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.”
L.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.