Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Thursday, September 6, 2007

    Apple to AT&T: Get Bent

    For those unaware, Apple did a couple of things yesterday that impact the iPhone market. First, they slashed the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200 to $399, and discontinued the 4GB model. Second, they introduced the iPod Touch, which is essentially an iPhone without the phone. As Fox News reports:

    Demonstrating the iPod touch, [Apple CEO] Steve [Jobs] played Beck's song "Cellphone's Dead" really, Steve? and pointed out that the iPod touch's Wi-Fi "is not only faster than 2.5G, but it's faster than any 3G network."

    Then he rolled out a music store for the iPhone that doesn't seem to work on AT&T's EDGE network, only over Wi-Fi. Ouch!

    AT&T has been killing the iPhone. Reviews for the device universally pan AT&T's network, and some tech bloggers have reported that you can't even find an iPhone on display at AT&T's stores -- AT&T has them hidden in the back, leaving Apple to do virtually all the retail work.

    As the Fox article goes on to say:

    Let's look at the evidence. Even the most positive iPhone reviews called out the phone service as a big minus for the device whether it's AT&T's slow EDGE Internet service, AT&T's wobbly call quality in some areas, or the chaos that early adopters encountered trying to activate the phones.


    It's not like AT&T's so in love with Apple, anyway. Apple is widely believed to have demanded an unprecedented cut of AT&T's monthly revenues in exchange for carrying the iPhone, and AT&T was obviously smarting; I still remember AT&T exec Glenn Lurie's insistence that the carrier "made Apple bend."

    The iPod Touch will obviously cannibalize iPhone sales: now some people who would have switched to AT&T for the iPhone most certainly won't. Apple will sell these en masse; only AT&T will be missing the revenue gain.

    Apple seems to be trying to find ways out of its "multi-year" exclusive contract with AT&T, too.

    And well it should. I'm an AT&T user, and frankly it's merely OK. If the iPhone were unlocked, as the masses have been begging Apple to do, I'd be highly tempted to get one and shop around for carriers. As it is, I'll probably just stick with what I have for other reasons and go with the iPod Touch when my discretionary dollars make it down to that area of my wish list (after weightlifting stuff and a new carry gun).

    By all appearances, getting an iPhone while they're locked to AT&T is like scoring a hot date with the head cheerleader, only to have her show up with her obnoxious, socially retarded 8-year-old brother. If free wifi were more ubiquitous, the iPod Touch would be a serious no-brainer. The only thing left to do is have someone build an add-on device that turns it into a Skype phone.

    Posted by Tom, 9/6/2007 6:46:36 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...