My iPhone Romance

It's so shiny!. (Photo: William Hook [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Wikimedia Commons)

K, I'll admit it. I'm in love.

Every since the acquisition of my new iPhone 3GS just a few short days ago, I've had that glowy feeling normally associated with teenage romance. But underneath the dappled surface of honeymoon sentiments lies a green blogger just waiting to dissect my luxury purchase.

One of the cardinal rules of being an eco-friendly consumer is to reduce your impact by buying less (or waiting as long as possible to upgrade your major purchases). I do pretty well in that department. I drove a '95 Camry for 14 years (twice as long as the average American) and my analog TV screen is anything but flat.

But I just couldn't do one more day with the Blackberry. Several of my friends -- tired of my BB's accidental late-night pocket dialing and a bizarre voice-activation feature which, much like HAL in 2001, could never be deactivated -- insisted that I take the iPhone plunge.

It's hard to put into words just what an amazing quantum leap this device is over any other smart phone. When I switched from PC to Mac the sensation was mildly euphoric. And I thought my iPhone transition would be similar, but instead it has felt far more monumental -- more like the day when my family got rid of that clunky electric typewriter and bought us a lavish (at the time) purchase ... a computer.

But as I bask in the afterglow of my new purchase, I am reminded of the environmental impacts that go along with the iPhone. Apple has taken huge strides since its dismal environmental assessment by Greenpeace in 2007. In 2008, with the release of the iPhone 3G phone, Apple published a detailed environmental report which revealed that they had removed many toxic materials (like PVC's and brominated fire retardants) from the phone.

Unfortunately, there is still that battery issue. It's no accident that the #2 App download on iTunes is "BatteryStatus."

The new 3Gs is notorious for running out of juice early, requiring some people to manage an additional charge-up during the day. The iPhone certainly uses more power than a regular phone and that means both increased energy consumption and a shorter battery lifespan.

But I discovered there are a few ways to extend the battery power. Computer World offers a few good tips, including disabling the WiFi search (which is annoying anyway) and switching to "airplane" mode whenever you can.

There are also some cool charging holsters like Juice PackAir or MobilFun's solar-powered iPhone case.

So I know my new love has a few flaws, but don't we all? Despite some minor stamina issues, I believe the payoff in terms of productivity and quality of life will make this iPhone a keeper.