I realized that I want to be able to watch videos all the time, without always adding an iPod to the cellphone on my belt.

I realized that I wanted the smarter phone offered by the iPhone.

I realized that another 8gb is important (8gb on the iPhone is tight for me), but less valuable than cellular service, SMS service, data service (EDGE seems faster than my Treo 650's 1x RTT), Bluetooth (probably missing from the touch), and one less device to carry. Aside from that additional 8gb and some irrelevant size/weight discrepancies, the iPhone doesn't seem to have any disadvantages compared to the iPod touch.

I realized that the iPod touch appears artificially limited. If it's got WiFi and Safari, why not Mail?

I cancelled my iPod touch and picked up an iPhone at the Apple Store. I hadn't been to their 5th Avenue location -- it's really cool architecture. The people there were very nice, including Giovanni who came by the long line asking if we were all paying by credit card. When I said I was getting an iPhone, he pulled me out of line, grabbed an iPhone, and did the whole thing on a Symbol handheld -- with an embedded barcode reader, running Palm OS (they ran on Newtons until Apple dropped them). It would have been slightly faster than the (excellently run) cash register line, except the time it took for them to finally decide there is no educational discount on AppleCare for iPhone

That was an irony -- Apple actually thought I was a Newton VAR for a while. I still have VHS tapes of the conference they brought us to at Cupertino, including me in the audience. We have no VCR, and I never watched the tapes, except perhaps once to verify I was visible in the audience...

The porting process was not too bad, although there were a few steps:

  1. Talk to Telecom.
  2. Send email to IT office manager.
  3. IT office manager sends approval to Telecom.
  4. Telecom calls Verizon to release number.
  5. Telecom, Verizon, and AT&T agree to port the number.
  6. Telecom calls me with AT&T on the phone. Telecom hangs up.
  7. AT&T rep tells me we're ready, and transfers me to another AT&T rep.
  8. Second AT&T rep asks me if RU has a password on he account.
  9. I say "I certainly hope so, but I don't know it. Didn't you guys get this during the setup?"
  10. She says she has no password, but we can hope it goes through. Submits the port request, and starts explaining that my number will be in limbo for a while during the port, due to finish within 3 hours. Reminds me to clear my voicemail.
  11. She gets approval -- I can now make calls from my iPhone using my own number.
  12. She asks if they can help with anything else. I ask about my SMS email address, and get transferred to a 3rd AT&T rep in Customer Service.
  13. While waiting, I attempt to send an SMS from my iPhone to my email address. This is how I discovered my Verizon SMS email gateway address, which we use for Systems Admin paging (very important!). This doesn't work -- the iPhone doesn't allow '@' in SMS recipients, only numbers and limited punctuation.
  14. I ask AT&T rep #3, who tells me it's my 10-digit number followed by @txt.att.net (nice short address).
  15. I explain that I had a custom alias (@vtext.net) for the Treo, and ask how I can set this up with AT&T.
  16. The rep suggests http://www.cingularme.com/, a pre-merger Cingular site for setting these aliases up. Service is down, and it's pre-merger anyway, so wouldn't be likely to work.
  17. He starts surfing through the AT&T Wireless website, attempting to find the new location of the stray webapp.
  18. After a few fruitless minutes, and some conversations with his co-workers, the (very nice) rep apologizes for my wait and says he's going to need some more time. We agree he will call me back.
  19. A few minutes later, he calls to tell me that the Cingular site was taken down (supposedly in response to a security problem) even before the merger, and although people are still asking for this service, he has no information about if or when it will return. Apparently the forwarding is working fine, but there is no interface to change these forwards.
  20. I explain that I was getting a significant amount of spam to my old Verizon address, so I really want to be able to use a changeable address -- not my cellular number, which has been stable for years, and hopefully will remain so.
  21. He understands, but doesn't seem able to do anything about it.

Altogether, it took about an hour and half, during which I got a phone call and a few questions from co-workers (I spent much of it on hold), and conducted a brief iChat (video) session to show off the iPhone, and fixed an email account.

Anyway, my number is ported, Visual Voicemail is nice, and I set up a sieve rule to forward page emails from work and family to my cellular address.

I'm pleased to note that when I get a longer message, AT&T breaks it up into 2 SMSes. This is in contrast to Verizon, where I often only got the headers and very beginning of SMS emails, leaving me wondering what was wrong. Of course, I had unlimited SMS with Verizon, while each such message counts as 2 (or more) for my 200/month SMS service. It should be fine...

Since I haven't had time to get an iPhone case yet, I'm carrying it around in my Treo beltcase. It swims! I think I could keep 3 iPhones snugly in this case!