iPhone life may have share of hidden hazards
No way to avoid it -- it's iPhone week. But while no one can escape the hype about Apple's new touch-sensitive, multimedia phone that goes on sale Friday, I used my buddy's time machine to find out how much news it will be making a year from now, after the fanfare dies (if, in fact, it ever does).
So, here's some iPhone news items I Googled from the last week of June 2008 -- unlike the present-day onslaught of positive press, you may judge the results as mixed, at best:
» KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- After miraculously surviving a near-fatal tailspin aboard a commuter plane, a 17-year-old iPhone user is suing Apple Inc., for making her dizzy during the flight.
Among the unique features of the popular new cell phone is a gravity-sensing accelerometer that keeps images upright on the screen when a user turns the device horizontally or vertically.
The teen alleges that as the turbo-prop whirled her end-over-end toward all-but-certain death -- her iPhone's screen "flipped" its orientation "on its own" 137 times in four minutes, causing her to have a seizure.
Apple would not comment on the case, other than to say an "in-flight death spiral stabilizer" setting would be added in the next software upgrade.
The teen is seeking either $20.4 million in health-related damages, or another iPhone for her kid sister.
» ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands -- With the help of an iPhone, a restaurant patron performed the Heimlich maneuver on a fellow diner and saved his life.
Vacationer Tre Colvin of Carrollton, Texas, was dining with his wife when he saw another man, Rubin Copler, choking several tables away. "I knew he needed the Heimlich maneuver, but I didn't know how to do it. So, I looked it up on my iPhone's browser," Colvin said.
Unfortunately, the 42-year-old Colvin was not sure how to spell the term, and was not used to typing with his thumbs. "They really should make something as important as that easier to look up, y'know?" he said.
Adding to the delay was his iPhone's slow 2.5G data network, and the spotty signal strength typical in the Caribbean -- both made downloading the life-saving information painfully slow.
Doctors say that although Copler's condition has stabilized, he's likely to remain in a vegetative state forever.
"Too bad my iPhone isn't 3G," Colvin added.
» San Jose, Calif. -- An elementary school suspended a first-grader for poking another student on her forehead until the girl developed a small bruise.
The boy's parents, both busy Silicon Valley executives, admitted to training their latch-key kid to simply tap his iPhone whenever he wanted Mom, Dad, or anyone else in the young boy's universe to talk to him.
"Apparently, the little girl was shy, so our little Oliver took matters into his own index finger, I guess," Lois Gadspy said, adding that she still thought the suspension was excessive.
"When he was caught pinching the Mona Lisa's lips, trying to zoom into her mouth, the Louvre guards just gave us a stern warning," she said.