Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Like iLemmings to an iCliff

I've been thinking... The people who buy the iPhone are in for a real surprise this Friday. I kept telling myself, it's gonna backfire. The thing is underpowered, has a small memory and isn't even on AT&T's high speed network. What was AT&T thinking? What are the people thinking who will actually wait in line to buy this?

Then this article got me thinking even more. (keep in mind it reads like an AT&T hit piece).

The author is right about early adopters. As someone who has for years bought the latest and greatest phone on the day of its release (who else do you know that dropped $500 on a RAZR? I even wrote an award-winning review of the phone HERE), I can tell you that hyped releases like this are buggy beyond belief, and then some. I went through 5 RAZRs in my first week of owning one. And, while it was cool to have people want to admire my phone every time I whipped it out, it would have been cooler to be able to rely on the Bluetooth working when I needed it, or the camera being able to take a clear picture. Those things were constant problems... in the beginning.

It took about 6 months for my 5th RAZR to break, and when it was replaced (for free by AT&T), lo and behold the new phone had a new OS installed, and ran better than any of the phones I had used in the first 6 months. In fact, that phone ended up lasting me close to 2 years - which is unprecedented for me (both to own a single model of phone for so long and to have it last). The new OS had all of the previous bugs worked out. And, what's more, the phone itself cost $300 less than what I had paid for the buggy original.

Lesson learned. At least, until the next great thing comes out. It may have been the iPhone, but without it even supporting something as cool as AT&T's 3G high speed network, it was a joke before even being released.


Fud said...

I understand what you're saying, but as an iFanatic myself I can't wait to get my hands on one. (Un)fortunately for me I won't be able to even if I wanted to since there seems to be no Apple-Verizon deal in sight, or at least until the supposed two year exclusivity between Apple and AT&T ends. Thus, I shall be spared from having to deal with a buggy G1 iPhone.

Dan said...

But an 8gb hard drive? That's a joke... especially since they tout the movie-playing ability of the device. And not having high-speed Internet access when a network is already in place on AT&T? Criminal! And no expandable memory? Unthinkable!!!

The Last Man said...

Dude, it's an 8 gb flash drive, which isn't a joke at all. Are iPod nanos a joke? They're selling like hotcakes. I know many who've gone from the higher capacity spinning hard drives to nano and no one who's gone the other way. Larger capacity flash drives are prohibiitvely expensive. Not many phones can even handle 4 gig flash drives yet, so for now, your point is moot. But in what previous iPod could you swap drives? This isn't for geekboys, it's for consumers that love the iPod. Would it be nice? Sure, but trust me, that's the least of Apple's market's worries. The lack of a swappable battery is a much bigger issue.

Why do you need a 3G network when the phone has WiFi? You can't go to Starbucks? We dealt with this last night, but 3G's no great shakes. And you couldn't even get it to work on your phone properly. AT&T doesn't have full coverage yet, right? And networks, whether AT&T or Verizon switch back and forth all the time and customers are left flummoxed. If the HSDPA signal isn't strong enough, it will revert to EDGE. So Apple's gonna deal with those kinds of complaints? Don't think so. So Apple's going to put a technology that tons of people won't be able to use into their phone that isn't finished yet? It'll go 3G when 3G is ready and widely available.

You also have to realize that getting a carrier to push a phone that has WiFi is a huge concession for the carrier to make because they lose revenue from people like me that don't want to sign up for expensive data plans. That will be great for the average consumer. It'll also open doors for Nokia and other major handset makers.

Have you seen the video on Apple's site that shows what it can do? Watch that, and then tell me that not having expandable memory or no 3G is that big of a deal. What you aren't getting is that this combines a phone, an mp3 player, a video player, email, and web in an exceptionally attractive little device for the first time. Sure, there are trade offs, and it's quite expensive, which is why I won't be buying one just yet, but dude, a little perspective, huh? At least give Apple some credit for making an elegant little machine.

And finally, one line at the end of an opinion piece that suggests dissatisfaction with AT&T does not a hit piece make. It doesn't even read like one. Stop whining!

Dan said...

Look, I want to like this phone, I really do. Search through my previous posts and you'll see my excitement when it was announced. However, my enthusiasm has since been muted over the last several months.

Your Nano comparison is apples to oranges. This is a $500 phone. It should have expandable memory. You've seen how small microSD cards are, and there is no reason for not including one on this phone.

The iPhone suffers from an identity crisis. Is it a smartphone? Is it a PDA? It can't succeed as a smartphone without expandable memory. You can get free phones with microSD slots nowadays. It should be standard. As for it's touted PDA qualities, again, PDA's have had expandable memory for years. I used expandable memory in my first PDA 7 years ago. There is a use for it, ESPECIALLY if you use WiFi. I'm speaking from experience. You may not think you need these things, but that's because you've not used a device like this before. It's essential (as every other phone maker understands).

3G may not be everywhere, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt Apple to include it. It's available in all major markets now. I even get it in St. George, UT, so I think it's safe to assume it's pretty ubiquitous. WiFi is great, and I'm glad they included it. But as I said, I had a PDA and used WiFi. It has it's advantages, there's not arguing that. But why not include a network that can rival hot-spot speeds? Even if it doesn't work, you've got EDGE, which is their minimum now. And Apple would hardly be the recipient of network related outrage. That job goes to AT&T. My phone switches to EDGE when the HSDPA signal is bad... but I've never once called to complain about it. And I don't think many iPhone users would either. That is unless AT&T and Apple did something stupid like guarantee super-fast speeds all of the time. But no one does that.

I have seen many videos of what the iPhone can do. And because of that, I may own one someday. Like I said, I have no problems with the phone. I just want the bugs to be shaken out, the memory to be expandable and the network to give me the same performance I've been used to on my current 3G phone that is a year old. Eventually, they'll get there.

The Last Man said...

We're in agreement on some things. And I have issues with the iPhone that you haven't mentioned that prevent me from buying one. I agree somewhat, why not add 3G? I'm giving you my own guesses. But what I disagree with is that it makes the phone much less desirable. It may. We'll see.

While I tend to think that there has been some hype over this phone that won't be met by it's sales numbers, it'll be a great success. And what's great about the iPhone is that it's gone further in being everything to everyone than any smartphone ever has. That's the hope anyway. I won't buy one because I want an iPod with cavernous memory. Expandable memory doesn't solve that problem for me. But it's got much more memory than any other smartphone out there. Is there one that compares? How much are 8 gig flash cards? They aren't cheap and they don't work in any current phones. 4 gigs don't even work. I'd think that for the next two years, someone that buys an 8 GB iPhone to use as a smart phone will have tons of space, with the occasional mp3 playlist for the plane and such. Granted, I've not owned a smartphone, but I own a PDA that I love, and it's got 128 megs!

On Cingular's site, only an ugly AT&T phone, the Blackjack, and the Treo 680 are 3G. The new Blackberry Curve isn't, neither is the Pearl, neither is the new 8800, which is a sleek smartphone. Of all of those, their expandable memory is only to 2 GB. So, you're gonna buy one of those and buy 4 2 GB flash cards? How about just one with 8? Isn't that an easy choice? Based on the current market, you're asking too much, my friend. And on all of their smartphones, it's not a prominent feature, which leads me to believe that it's not something the average customer is looking for.

So, you say the iPhone suffers from an identity crisis, I say that "crisis" is it's strength, and the concessions made are far less than most other smartphones have had to make, which is why it's an exciting product.

Don't get me started on why I don't like it, tho. I'm not giving you any more ammo!