I’ve been asked about Apple’s iPhone many times over the past few months and have decided to share portions of these conversations with you. The most popular question is people asking me “Are you going to buy the iPhone?”, to which I reply “no”. As much as I like Apple, plan on switching to an Apple MacBook next Spring, and have faith in their talented engineers, I would not buy a first generation phone from anyone. There are companies that have been making phones for a long time, Nokia & Motorola come to mind, that still don’t have it perfect. And lets not get started on the issues with Windows Mobile 5. Why would I take a $600, two year chance with someone’s first attempt?
When people ask for more detail on why I won’t get one I point to a few reasons. First, the iPhone doesn’t work on AT&T 3G network, meaning internet speeds will be slow. I know AT&T upgraded the network prior to the iPhone’s release, but I don’t expect to see any gain from that once a million iPhones start abusing the network. In addition, the storage space is too small. I have a 60GB iPod which is hard to replace with a 8GB device. Next, I have a phone (with 3G connectivity, wi-fi, and Outlook synchronization) and an iPod, so the timing of a convergence device isn’t good for me. When I look to replace my iPod I’ll take a good look at the iPhone. (I say iPod because I go through phones pretty quickly and will probably replace a few phones before I replace my iPod). I also expect a new iPhone to be announced in January at MacWorld. Some say it will be out before Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, which is the busiest shopping day of the year), which seems a little soon to me, but I am expecting a full screen video iPod out by then. And finally, did I mention I wouldn’t buy a first phone from anyone.
The iPhone will benefit almost all mobile phone users in some way. In addition to AT&T’s network upgrade, which instantly puts pressure on competitors to upgrade their networks, AT&T had to make modifications to allow the visual voicemail feature, meaning it will be available on more phones. The iPhone also sets a soft cap of $600 for phones because competitors need a reason to charge more that the iPhone costs for a phone that isn’t as useful or cool. Finally, it will make competitors step up the features of their phones in order to compete. Competition benefits the consumer and Apple just woke up the competition with a resounding slap in the face.