Friday, June 13, 2008

Why I'll never buy an iPhone

And the reason is the now total lock in with AT&T. And I hate AT&T with a passion that stems from my treatment by them as a former customer.

In case you missed it, the next generation iPhone introduced this past Monday delivered a new business model for selling the next generation iPhone. You have to purchase it along with a two-year AT&T plan. You can't order it off the Apple website and then have it activated by purchasing the AT&T service plan separately. It removes all choice in the selection of a wireless carrier, even if that choice included the dubious act of 'breaking out of jail' in order to use the iPhone with a carrier other than AT&T.

I have absolutely no use for AT&T. My distaste for AT&T as a wireless carrier developed in early 1997 when I purchased my first cell phone along with an AT&T two year service contract. I put up with the inordinately expensive and poor AT&T service until I switched to Bellsouth Wireless in mid-1999. In the process of dropping said AT&T service AT&T attempted to assess a termination fee for dropping the service, in spite of the fact that it was just a two-year contract. It appeared that because service had 'rolled over' into another year I was automatically obligated to pay them a termination fee of $127. I told them I would not pay, that the contract never stipulated such, and I dropped service. Then I started to get AT&T bills.

I would call AT&T, tell them that I didn't owe them money, repeat the terms of the original contract, and go on my merry way. This went on from 1999 to 2005, through the spin-off of AT&T Wireless to Cingular and back again to AT&T. Around 2000 AT&T stopped trying to collect directly. Then I started to get the occasional bill collector letter. Then in 2003 I started to get phone calls (with veiled threats about damage to my credit) along with the bills. All over the $127. It finally came to an end in 2005 when I told the last bill collector firm that sent me a letter what was really involved and that it had been going on since 1999. There was the silence of disbelief on the other end, then an apology and an end to the letters. I've not been contacted by anyone since then.

When AT&T bought Bellsouth I moved my land-line over to Bright House Networks. I don't pay one thin dime to AT&T for anything that I'm aware of.

When I heard that AT&T, along with Apple's collusion, had made it impossible to get a new iPhone without an AT&T plan I knew right then and there I'd never own an iPhone. I won't wait out the next four years for the exclusive Apple/AT&T deal to end, either. I'll look at the competition and I'll buy something that's certain to be as good if not better, with a carrier that's just about anybody but AT&T.

I know how I waxed glowingly when the iPhone first appeared. And I still stand by that initial positive reaction. But as time as passed and I've watched His Jobness tighten control over the iPhone, I've come to realize that it's an expensive gilded trap. And now more so than ever. As much as I'd like to have what the iPhone has to offer, I don't need what it has to offer, especially with all it's various limitations and lock-ins. No, I'll wait and see if there are any decent Android handsets later this year (and I'm not holding my breath there) and I'll continue to look at other handset makers. The handset universe is rich and diverse, and Apple only has the one. And a very poor one it has become.

1 comment:

  1. iPhone sucks! It can't do anything that other smartphones can't do, such as handsets running the Windows Mobile operating system. In fact, Windows mobile gives pretty much absolute control: you can install your own programs and do anything you want. I am still waiting for one with Android, though.

    blog.geekblake.22web.net

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