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It's a very cool device. And I'm not getting one.

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This is Leo Notenboom for

Unless you've been living under a rock of late, you know that Apple's new iPhone is set to be released this week.

Let me tell you why I think it's incredibly cool.

And why I'm not going to get one.

The iPhone is the next logical step in an evolution that's turning the lowly telephone into the center of your wireless digital life. True to Apple's strengths, the design is cool and the user interface - at least as shown in the demonstrations - is stunning. The iPhone could perhaps be the closest thing we've seen yet to a mainstream computer in your pocket.

With a full featured web browser, email, widgets, and a bunch of other doodads I'm sure, it's clearly going to be an incredibly lucrative device.

But I'm not getting one.

There are a couple of deal killers for me:

  1. It's only available through AT&T wireless. Good for them, but for various reasons, mostly related to data plans, I don't want to switch carriers. Now I understand that this is a strategic marketing thing, and that Apple's probably making more money per phone than if they'd allowed other carriers to have it. But still, I need choices.

  2. Speaking of data, can you tether it to your Mac or PC? By that I mean can you use your iPhone as a modem for connectivity for your laptop as you travel? Rumor has it that you cannot. I know that the iPhone is supposed to be your on-line digital device, but for a lot of people it's still not enough. It's not the laptop that we still need. I know that AT&T wants to sell me - for for an extra monthly cost - an adapter for my laptop instead, but today I can connect to the internet using my phone. Getting an iPhone? That's serious a downgrade that will cost a lot of extra money every month to overcome.

  3. It's a version 1 product. No disrespect to Apple at all, but I'm going to let others take the pain and learn the lessons for this first generation device. Let's talk again at version 2. Or maybe even version 3.

In the mean time, the good news is that the iPhone is bound to stimulate the market: Apple's innovations aren't going to go unanswered. I expect to see some exciting new phones from the traditional major mobile phone makers. In fact, I believe that may already have begun.

Maybe they'll let me use my current carrier.

And maybe they'll let me use my phone as a modem for my laptop.

I'd love to hear what you think. Visit and enter 11614 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.

Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for

Article C3065 - June 23, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Don Colton
June 23, 2007 8:47 PM

I totally agree about using your phone to connect to the Internet. My first plan (Verizon) allowed that. My second plan (Cingular/ATT) makes it much more expensive. I end up borrowing a Sprint card for my laptop when I travel. This just seems wrong.

June 23, 2007 11:24 PM

How about reasons number 4 and 5...

4: It's amazingly expensive. The difference in price between it and a Blackberry or Palm device is enough to pay for that extra data plan for a year.

5: Forgetting that AT&T has one of the worst levels of high speed data coverage (compared to Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint), even if you're in an area where their high speed service is available, the iPhone can't use it. So it displays web pages really well, but downloads them really slow.

- Greg

June 25, 2007 8:42 PM

I'm sure that once you break that touch screen or it gets scratched to hell, protector or no protector, it will cost an arm and a leg to replace the screen.

June 29, 2007 2:57 AM

Just perfect! Thank you

June 30, 2007 7:20 AM

6: It looks like one-hand operation would be all but impossible. All the views in the ads show a hand holding it while another hand is scrolling, or it's simply floating in mid-air while doing the scrolling.

June 30, 2007 12:44 PM

This overpriced, inadequate piece of "technology" seems to be designed for teenagers or those just out of that age range.
It's a sign of what has been called the "buy now, whatever it is" syndrome. Thus anything, for instance, Microsoft's ME OS, can be sold to non-critical consumers. To me, it's like standing in a line to buy a book. (Harry Potter?) Hell's bells, I won't stand in a line for anything (maybe medical service). Long ago I learned that waiting a few of days isn't going to hurt me. I really don't have to be the first on my block to own the latest idiocy on the market.
As for this latest toy: When it costs $9.99 and I don't have to obligate myself to any corporate colossus for longer than one day, then I might consider it. But probably not.

Ilona Stewart
July 1, 2007 8:39 AM

I LOVE technology, but the cell phone giants still can't get me decent cell phone connections, (at home, where I am, sometimes), 6 miles off the expressway an hour from Detroit, MI.

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