s crappy flip phones.  DC1’s current crappy dumb phone has been driving us crazy because it doesn’t get very good reception at hir school which means zie leaves us voice mails that we can’t understand and zie doesn’t get our texts when we need to pick hir up.  It also has such a terrible battery life that I went and bought hir an external battery. Zie has lost or washed so many flip phones at this point we assumed this one would not last long, but it’s been a few months.  Zie will still have it as a back-up when zie inevitably loses the iPhone.

We are going to have to have a long talk about proper smart-phone use and internet addiction and all those other lovely things, but it will be nice for DC1 to be able to use an electronic calendar and to actually get the texts that hir orchestra teacher tends to send in the middle of the day.

Do you have a smart watch?  If applicable, when did your kid get a smart phone? 

Updates on two major purchases/repairs

The Iphone

  • In the end I decided to send the iphone in for a repair rather than spending a day driving.  This meant I would be without the phone for 3-5 days or 5-10 days, depending on which piece of information one read.  On a Monday we contacted them for a box.  On Wednesday the box arrived.  On Thursday we sent it to Apple.  On Friday they received it.  Monday morning ~10am it returned to us.  So, all-in-all not bad.  They sent back the same phone, not a refurbished model, and the battery is at 100% capacity.  I am getting used to my battery not constantly dying.  Total cost:  $29 for the battery replacement (price will go up to $79 in January) plus $6.95 s/h plus taxes, all-in-all under $40.  So… would recommend, though it was weird being without a phone for several days.
  • By the time I got the phone back, iOS 12 was out, so after an initial download and the standard everything updating battery drain, my phone seems to be back to reasonable battery use.  iOS 12 also has way better battery diagnostics.  There does still seem to be excessive drain on the battery if I’m in an area with bad cell service (like my office at work) unless I switch to low battery mode or turn off the cell.

The new mattress

  • We bought the Loom and Leaf relaxed firm bed which was a horrible dreadful no good very bad mistake.  After one night my back was screaming in agony.  So we flipped it over to the hard side (it is not a flippable bed) which, while not exactly comfortable, didn’t make my back cry out in pain.  And then we spent a few days formulating a game plan for going forward.  We spent a Sunday trying a lot of mattresses in town.  I determined that yes, there are some memory foam mattresses that I like, but only the super firm ones, so DH paid $100+ to switch out the Loom and Leaf mattress to their firm version.  If that didn’t work, then our next step in the plan was to buy a $4K tempurapedic.
  • The switched out FIRM version of the Loom and Leave mattress was great.  It was better than all but one of the mattresses we tried on our mattress trying spree (the 4K tempurapedic was marginally better, but none of the other mattresses in the store were better).  I slept great, AND I can’t feel DH moving around (unless he hits the bed really hard) which is the BEST.  So… if you’re like us, stick with firm beds, and the Loom and Leaf for $1700 plus tax is a good decision.  The relaxed firm was a disaster.

 

My iphone 6 is dying

I got my first smartphone 3 years ago when we were on leave in Paradise.  Not wanting to spend a zillion dollars, we got a new iPhone 6 instead of an iPhone 7 or whatever the latest model was at the time.

When I was at a conference this summer, it started eating the battery quickly every time I unplugged it, pretty much after it updated to the latest IOS 11.4 something.

I don’t have many apps.  I don’t even use my iphone that much except for hangouts, surfing the internet, calling my senators, and google maps.  I don’t have a whole lot of apps installed.

I went through all the online things about how to figure out what’s going wrong and how to save power.  I turned lots of switches from green to not-green.  I noted that my analytics was constantly updating the required things like amdd, whereas DH’s updated them rarely.  I put myself on battery saver mode most of the time.  The problem seems worst when there’s trouble with internet or cell coverage, so it may be something there, but the last two hot and hard crashes were in my bedroom where service is not usually a problem.

The only remaining possible software problem, the internet suggested, was IOS 11.4.  The IOS 12 update should fix that problem.

I waited for the IOS 12 update.  It never came.

My phone battery life dropped to 94%.  Then 92% after a major crash in which it heated up and then blacked out.  Then it dropped to 78% after another major crash while on safari that didn’t involve overheating.  Now it says it needs to be serviced.  Right before a trip that requires 4 hrs of driving, of course.  (I will take my laptop and the garmin and the ipad, so I won’t be completely stuck.)

The nearest certified apple services are over an hour away (and sadly not in the same place as my roadtrip).

So, do I get a new phone and then get this one serviced and hand it down to DC1 after it has a new battery?  Or do I go phoneless for however long it takes to send it some place and get it back?  Or is there a different option I should pursue?  We can afford a new phone, but I really don’t need one, except that I need a phone, preferably one that runs google maps.  Plus the battery alone is ~$80 (the iphone 5 didn’t get a discount for the throttling thing they were doing a while back), and labor is probably more.  Update:  Actually it is an iPhone 6 and it is covered under the discount thing.  So I should just send it in or spend a weekend in the future at an apple store in the city, though I’m not sure I can wait that long.

what should I do?  What would you do?

We got DC2 a cell phone

DC2 is 9 and in 6th grade.  There’s a lot of extracurricular activities and so on in 6th grade and we decided we’d be more comfortable if DC2 had a way of contacting us if something fell through or there was a miscommunication about pick-up etc.

When we finally decided to bite the bullet to add hir to our plan, we discovered that Ting had added the ability to add all four of our retired outdated dumb phones to the plan.  Back last year when we switched to Ting we actually had to buy new phones which is both why it took us so long to switch and why I am now addicted to an iphone.  But we were pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to buy a new phone this time.  Zie is using my 2 phones ago phone because it has the strongest battery (I had bought a replacement battery right before DH decided to get new free phones when we renewed our plan many years ago).

/start rant One thing that annoys me about DH’s current school (as opposed to paradise) is that they often have “bring your own devices” days.  Kids are encouraged to play with their smartphones or to bring ipads or, to a lesser extent, hand-held game systems.  DC1 doesn’t have anything like that and we made the conscious choice not to give hir a phone with such things.  I have to say I’m really annoyed about something like that that makes kids whose parents can’t afford to get them iphones or kids whose parents are crazy hippies stick out in a negative way.  Last year in paradise, each kid had an assigned notepad device (I don’t think there was one for each kid–they didn’t all use them at the same time since there were 3 classes of fifth graders), but our school district isn’t rich enough for that, I guess.  But it is rich enough to do things that could hurt poor kids.  I really appreciate how the Paradise school district made everything equal for everyone.  It was a relatively rich district, but our school had a high population ELA and school lunch eligible and there was a lot of redistribution, which is how it should be, I think.  So my bottom line is, if you’re going to allow kids to play games in class, you have to provide the games. /end rant

Anyhow, if DC1 behaves hirself and doesn’t lose anything, having an extra cell line should cost us an additional $6/mo, and possibly the cost of an external battery charger since if DC1 treats hir cellphone like I did (leaving it at home and letting the battery run out), it won’t be much use.

What age do you think people should get their first cell phone?  If it depends, what does it depend on?