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iPhone Commentary Gone Overboard..? – Part 1

Why is everyone so quick to criticize?  The masses haven’t even seen the bloody thing yet..!

This is the first in a 2 part series related to some criticism I’ve hard on the iPhone 3G.  You’ll see the second part of this next week.

Ok… I admit it…I was one of the many iPhone-hypers on Monday 6/9/08…and I was really hoping that Steve would have had the stores stocked and ready to buy that day as well…but that’s just sour grapes now.

I’ve been watching a lot of commentary hit the air since all of the interesting announcements on Monday 6/9; and I’ve really tried to hold myself back, as I am certain that everyone and their brother is going to have something to say…but I just can’t leave it alone. Oh well… 😛

iPhone

I saw an article on Extreme Tech titled, "The Top 10 reasons why the iPhone 3G Sucks," and it was really the straw the broke the camel’s back. The iPhone was one of the most widely anticipated devices of 2007. There were rumors of it for almost 4 years. While the iPhone hardware hasn’t changed too much beyond the implementation of a 3G radio (they got rid of the aluminum back and replaced it with plastic, etc.), the experience is going to change a whole lot; and I don’t know how anyone can truly, TRULY pan this thing without getting a hold of it, and playing for at least a couple of weeks or so.

While I’m not going to go thru all 10 points here and rebut them all, there are a few of things that I do want to touch on regarding the article:

Pricing
Well it’s true that Apple has made a real effort to lower prices, why couldn’t they have gotten the price down to $99 instead of $199? I have to wonder about this, given how some people are having a tough time making ends meet these days. With gas costing $4 or more per gallon I’m forced to wonder if many people will have $199 to pay for a phone.

If the price point had been a bit lower at $99, I think Apple would have really hit the sweet spot and sold more phones than they might have otherwise. It’s not that $199 is particularly bad; $99 is better because it will entice a lot more people to ante up for the iPhone 3G

There’s a great deal of debate going on about this particular point; and a lot of information has come to light since the original announcement 3 weeks ago. To an extent, I agree with the above statement. $200 bucks is a lot to pay for anything, especially when a tank of regular gas (depending on size of tank, and geographic location) can run anywhere between $50-$75 bucks easy. I spent $66 bucks filling my wife’s 15 gallon Mazda MPV this weekend alone. A lot of people may have $199 to dish out for the iPhone 8GB, but I don’t know how many actually will.  At $99 bucks, they would have enticed a lot more people in this economy. However, the $200 price drop is a huge benefit for everyone, and brings this closer to what some are calling a discretionary purchase.

There’s also been a lot of press on the additional data charges associated with the new phone.  The TOC of the device has been raised by $40 bucks over the course of the 2 year contract extension, due to a $10 per month raise in the data plan rate, compared to the previous version iPhone.

I was talking with Chris Gavula about this the other day, and found out some very interesting things that were initially news to me…

1. The $199/$299 prices are truly subsidized prices.
2. The retail only pricing has finally been announced.
3. Everyone will be able to buy an iPhone. At most, you’re going to pay $599 for an 8GB device or $699 for a 16GB device.

Again, you can’t get the device without a data plan, and unless deployed in the Enterprise, data plans are $30 bucks/ month. However, the big kicker to all of this is that the new device prices are subsidized by EVERY iPhone 3G owner.

AT&T’s 3G network isn’t that large yet; and while the device will seamlessly switch back and forth between 2G/3G as long as the 3G radio is turned on, not EVERYONE with an iPhone 3G will benefit from the increased network speed, though you WILL be paying for it.  The extra $240 bucks you’re paying over the course of your new 2 year commitment, more than covers the price cut Apple and AT&T are giving everyone. Take a look at AT&T’s 3G coverage map, and you’ll see what I mean… the dark blue areas are 3G coverage. I live in Chicago, and not all of the metro area is covered by the 3G network, so thanks to every EDGE only covered customer out there. I appreciate you helping to lower the cost of my new iPhone 3G… [ducking!]

coverage map

…Storage
At the show, Apple announced that the new 3G iPhone would come in 8GB and 16GB versions. I’m totally underwhelmed by this—I’d wanted at least 32GB and maybe even 64GB! Paying $299 for a measly 16GB really frosts my buns and I think Apple should be ashamed of themselves.

Bear in mind that when we talk about storage we will no longer be dealing just with movies, podcasts, music, and audiobooks. The App Store is going to be filled with zillions of cool applications that are going to take up a lot of space over time. So that 16GB that seems like so much is going to get filled up fast—far faster than most people realize.

Come on, Apple. Stop screwing us on the storage and get real for once. 32GB should be the bare minimum for any iPhone at this point. The 3G iPhone’s storage options suck, there’s no other way to say it.

I agree and disagree here. 6GB and 16GB are way too small. However, I think that 32GB and 64GB isn’t nearly enough if the above is accurate. If the device will now use device based storage for application data as well as multimedia data, then the above is very true. We’re going to go through 8GB/16GB very quickly. The device still doesn’t offer an SD/MicroSD/MiniSD slot, so you’re stuck with what ever is on the device.

While you may be able to use MobileME for some storage, sticking everything in The Cloud isn’t always a great idea. If you can’t get Internet access, getting to your data there is going to be impossible.

When iPod Classic devices have 80GB/160GB options, why iPhone and iPod Touch devices are still stuck with Nano/ circa 2003-2004 storage options is beyond me. I’d take a thicker device any day of the week if it meant I had an 80GB/160GB option for my iPhone.  Wouldn’t you?

What’s going to really tick me off here, is that Apple no doubt sees this, agrees and is in the process of pulling larger capacity iPhones together now. Give it 3 months… I can almost guarantee that come the end of the year, you’re going to see a 64GB+ sized iPhone hit the shelves. I’m still gonna be stuck at 16GB, and carrying around my 5G iPod so that I can have the rest of my music and video with me when I want it.

Ahh, the beauty of carrying more than one device…

I’d love to hear what everyone has to say about all of the above. Please join us in the discussion area and let us know what you think.

Next week, I will finish up the series and talk a little about GPS, ActiveSync and 3G. Stay tuned!!

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