Cellular Pros and Cons Emerge for AT&T iPhones

Here is a copy of an article I wrote in 2007 right after the iPhone first came out. I listed the good, bad and ugly aspects of the phone and my thoughts on how successful the phone would be. Little did I know then about all the potential applications that would become available for fun and profit! With the iPhone leading the way on downloadable applications, it’s no wonder we chose to make our very first RunPee app for the iPhone!

Bellevue, WA 2007 – Around the nation, early tech adopters awaited the pleasure of plunking half a grand down for the long anticipated iPhone. As MSNBC.com proclaims (June 29, 2007), “The doors of Apple and AT&T stores opened promptly at 6 p.m. EDT with cheers from employees and eager customers.”

Just as gamers camped outside Best Buys for the newest Xbox 360 console in late 2005, tech geeks set up comfortable chairs and blow-up beds in line outside Apple stores, days before the big iPhone release. The one per customer iPhone rule at AT&T outlets didn’t diminish early adopter enthusiasm for the smartest phone on the market.

For business travelers telecommuting from Timbuktu, the iPhone offers:

  • cell phone use along with
  • a camera for stills and vids,
  • a stock checking icon,
  • grid map and satellite area view features,
  • your basic PDA functions,
  • iPod MP3 capacity and
  • full-screen WIFI web surfing.
  • With a touch-screen display.
  • And it plays YouTube videos. It’s the first true all-in-one device, and might be the Blackberry killer many anticipate.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer (June 27, 2007) reports AT&T’s iPhone rate plans will start at $59.99 a month for 450 minutes, $79.99 for for 900 minutes and go to $99.99 for 1350 minutes. These plans will offer 200 text messages, unlimited data services and month to month roll over minutes, and charge a $36 activation fee. Family plans will also be available. Best part about AT&T’s plan – customers will be able to activate their service AND transfer their existing cell phone numbers from home, using iTunes software. Much better than waiting at phone counters for service reps to get you going.

The AT&T exclusive carrier plan aims to be competitive with Sprint Nextel and Verizon “premium” plans. So, while upfront iPhone costs are high, the monthly service aims at middle market cell phone users.

iPhone Pros…

Business travelers tired of toting laptops onto airplanes can have all the abilities of their notebook at 1/8th the size, PLUS a cell phone. Use the iPhone to check stock quotes from the airport or scan silly videos at Starbucks. Write a blog on a beach, listening to Jimmy Buffet playlists.

Sounds ideal? No one needs to know you aren’t at the office anymore. For business trips of less than a week it’s a boon to put a real computer in your pocket and leave the laptop at home. Avoid carrying multiple chargers. No more juggling numerous hand held devices. The iPhone is also plain old pretty with that huge screen. The touch controls are surprisingly easy to use.

iPhone Cons…

  • iPhone is just as proprietary as any Apple software product.
  • The battery pack is soldered on, so you have to buy a new phone when the battery wears down.
  • You are stuck with carrier AT&T.

Seattle web designer (and frequent traveler) Thomas Driggers encourages a “wait and look before you leap” purchase approach.

“A year from now,” says Driggers, “other phones will come out that will do all the same stuff. The market will explode and all the smart phone prices will come down. Strictly based on Apple’s prior history, with its proprietary environments like iTunes, there may be issues with implementation of iPhone features. It’s probably not going to be universal.”

He concludes, “Apple devices usually costs more than the competition, are typically proprietary, and I am not convinced the iPhone is all that groundbreaking in any case. Applites are the ones buying this. Apple is not winning any new customers with it.”

The exclusive five year carrier contract with AT&T…

There are a lot of AT&T haters on the Internet. AT&T’s iPhone internet connection is awfully slow, bringing back bad memories of dial-up days long past.

Notwithstanding AT&T’s reported low ratings in service and coverage, other cell phone providers are worried about the Apple/AT&T merger.

Yahoo Finance (June 29,2007) reports Verizon Wireless “may cede customers to AT&T as they make the switch to access the iPhone”, despite Verizon’s historically great track record for retaining customers.

Consumersearch.com offers a comparison of cell phone carriers, listing Verizon and T-Mobile as most highly ranked overall, “easily besting Cingular [/AT&T] in nearly every performance factor.”

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