Is Apple’s iPhone Still Exciting? Our Views, and Yours | iLounge Article

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Is Apple’s iPhone Still Exciting? Our Views, and Yours

Announced to rapturous applause in January, Apple’s “revolutionary” iPhone - a hybrid iPod, cell phone, and portable Internet device - has since been the subject of endless discussions, with everyone from average users to analysts and critics weighing in on its potential for success or failure. With roughly three months remaining before the device’s launch, iLounge’s editors were given a set of several questions: how do you feel today about iPhone? Have your feelings changed, positively or negatively, since the announcement? Will you buy one?

Below, you’ll find our answers to these questions, and more. Please add your thoughts to the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Jerrod H., Contributing Editor, United States: “Since the eruption of excitement that had us all drooling at the iPhone’s release in January, I’ve done a lot of thinking, and have almost entirely put the brakes on my initial plans to get one as soon as possible. Now that the dust has settled, it turns out there are all sorts of things that have convinced me to wait: the device’s flash capacity and data speed aren’t where I’d like them, the total cost of purchasing one, including terminating my contract with Sprint, is astronomical, and without near-term hope for third-party apps, iPhone may not even fully replace my Treo 700 in functionality.

That said, I’m absolutely ecstatic that Apple has entered this market, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the iPhone family of products as it emerges and evolves, but the first generation isn’t for me… I think. Nothing’s certain until I hold one in my hands and try it out.”

Larry AngellL.C. Angell, Senior Editor, United States: “I’m more excited today about the iPhone than ever. Like a shameless iFanboy, my excitement builds by the minute for this thing. Unlike the Apple TV, which pretty much bores me, I simply can’t wait to get my hands on one (or two—my fiancée also “needs” one on launch day). As a current Cingular/AT&T customer who paid $400 for a just-released Palm Treo back in the day and over $300 for a Motorola KRZR, the feature-heavy, consumer-friendly iPhone actually looks like it’s priced just right.”

Christina Easton, Contributing Editor, United States: “Integrating a cell phone and iPod together is a great concept for people who want an all-in-one device, and I’m excited about it. But I’m currently old-fashioned as far as phones go - I don’t have phones with Internet capabilities or anything like that, and like my cell phone to just be a phone. I have no need for a multi-function device, and would much rather see Apple put out a widescreen video iPod. The iPhone doesn’t have enough storage space, so you can’t hold a lot of music or video - it can’t really replace my current iPod. And I think the general public has a misperception of how fast it will really be for Internet use.

Personally, the expense involved in purchasing iPhone means that I won’t be spending the money on it. I definitely like the design, but it’s really expensive, and cost’s the number one prohibiting factor for me. I already get a free phone from Cingular, already have an iPod, and have a computer with wireless Internet, so it’s not like I really have a desperate need for any of these features. Having an obligation to Cingular isn’t something I’m really fond of, either, especially since my current service with them is not really that great - it’s really spotty in some areas. I’ve used Verizon, Nextel, and Cingular, and the areas I’m in have less coverage with Cingular.”

Dennis Lloyd, Publisher, United States: “I want iPhone now. I don’t like my Palm Treo. I should have kept my Sidekick. The iPhone looks great, the interface looks fantastic and I’m willing to give Cingular/AT&T a try. This is a good version 1.0 phone. I hope Apple announces iChat Mobile when it is released.”


Bob Levens, Contributing Editor, United Kingdom: “I have to admit to being one of the many people to go ‘Oooooo…’ when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in January. The details of just how the airtime providers are going to price-package the iPhone when it eventually gets released in the UK - 2008 now with the way things get delayed? - are still non-existent as far as I have been able to figure out. If someone like T-Mobile becomes the UK and Europe carrier for the iPhone on their Web ‘n’ Walk package and at a reasonable price, then it may well replace my SideKick II. But as that contract ends in May, and assuming I cannot negotiate a better package, then I may just hold off until the iPhone arrives. I don’t expect it to be given away free, as was my SideKick II, but if it is on the wrong service package then I will have to live without it.”

Jesse Hollington, Contributing Editor, Canada: “The iPhone is a device with a lot of promise, but it’s hard to say exactly what niche it’s going to fit into. Discussions with many of my colleagues and clients in the Corporate IT space indicate that it’s not very likely to be adopted or even realistically usable by the average business user, and therefore has no chance of unseating devices like the RIM Blackberry - unless Apple can do something revolutionary in that space, which past experience with Apple makes doubtful. The device is likely only to be successful with early adopters and perhaps independent self-employed consultants and creative types who can afford a device that won’t easily integrate with the rest of the business world. Of course, the fact that many of those folks are also Mac users won’t hurt, but it would seem that the iPhone will have a limited appeal for those who aren’t already comfortable in that space.

While I like the iPhone, and I really want to see it succeed, the revolutionary aspect of it is not what it does - after all, portable e-mail/web devices are not a new thing - but rather how it does it. I still plan to buy one, mostly as I tend to be an early adopter of such technology, but I remain very skeptical about whether or not it’s going to be a viable replacement for my Blackberry OR my Motorola RAZR v3i.”

Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief, United States: “To make one point clear at the onset, I want an iPhone. And I think literally millions of people feel the same way, which is a good start for any new product, and the sort of thing that is forcing the entire cell phone industry to mull major changes to everything from their products to the services they provide. But we can’t kid ourselves: price is going to be critical to this product’s popularity. Until Apple, AT&T/Cingular, and international networks disclose truly final package pricing for the iPhone, any predictions of its imminent success or failure are very premature.

Admittedly, if the iPhone had been announced with any two of the following three features - more storage capacity, support for faster cellular data standards, or support for networks other than AT&T/Cingular’s - pricing wouldn’t have mattered much, if at all. An iPhone with 40GB or 80GB of storage space at previously announced prices would have been an instant sell to current 3G, 4G, and 5G iPod owners. Guaranteed high-speed Internet access from your car for Google Maps would have made this a potential GPS killer. Or the ability to work with any GSM cell phone provider? Done deal. But as currently announced, you have to be willing to accept some big compromises - and a Cingular contract - to become an iPhone customer. My gut feeling is that it’s going to sell better than Sony’s much-maligned yet impressive PlayStation 3, but run into the same problem: at some point, perhaps sooner than Apple expects, it will run out of people willing to pay $499 or $599 for the privilege of being ‘first,’ and aggressive discounts, improved versions, and stripped-down alternatives will need to follow.”

You’ve heard our thoughts - what do you think? Your comments and thoughts are appreciated below.

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Comments

1

I agree with most of what is said here,. I too ‘oooh’ed and aaah’ed’ but then I began to look closely.
One of the reasons I never seriously considered a Treo Life Drive was the paltry 4GB storage. Same thing with the iPhone. I can use my current iPod as a storage/transport device for files other than music and video. A couple of videos and some music and the iPhone won’t hold enough to fill a sheet of toilet paper.
I like the idea of being able to take my phone when needed and leaving my mp3 player behind (yes some of us do leave home without it). The thing is just to bulky to carry around at a time when it will only be used for its telephony.
Unless really good, strong PDA functionality is built in, with handwriting recognition (I like my stylus thank you and have fat fingers which I am not sure will work with the iPhone). For this I could live with bulky all the time.
Oh yes, a camera like the one on my current phone - which points away from me or at me (especially for video conferencing) would be nice.
If the PSP can have wifi, why not iphone? Internet only through my cellular provider. My favorite cofee shop offers free wifi (not those Seattlaliens).
So I want big color screen, lots of memory, size negotiable based on functionality (get your mind out of there), graffiti or keyboard, lots of cunctins, third party apps.
I know, I want what the Newton was never allowed to grow up to be!

Posted by Weber on March 2, 2007 at 2:51 PM (CST)

2

I damn near cried when the iPhone was announced. I spent days going over photos and specs on it. I had a fever…and the only perscription was iPhone.
It’s been a couple months now, and my fever’s broke. I still crave to see it and touch it like a junkie, but I’m definely going to put it through the paces at the store before buying it. In fact, as much as I am madly in love with the iPhone…I may not even buy it.
The contract, the small memory, and the price (in that order) keep needling me. The fact is, I don’t really need a cell phone. I don’t have one now and I get by without it. If Apple comes out with a new iPod that has all the features of the iPhone minus the phone….well, I would beg, borrow, or steal (okay, maybe not steal) for such a device.
It will be a test of my resolve to hold off on getting an iPhone untill the next gen iPods are announced.

Posted by MirandaKali in D.C. on March 2, 2007 at 4:08 PM (CST)

3

I love the iPhone, but even my affections have cooled slightly since its release. I’ll probably still buy one, but I hope the price drops or the memory increases. But ultimately I’ll be buying one. By the way, Weber, I could have sworn the iPhone had wifi.

Posted by urbanslaughter on March 2, 2007 at 4:24 PM (CST)

4

I love the iPhone concept and I hope it shakes things up in the cell phone world. I don’t think cell phone makers and carriers have done a very good job of creating a good convergence device. Though I’m a Verizon customer and love their network, I absolutely hate the user interface for their cell phones. I hope Apple helps to rectify the situation.

Given the price and the fact that it’s with Cingular (who I’ve sworn never to patronize again), I highly doubt I’ll purchase an iPhone, given current conditions.

Ideally, I’d like to buy a future iPhone to replace my iPod, but I’d need a much larger capacity unit, as well as a different service provider.

Posted by cxc273 on March 2, 2007 at 5:03 PM (CST)

5

I have to totally agree with Jeremy, except for the GPS thing.  I want a device that is both a full-size, wide-screened iPod and an excellent phone, calendar, address book.  I would pay $600 for that.  I won’t pay $600 that only replaces my nano and my phone.  What’s scary is I think it will take Apple another year to truly integrate those things in my pocket: a phone/PDA and a full size widescreen iPod.

Posted by alexarch in Dallas, TX on March 2, 2007 at 5:06 PM (CST)

6

I also just realized that it’ll probably never be in Apple’s interest to sell me one integrated product: a phone and a full-sized widescreen iPod.  They’re interested in selling me two products, so I may never get my wish.

Posted by alexarch in Dallas, TX on March 2, 2007 at 5:16 PM (CST)

7

As depressing as it may seem,
I can’t go a day without thinking about the iPhone.

Actually, I check Apple.com for any new iPhone tech-specs.

I need a psychologist.

Posted by jeremyjk1221 on March 2, 2007 at 5:20 PM (CST)

8

My mistake. Wifi is there.

Posted by Weber on March 2, 2007 at 7:30 PM (CST)

9

No HSDPA = iPhone killjoy for this EV-DO addicted Treo user

Posted by btn on March 2, 2007 at 8:11 PM (CST)

10

I don’t think I will purchase the 1st gen iPhone. The price, limited storage, limited PDA function would be a deal breaker. When it replaces my 5th gen iPod & my Treo, I will consider a purchase.

Posted by oldskool in Los Angeles on March 3, 2007 at 12:40 AM (CST)

11

This is at best a Sidekick killer. Until Apple address the needs of the typical business user, Crackberry and Windows Mobile devices will be unaffected.

Plus, you can make a Windows Mobile device look like an iPhone.

Posted by rockbox on March 3, 2007 at 12:48 AM (CST)

12

I drooled with everyone ese at the launch - I admit it. However, having been a dedicated pda/phone person for years now (imate jam is my gadget atm. not completely happy, but it does the job.) and have after careful consideration, decided iphone won’t be worth my time. I need the functionality that the pda/phone mix brings, and the iphone doesn’t seem to be able to do all of the things I expect my gadget to do now. I already have all my music on my phone, so the only thing that attracted me was the pretty operating software.
So yes, I was initially shallow - it is gorgeous after all. But when it comes down to it, beauty inside   counts for more than all the good looks in the world.

Posted by Philomath on March 3, 2007 at 4:36 AM (CST)

13

I think that Apple will release more features than they have shown. By the time the full feature set is known half of the people who decided against it will decide for it again. :-)

Apple isn’t stupid. The iPhone will have a few features which Apple has kept close to its chest - just like Leopard…

And the fact that everybody else is reacting to Apple shows something: Apple is making the rules here. :-D

Posted by Pikemann_Urge on March 3, 2007 at 5:08 AM (CST)

14

Well it looks like part of the decision is made up for me - T-Mobile are not bringing the SideKick 3 to the UK. I think the SKII was a dismal failure here, so it looks like they are replacing the Sidekick with something from HTC.

I do doubt if the iPhone will be in the UK by this time next year so if I can negotiate a 12 month interim deal on my SKII, that might see me through to the arrival of the iPhone.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on March 3, 2007 at 10:42 AM (CST)

15

Well here in Australia, it remains to be seen when the iPhone will even be released. Interestingly the reaction from the major carrier here, Telstra, has been very less than enthusiastic http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Telstra-plays-it-cool-on-iPhone/2007/02/15/1171405361731.html. Although this may be tainted if Apple has a yet to be announced agreement with another carrier here.

Personally, I’m discouraged by the non-removable battery and the low memory capacity.

Here in Australia where the market is accustomed to “free” handset upgrades every two years, the iPhone is going to face issues over pricing.

For someone like me I guess they will be asking me to pay probably more than a 5g iPod plus a two year contract with a relatively high monthly spend. All this and I will end up with less of an iPod than I have now in terms of storage capacity.

I would like an integrated device, with the iPod function being the most used part of that device, but on current indications I don’t think the iPhone fits the bill.

Posted by madammelb on March 3, 2007 at 7:41 PM (CST)

16

I spent well over $2,500 on Newtons—my 2100 being a bit over a $1,000. In many ways, the iPhone is what the Newton would have become (Jobs would rather work for Microsoft than ever admit it). All the shortcomings of the iPhone will either be surmounted through third-party, or Apple with newer models. Apple has joined forces with AT&T, who alone is a mega-player in about every scale of the business, and private world. My son works for AT&T and tells me that inquires regarding the iPhone are incessant with no end in sight. Apple is in more ways than one the North American version of Bang & Olufsen—without the exorbitant pricing. Need I remind anyone here of B&O’s MP3 player and its price? Having been an Apple zealot, and now simply someone who appreciates good value, superior design, and convenience, Apple, and it products work well for me.

Apple has thrown a great deal against the wall of 2007 in the hopes that it all sticks. For Apple’s sake, I hope it all does. Currently, the iPhone is merely an Apple seed spouting many roots.

[Moderator note: Insult to other readers removed; please avoid ad hominem attacks on fellow readers.]

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on March 4, 2007 at 1:30 AM (CST)

17

I believe an old Chinese proverb says it best (I’m paraphrasing), “having is not nearly so desirous as wanting.”

Point is after about 6 weeks or when the novelty wears off, this phone will become as common and envious as any other phone.

Then what will remain will be the mediocre service and nickel and diming that are the hallmarks of all the monopolists cellular carriers.

But hey, you won’t care… you will finally own an iphone

Posted by hip on March 4, 2007 at 8:54 AM (CST)

18

Hip, I have to say, I am not infatuated with the iPhone because no one else has it. I’m desirous of it because it’s a cool functioning product. I’m not sure how a phone can be envious of something, but I have a feeling that’s not the word you intended.

Posted by urbanslaughter on March 5, 2007 at 9:51 AM (CST)

19

Hmmmm, interesting, but maybe not.  Your comments, not the iPhone. :-)

Someone said, “The iPhone is a device with a lot of promise, but it’s hard to say exactly what niche it’s going to fit into…” 

I use a cell phone (cingular / ATT). Period. IT makes calls (mostly :-) ). No camera, no internet, just a phone (oh yea, and a message service—sorta)

Would I like an iPhone?  OF Bloody course, are you stupid? :-)  It will be one of the neatest new toys in the world.  Now the first edition or so may not have all the features, but just you wait. 

What am I waiting for?  Let me suggest what my iPhone will do (with the appropriate add ons, plugins, etc):
1) live active google maps to any city, anywhere in the world*. It will be close to impossible to get lost.
2)  Full internet, anywhere in the world*. Not play internet like now, real, live, internet. Period.
3)  A full mini computer.  Google is releasing a full software package of word/spreadsheet/etc software done thru Google or off line, using the text input or maybe speech to text, I can work with my iPhone anywhere in the world*.

4)  A cheap connection to the world thru e-mail, phone, web, etc if I live near a wireless connection, just like my home, work, starbucks, etc.  ANd if I have to, I can always fall back on ATT (ichy nasty but do able. :-) )

5) A movie player that will upconnect to a tv screen, or anyone of the portable mid sized screens so I can watch movies anywhere in the world*.

6)  A insanely great music player.

7)  OH yes, I almost forgot one thing.  In a pinch, I can even make cell phone calls on this thing,  . .  you guessed it, anywhere in the world*. :-)

Note that as third party items come online you will see portable viewing screens, recharging, big speaker connections, etc, etc, etc. 

Note world* refers to anywhere in the world that one can get either wireless or cell connection.  I do know a number of places (dips, hollows, small towns, building rooms, etc where neither connection happens.  But then usually I am driving, flying or sleeping in those places. LOL :-)

Anyway, yep, I am just waiting till I can get my iPhone. . . . I might even make a phone call or two on it.  But don’t hold your breath.  :-)

Posted by eldernorm on March 8, 2007 at 4:06 PM (CST)

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