Monday, June 11, 2007

Why You Don't Want An Apple iPhone

ALTSteve Jobs' new phone looks cool, but it may not be for everyone. Here are some potential problems that may cause some would-be buyers to wait around for iPhone version 2.0, or pick up an alternative.

ALTThe iPhone isn't equipped for AT&T's fastest "third-generation" (or 3G) wireless data network. Instead, iPhone users are stuck on an older, slower network, which means Web pages will take longer to load. In theory, iPhone users can also hook up to a wi-fi connection, but that's a less useful feature than it should be.

ALTFrom all indications, the iPhone's battery--as with its iPod in-laws--is sealed inside the device. Problem is, playing songs, making phone calls and and surfing the Web can all drain a battery fairly quickly. And it doesn't look as if Apple will let you swap in a spare one on the go. And when the battery finally runs out of charges, how do you replace it?

ALTCrackBerry addicts, beware: It looks as if you won't be able to access your corporate push e-mail system with iPhone's built-in software. The iPhone runs the Mac OS X operating system, so, in theory, writing powerful software should be easy for outsiders. But Apple has been cryptic so far as to whether it will open the iPhone to developers.

ALTThe iPhone's screen is arguably its most attractive feature. But will it really be good enough to be the phone's only navigation system? Will dialing and typing on a simulated keypad be easy enough to do without your undivided attention? In the rain? And how easily will it scratch?

ALTWe're way past the $500 start-up cost. AT&T's contract terms could be a big deal breaker. Will they require a minimum $40-per-month voice plan and a minimum $40-per-month, all-you-can-eat data plan? Before taxes, that adds up to more than $1,900 over two years. And AT&T won't be rewarding loyalty here--existing customers will get the same deal as new customers.