Reasons not to buy an iPhone 4

iphoneJust in case you haven’t been paying any attention for the past six months there is a new cell phone going on sale next week. Some company called Apple is putting it out. Apple apparently has a reputation for great industrial design in their products and this phone sure looks cool. Now looking cool and actually working well don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Certainly an iPod looks cool and the click wheel interface definitely works great, but the touch screen interface of the iPhone is a whole new ball game. It remains to be seen how well it work and it may be great. Or not! Not having actually tried an iPhone I’ll stick to outlining some other reasons not to buy one regardless of how well it works.

  1. AT&T. This alone should be all the reason anyone needs to stay away from the iPhone regardless of how good it may be. AT&T has cooperated willingly in the NSA domestic spying program and for that they should be punished by everyone refusing to do business with them. They have also recently announced plans to monitor the data that their DSL customers are sending and receiving so that they can notify the extortionists at the RIAA and MPAA when suspect content is being transmitted.
  2. Cost. The 4GB model will be $499 and the 8GB version is $599. These are the kinds of prices usually charged for unlocked phones that can be used with any cellular provider. Usually when you buy a phone from a company like AT&T or Verizon they subsidize the price in exchange for signing up for a one or two year contract. If you leave your contract early you pay a hefty early termination fee. AT&T will be charging the ETF even though they are not subsidizing the phone.
  3. More Cost. The phone goes on sale next Friday and AT&T has just released the service plans for the iPhone and they start at $60 a month for 450 minutes.  If you have a family plan you’re SOL, no sharing minutes.
  4. If you currently have a GSM phone and plan, you can’t just buy an iPhone and pop in yor SIM card.  You have to sign up for a new two year service plan with AT&T
  5. With a regular iPod you can enable disk mode and drag files onto the drive and use it for portable storage.  The iPhone has no disk mode.
  6. With most phones today you can drop any mp3 file on the phone and use it as a ringtone.  The iPhone you can’t use your own files as ring tones.  You’ll have to buy from AT&T.
  7. You can’t record video with the iPhone camera, stills only
  8. You can’t swap out the battery.  If you have a cell phone that you use with any regularity you know the chances of the phone having any useful life by the middle of the second year is slim.  Presumably you can open up an iPhone like an iPod and replace the battery but it’s not trivial.  No one should sell a phone or media player without a user replaceable battery.
  9. The durability of the glass face on the iPhone is still a very open question.  I’d wait and see on that one.
  10. Finally and most importantly, AT&T is the only service provider. See reason No. 1 above.

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4 thoughts on “Reasons not to buy an iPhone

  • John Neff

    Sam, the program iFuntastic unlocks the iPhone to a good degree and allows some things you note as negatives about the iPhone. For instance, you can change ringtones to whatever you want and you can drag files onto the device and see its file structure. I totally agree about AT&T, but happen to have been a customer of theirs for the last six years or so. They made the transition to the iPhone as difficult as could be, and I do hate them, but no one has been able to tell me the name of a good cell phone carrier, besides perhaps T-Mobile, which is also the smallest. Anyway, I’ve had the iPhone for a few weeks now, and I love it. I am an Apple fanboy, but I particularly use the Google Maps feature a lot and load the device up with videos I’ve downloaded from bitorrent.