Geek Mentality

My Mother-in-law Owns an iPhone and I Do Not.

I’ll never forget getting that phone call. Well, it was a phone call from my mother-in-law so I let it go to voice mail. I’ll never forget getting that voic email.

“Michael,” said the voice of my mother-in-law because her and my father-in-law still always leave a voice mail when we “miss” their call, “I got an iPod 4 phone and I need some help with it.”

My throat went dry, my pulse quickened, my hands shook, and one thought went through my head.

What the hell is an iPod 4 phone?

Sadly, that thought never actually went through my head, because I’ve been around my mother-in-law for more than half my life now and I knew how to translate most of her technology related questions.

And there are a lot of them.

As I was listening to that phone message on an Android phone I couldn’t believe it. My mother-in-law has an iPhone.

And I do not.

You may be thinking to yourself, what’s the big deal – but here’s the thing. I love all things Apple, I just cannot afford all things Mac. I have a Powerbook that I still use for Garageband and Photoshop, but it’s almost seven years old.

I have an iPod that I use for music and podcasts, but the screen is half smashed in.

I have an iPad 2…..But my mommy and daddy bought it for me and my wife.

I have been craving an iPhone for as long as I can remember, but the one thing that keeps getting in my way is that monthly charge. I just cannot justify doubling my monthly phone charge just to get the phone of my dreams (sad, that there is a phone of my dreams – I’m aware of that).

My Android phone does almost everything an iPhone does – but it’s not an iPhone. The nice thing is I pay $40 a month with Virgin Mobile and the service is good enough for me.

Then I saw that the iPhone is coming to Virgin, and my excitement went from zero to 60 back to zero as soon as I saw that a non-contract iPhone, while on a $40 a month plan, would cost me between $550-$650 to buy.

So start saving right?

Sure, except that amount of money could do better going elsewhere, so I’m back at square one.

Me, a guy who a fun night out is browsing an Apple Store, with no iPhone.

And my mother-in-law has one.

Right, so I’ve been going over this again and again why it bother’s me that my wife’s mom has an iPhone – but really why is that such a big deal?

I can only say that she doesn’t know what she has or how to use it – and even though I say this tongue-in-cheek – she doesn’t deserve it!!!!

It’s like giving someone a beautiful HDTV and they just use it to watch their VCR on it.

What do I mean?

Well, she was having trouble setting up her email so she brought it over our place and I helped her set things up, and asked her if the guy (at the Verizon store, which was her first mistake) helped her set up her Apple ID account.

“Does it cost me anything?”


“Well, why would I need an Apple account?”

“You need an account to get apps for your phone.”

“What’s an app?”


She’s asked me on more than one occasion if sending email counts against her minutes. I explained that it counts against your data plan if you’re using the phone network, but you’d have to send a ton of emails for it to be an issue – and it’s doesn’t count against anything on the WiFi at home (which I had to walk her through setting up over the phone).

She then was completely shocked that she could check her email or go on the “inta-net” while in a car.

The other day my wife checked her mom’s email on the phone – at the house – and her mom was afraid she’d get charged.

Again – a woman who doesn’t know what she has as MUCH as I try to tell her. I think she just doesn’t believe me. I hope I can see her first bill (again I’m not entirely sure she realized what she signed up for) to show her how little data she used. She still probably won’t believe me….

Why did she buy this phone, you ask? Well, she was due for a new phone and, since she and my father-in-law winter in Florida, she wanted to be able to “do the camera” (FaceTime) with their grandchild, my niece.

She already has a PC with Skype on it, which we’ve done in the past, but I don’t think she realized my sister-in-law could get Skype on her iPhone or iPad and they just talk that way.

I also don’t think she realized that she could have purchased an iPod Touch and done the FaceTime or Skype and save on the monthly charge. I tried explaining that to her and she kept asking me if my iPod was also a phone. When I showed her I had an iPod and a phone – she didn’t want to have to carry two things.

I didn’t have the energy to explain to her that FaceTime would only be done at home – so you didn’t have to carry it everywhere.

I hope she’ll get better over time. She was able to email me this photo the other day of a bear on her back porch – that was pretty cool.

However, she used her digital camera, plugged into her computer, imported it, then attached it to an email – and she sent it in April of the year 2104.

I explained to her that she could have picked up her iPhone, probably taken a better picture, and instantly emailed it to me in a matter of seconds. I’ve walked through the process of emailing photos with her more than once.

The major barrier here is that she has to really start actually USING it – and think of it as an option for videos and photos, and communications. Of course she hates the little keyboard and didn’t sign up for a text message plan.

But she knows how to use the phone part fairly well, God bless her. She never has a problem using it to call me and ask me questions about how to use her iPhone.

And I don’t even have one.

(If I come off really bitter and jealous – good that was my goal)

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