Why I Won't Be Buying an iPhone Next Week

Sad but true.

iPhoneApple’s iPhone continues to be a huge topic of conversation among bloggers and computer news Web site. It’s the topic of countless podcasts — including several I’ve been listening to since my return from vacation a few days ago. And I’ve even caught a few iPhone ads on television, despite the fact that I only watch TV via DVR and fast forward through all the commercials.

I agree: the iPhone looks hot. Its refreshing design is destined to be a classic — if it isn’t one already. (If there’s one company that knows design, it’s Apple.) And it appears to have most — if not all — of the features I need in a smartphone.

And it hits the market the day before my birthday. What a great gift idea!

But I won’t be buying one this year. Here’s why:

  • The iPhone requires a contract with AT&T. After numerous problems with AT&T in the past and a complete distaste for their practice of outsourcing customer and technical support to India, I refuse to give AT&T any of my business. The thought of entering into a 2-year contract for them just so I can get a hot new phone turns my stomach and opens me up for accusations of hypocrisy. And, frankly, I’m a bit pissed off that Apple locked itself in with AT&T for more than just 6 or 12 months, since lots of people will probably switch to AT&T to get the phone. That could negatively impact the other cellular service companies out there, including my chosen provider, Verizon.
  • The iPhone is brand new, unproven technology. Sure, I bought the original iPod and numerous other first generation products released by Apple and others. But those were “toys” — not equipment that I needed to rely on. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a computer geek it’s this: Version 1.0 is never as good as version 1.1 or 2.0.
  • Like all computers and phones, the iPhone’s price will likely come down as demand settles to more reasonable levels and cheaper copycat products start appearing. Although my recently purchased Treo cost $350 (after rebate), that’s the absolute highest price I ever expect to pay for a phone.

Does this mean I don’t like the iPhone? Hell, no! From what I’ve seen, it looks like Apple has once again managed to create a cool, innovative product that’ll be fun to own and use.

Does this mean I don’t want an iPhone? Hell, no! I want one very much. But I don’t want to give my money to AT&T and my principles are more important than having a cool new toy.

When I bought my Treo 700p last month, I signed up for another two years with Verizon. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I probably won’t get my hot little hands on my own iPhone anytime soon.

Perhaps for my birthday in 2009…

18 thoughts on “Why I Won't Be Buying an iPhone Next Week

  1. One of the things that has shocked me the most since the iPhone was announced in January is not only some of the seething dislike for AT&T, but the fierce loyalty to Verizon. Personally, I’ve been with Cingular for years and have never had to use technical support. Perhaps you need tech support so much because your phones have just sucked? As for Verizon, that’s cool that you dig them so much, but doesn’t the fact that they severely cripple their phones’ features and try to monetize every little service bother you?

    It’s cool though. I’m just surprised that people have such a loyalty to the network that they will forego a watershed product. Personally, the hardware trumps the service provider for me.

  2. Wow. Don’t YOU have a chip on your shoulder. Lighten up, bud.

    I’ve always had the simplest phones. The Treo is the first phone I bought in 3-1/2 years and the only reason I bought it was so I could get Internet access at my off-the grid property — which isn’t covered by any other provider.

    The problem I have is this: I live at the edge of nowhere and make frequent trips to the middle of nowhere. Verizon is the only provider that covers the areas I go to.

    Now don’t you feel silly jumping down my throat like that? You should.

  3. I support your decision 100%!!! I wish more people would stick to their providers and NOT get the iPhone.

    Better chance for me to get one then. Hehehe… ;-)

  4. I sincerely hope there are enough to go around for everyone who wants one.

    More folks to identify any problems that might be lurking in this 1.0 product! Hehehe… ;-)

  5. I’m always a bit surprised at how everyone is so upset over the 2 year contract with AT&T. While their service varies from place to place I’m sure, I’ve never seen much of a difference between cell carriers in LA. They all have dead spots.. only the location of them differs.

    I’m mildly amused by your comment that the 2 year contract to get an iPhone is a problem, but you just signed for 2-years for a Treo… I guess it’s just the AT&T thing.

    I too wish they would open it up to multiple carries, but it seems AT&T gave them an incentive not too. I don’t blame Apple for that. And the visual voicemail seems cool.

    I’ll be getting one (though not standing in line!)

  6. Note that Verizon rejected the Apple iPhone because of Apple’s insistence on changing the user’s cellular experience, and the relationship between handset mfrs and the carriers. We know bits and pieces but not the whole story, though we’ll know more about Verizon rejected when the iPhone is released.

    It may turn out that Verizon’s rejection was good for users because this gives Verizon the resources to build a quality network, or bad for users because it allowed Verizon to block user capabilities altogether or for a fee. All I’m saying is there’s lots of principles at play here, and we’ll be weighing the lesser of evils in the days ahead.

    (BTW, I’m on T-mobile and I’m likely not getting an iPhone until after my 2-year contract ends next year.)

  7. I had heard that Verizon turned down Apple. I make sure I stick it to them every time I talk to them.

    But yes, I’m locked in for 2 years. I actually did that on purpose so I wouldn’t be tempted to switch just to get the phone.

    I really hate AT&T and frankly, it has nothing to do with cellular service. They put me through hell on an accounting issue they screwed up and even put a note on my husband’s credit report. Trouble is, the Indians in customer support can’t understand anything that’s not on the script in front of them. And it’s impossible to get anyone but those outsourced support people.

  8. Sorry Maria, It wasn’t my intention to jump down your throat. I didn’t mean for my comment to come off as an attack against you. I was only trying to express my surprise at the loyalty you show to Verizon, when they have many aspects that people find as detestable as AT&T, and it’s likely that every other service provider does as well. It just surprises me that when, having to choose between the network and the device, you choose the network, that’s all. Fortunately for me, I haven’t experienced anything like the experience you had with Cingular. That’s a bummer.

  9. Why should anyone care if you do or don’t buy an iPhone? I doubt if anyone cares if I buy one or not, what makes you different?

    As far as the Indian – i get Fillpinas with AT&T – go in customer support, just tell them you want to talk to a local rep and they transfer you right over, no big deal.

  10. William, what a cranky SOB you can be! You must care — you took the time to read my post and type in your nasty comment.

    You obviously have never dealt with AT&T customer service. I have. And it was NOT POSSIBLE to get anyone living on my continent (North America) to handle my problem. This went on for more than TWO MONTHS with harassing calls from Indian representatives. When I thought the problem was finally resolved, they hit my husband’s credit report for a lousy $66 unpaid item that they’d told me we’d paid.

    Stop making judgments when you don’t know the facts.

    Jeez, Louise! A person isn’t entitled to their own opinion on their own blog?

  11. Maria,

    This is the first cell phone that can have it’s software and OS upgraded after purchase, just like an iPod. It’s not really a mechanical device like other cell phones, it’s a software device. Any version 1.0 screw ups can be fixed next time you sync with your computer.

    I wouldn’t worry about being an early adopter. As soon as sales begin to lag, a new free piece of must have software will be sent out to everyone’s iPhone. The phone you could have bought on the 29th will just get better and better.

  12. Al, this is a really good point — and one I completely missed. I keep forgetting that this isn’t really a phone as much as a computer that enables you to make calls, etc.

    But I’ve made my bed and will lie in it. No iPhone for me for at least two years. Perhaps by then it’ll do even more cool stuff and I will have forgiven AT&T (former is likely, latter is unlikely).

  13. Although a diehard Mac geek, I won’t be getting an iPhone, either. The number one problem is, as you mentioned, the need to switch carriers; I’m not particularly thrilled with Verizon, but my whole family is on the network, making keeping in touch via mobile-to-mobile really cheap. My other concern is the flip side of the iPhone’s convenience: I also use a Treo, and I’ve discovered that the more integrated a device like this becomes, the more demands are placed on the device battery, and while having my mp3 player battery die early in the day is inconvenient, it isn’t a crisis. Having my cellphone battery go is a FAR bigger problem, especially when my phone is a primary means of contact for work. Until there’s a better solution for THAT problem, I’ll keep my iPod and phone separate, thankyouverymuch.

  14. Maria lesson number 1 – if you don’t want negative comments don’t say anything about Apple. I love Apple and read lots of articles like yours that get picked up by Macsurfer. Many times the bloggers don’t realize what the reaction of the apple faithful will be. That said I will also tell you that I have been with ATT/Cingular for over 7 years with out any problems and yes I have called support more than once and actually talked to people in the USA more than once. Verizon cripples the phones and even though they are a local landline provider in my area and their name appears on my local phonebook they don’t have any cellular service in my area SE Ohio / West Central West Virginia. So NO verizon I can’t hear you now.

  15. Jay, you misunderstand. I am part of the Mac faithful. I’ve been usings Macs since 1989 and have owned more than a dozen since then. There are THREE of them sitting on my desk right now. My post didn’t bash Apple in the least, except to scold them for entering into such a long contract with AT&T.

    I just find it odd that a simple post about why I’m not buying an iPhone NEXT WEEK (I didn’t say never!) got so many people’s hair up. I think it’s because they commented based on the title and a few sentences rather than read the entire post.

    Whatever.

    And I’m not sure about what you and someone else mean about “crippling the phones.” My Treo works flawlessly and I seem to be able to access all of its features.

    I do agree, however, that Verizon took far too long to support Bluetooth. That’s one of the reasons Ikept my old Motorola flip phone for 3-1/2 years. No reason to update if I can’t get the PDA features I wanted that were compatible with my Mac.

    The iPhone appears to be the dream superphone for Mac users. But I’ll wait a while. A lot can happen in two years and I’m perfectly satisfied with my Treo and video iPod for now.

    Oh, and one more thing: I never had Cingular as a provider. My comments were about A&T — the original company, not the merged-with-Cingular company. Cingular might be a dream provider. I don’t know and I never said anything to bash it. People do tend to read between the lines, though.

  16. SBC, Cingular, Bell South and what remained of the old AT&T make up the “new” AT&T, after the latter was bought up by the former. It’s all rather like mom moving in with the kids.

  17. I’m already a Cingular (AT&T) customer, and I don’t even think getting an iPhone is worth having to extend my contract another 2 years. I left AT&T once already because of their awful customer service, but they (and their awful service) have followed me. It’s not just technical issues that cause you to have to deal with them either. Even if you manage to get the perfect phone, they will inevitably screw something up with your service or billing, and you’ll have to call (and call and call and call…).

  18. SBC, the most successful of the “Baby Bells” created by the breakup of “Ma Bell” in 1984, bought AT&T, but decided to use the latter’s name since it had worldwide name recognition.

    So the New AT&T is not the old AT&T management philosophy and personel.

What do you think?