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iPhone 3G Finally Available In US Contract-Free

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the long-time-coming dept.

Communications 265

Engadget is reporting that the iPhone 3G is finally available contract-free if you are willing to pay a much higher premium. Without a contract consumers are looking at $599 for an 8GB model and $699 for the 16GB. AT&T has the added restriction that you must be an existing AT&T customer, but Apple (retail stores only, sorry) will sell one to anyone willing to pay the premium. This change brings the model much closer to the prevailing European model where phones are sold as hardware and the plans are handled completely separately.

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265 comments

European Model... (4, Informative)

MLopat (848735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359357)

I love how marketers in North America continue to push the idea of "European". We've all seen the infomercials where they state "This is a best selling product in Europe..." or "In Europe this retails for $60 but..."

The way that it really works in Europe is that you pay for your phone over the course of your contract. For example, if you want a phone that is $600 and you are on a 3 year agreement, you pay $16.67 as a line item on your monthly bill to pay for the cost of the phone. That's much better than the hidden subsidy cost that most (if not all) North American carriers provide.

Re:European Model... (3, Insightful)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359393)

I'm not sure, but there is almost always someone in the US who will sell you something where you make monthly payments. Of course, there usually is an unreasonable interest rate.

Re:European Model... (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359487)

The UK must not be in Europe then.

In the UK the phone is "free" (or not) and then you get contracts that provide you with minutes/texts that do cover the cost of the phone, but it's still hidden.

Most phones are available without a contract if you want to pay that much, and you can get contracts without phones that are considerably cheaper. But it's not necessarily the most economical way of doing it.

No, the UK way is to have the phone covered by the contract but the contract only lasts a single year, after which the companies are obliged to SIM Unlock the phone for a nominal fee.

Or of course just to use pay as you go, if that's your thing.

Re:European Model... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27359755)

Pretty much ditto here in Germany, although most contracts go for 24 months.

Re:European Model... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360013)

No, the UK way is to have the phone covered by the contract but the contract only lasts a single year, after which the companies are obliged to SIM Unlock the phone for a nominal fee.

Or of course just to use pay as you go, if that's your thing.

It ain't necessarily so. Last time I upgraded I had to take an 18-month contract to get the phone I wanted. And being obliged to unlock "for a nominal fee" is news to me -- I have been quoted unlocking fees that were higher than the contract-free price of the handset.

Re:European Model... (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360347)

Every phone I got with a contract was simlock free. Only the prepaid one I had had a simlock.

Re:European Model... (2, Interesting)

Extensa30 (1150211) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359599)

well, that is not true AT ALL. I've been living in 4 different countries so far, with mobile phones bought in the 4 of them (spain, france, england and germany so far). Pretty much each country does different: in some of them the higher the forfait you agree to pay monthly, the cheaper the phone is, in others there is not such an agreement (well, allways a 5 euros or so), but I've NEVER seen paying money just for the line (and with that I mean money that does not come, or can not be spent in calls) The parent is shimply lying.

Re:European Model... (3, Informative)

rmav (1149097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359771)

No, it does not work like that, at least not everywhere. There is one provider in Italy that does this, I know of no one in any other country.

You can either:

1. Buy a phone, then use the card you want; or

2. You get a subsidised, locked phone with your contract - the preferred way in Germany, where people end up paying much more for the iPhone than the americans, even.

In italy route 1 means that the iPhone is factory-unlocked, in Germany it will cost you more than in Italy and still netlocked to T-Mobile. I bought my iPhone in Italy and have used that several times in Italy, UK, north america and even Chile. With prepaid cards - sometimes even international sims (and will end up spending much less). In Germany and Italy I even have pay-as-you-go data plans that allow me to purchase 500Mb (italy) or 1Gb (germany) for about 10 euros.

  Roberto

Re:European Model... (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360573)

If you read this, please reply to my email address.

I have been meaning to do what you were talking about. But it has been told to me that everytime I switch SIM I need to resynchronize with iTunes. Is this true? What are the problems?

Please email with an answer when you can, ok?

Re:European Model... (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359779)

I love how marketers in North America continue to push the idea of "European". We've all seen the infomercials where they state "This is a best selling product in Europe..." or "In Europe this retails for $60 but..."

The way that it really works in Europe is that you pay for your phone over the course of your contract. For example, if you want a phone that is $600 and you are on a 3 year agreement, you pay $16.67 as a line item on your monthly bill to pay for the cost of the phone. That's much better than the hidden subsidy cost that most (if not all) North American carriers provide.

So the same as everywhere else then.

Not exactly the same as everywhere else (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360405)

if you want a phone that is $600 and you are on a 3 year agreement, you pay $16.67 as a line item on your monthly bill to pay for the cost of the phone.

So the same as everywhere else then.

The difference is that the networks in mainland Europe are more likely to itemize this charge, and they don't bill it to people who bring their own phone.

Re:European Model... (4, Funny)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360163)

Well you know that Sham-Wow is made in Germany and Germans always make great stuff!

Re:European Model... (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360237)

Urm, no. There's lots of business models; for exmple, the one I'm on (in France) accumulates 'points' related to my consumption (monthly fees) then lets me upgrade to a new 'phone. Depending on thetype of phone and the number of points i have, I may have to add some cash.

Of course the catch is that I have to agree to keep my subscription for the next 12 months. So, really the same as getting a 'free' phone with a new line, (also very cmmon in Europe)

Re:European Model... (1)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360423)

I love how marketers in North America continue to push the idea of "European". We've all seen the infomercials where they state "This is a best selling product in Europe..." or "In Europe this retails for $60 but..."

Infomercials? Your example might as well be a Craigslist add.

The way that it really works in Europe is that you pay for your phone over the course of your contract. For example, if you want a phone that is $600 and you are on a 3 year agreement, you pay $16.67 as a line item on your monthly bill to pay for the cost of the phone. That's much better than the hidden subsidy cost that most (if not all) North American carriers provide.

This is what Comcast does for people who don't want to use their credit cards on modems or other equipment. Unless I am missing something I don't see anything different here. Also there are hidden cost in the European plans, they are just put in different places. An example might be subsidizing roaming plans by increasing other charges.

Re:European Model... (0, Troll)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360447)

Completely offtopic, but...
Have you seen those commercials with Kate Moss advertising some face make-up or something, and at the end, she presents the tagline "Get the London Look!"

Well, who the hell wants to pay for a freckled face and bad teeth?

Re:European Model... (2, Insightful)

jasonthedce (1412671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360455)

A line-item for the phone would be a great feature for us in the U.S. Currently, your phone is "subsidized" by the lock-in to the contract. Theoretically, this means that after the initial 2-year lock-in, your monthly price should go down as they aren't subsidizing the phone anymore. In reality, of course, the price stays the same and they keep the difference as added profit. Or, you can take your existing phone into another contract and have your already paid-for phone subsidized again.

So it's true (4, Funny)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359375)

The contracts WERE in order to subsidize the cost of the phone... and the whole time I thought it was so they could lock me in and deliver shitty service. But seeing that the phone is $400 more without a contract pretty much proves what the cell phone companies have been saying all along.

Re:So it's true (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359585)

I"m wondering when the NEW iPhone will come out? Still rumored to be in June?

I wonder how much that will be.

Or, are they maybe trying to sell the current phones they have on stock out now, and this is a ploy to sell them faster?

Re:So it's true (-1, Flamebait)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359657)

I don't know why they are so quick to push out new iPhones. Is it because they know that people will buy anything with the Apple logo? It reminds me of the song by Jello Biafra and the Melvins, "Those Dumb Punk Kids (Will Buy Anything) [wikipedia.org] ."

Re:So it's true (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360317)

"I don't know why they are so quick to push out new iPhones. "

Well, this new iPhone hardware is rumored to have much greater processing power, larger memory (32G?), and I think about double the network speed of the current 3G phone.

And upgrading hardware on about any tech gadget these days, is common....annual upgrades are pretty much the norm, lest you get stale and lose customers to the next..

....OOH...Shiny!! I want one of th.....

Re:So it's true (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359705)

The next 'update' to the iPhone will be software and not hardware.

Re:So it's true (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360165)

OS 3.0 has already been announced and will be available for the first and second gen iPhones (Second gen upgrade for free, first gen costs $10 I believe). However, the 3rd Generation iPhone is slated to include support for 7.2Mbit 3G speeds (2x the current one) along with a number of other upgrades (that they haven't officially announced, but there are leaks on url:http://macrumors.com and other such sites.

So no, it's not completely software. Because if it was, no one would buy a new phone they'd just get the upgrade from iTunes and move on... it being free and all.

Re:So it's true (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360197)

Rumor is there will be hardware to go along with it. The biggest change could be the addition HDSPA to get the 3g data rates up to 7.2Mbps

Re:So it's true (1)

acidrainx (806006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360203)

And how do you know that? Yes they've announced the software updates, but they haven't denied nor confirmed that there will be a hardware upgrade this summer.

Personally I'm holding out for the next hardware upgrade. I have an iPod Touch and I love it, but the CPU is just too slow to make rendering rich web pages an enjoyable experience.

clearing out inventory without hurting pricing (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360251)

Or, are they maybe trying to sell the current phones they have on stock out now, and this is a ploy to sell them faster?

Yup. I bought a 2G 8GB'er from AT&T back when they were selling "refurbished" units. Barely a few months later, the 3G came out.

"Refurbished" goods are a nice little pricing ploy used by a lot of consumer electronics companies. First, they get to sell to a different market- ie people who don't buy new things or have a low 'budget'. Second, they get to clear out old inventory, without hurting their price point; if they sell current iPhones at a cheaper price, the next iPhone will be "more expensive", even if it is the same price the previous model was when it was first released. Last but not least, consumer expectations on product reliability and support are lower on refurbished goods.

Re:So it's true (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359741)

yeah but you get penalized at the same rate when you get the cheapest brick phone they sell.

Re:So it's true (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360591)

Not really. I don't know about other providers, but this is how it works with Sprint: when your contract is up (or you are signing up for a new contract), you get either a $150 or a $200 credit (aka "instant savings"), depending on the phone you want. The "cheapest brick phone," as you put it, really costs $150, so if you get one, you end up paying $0 for your phone. If the phone is more expensive, you end up paying the difference. The Rumor2 by LG is $250. They give you the $150 service credit on that phone, so the net cost is $100. (They happen to have a mail-in rebate on that phone right now, so the end cost to you is $50 after the $50 mail-in rebate).

Obviously what happens here is that the $150 credit people end up subsidizing the $200 credit people by $50.

Optionally, on renewing, instead of taking the phone, you can have that same $150 applied to your bill.

So, no, you don't really get penalized at the same rate.

Re:So it's true (5, Informative)

ausekilis (1513635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359869)

Lets do a little math with AT&T's contract [att.com]
  • $36 activation fee for each new line
  • $175 early termination fee of contract
  • $199 8G iPhone w/2yr contract
  • $411 to get an iPhone via broken contract

Or I could spend $599 for one without a contract, and still give AT&T a boatload of money.

How exactly is this a good deal?

Re:So it's true (5, Insightful)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360027)

See, AT&T (and many other carriers) count on the fact that most of the general public has difficulty doing simple arithmetic. When most people are standing in the store holding the shiny new phone, they just can't (or don't care to) add.

--Kimball
http://www.incredicode.com/velocity.html [incredicode.com]

Re:So it's true (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360079)

Because that phone will still be SIM-locked to AT&T?

Re:So it's true (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360333)

I heard you have to give the phone back if you break the contract within so many months of purchase.

Re:So it's true (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360611)

Even if true, I don't see how they could enforce that.

Re:So it's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360365)

Lets do a little math with AT&T's contract [att.com]

  • $36 activation fee for each new line
  • $175 early termination fee of contract
  • $199 8G iPhone w/2yr contract
  • $411 to get an iPhone via broken contract

Or I could spend $599 for one without a contract, and still give AT&T a boatload of money.

How exactly is this a good deal?

Because you aren't hurting your credit, and changes of another phone carrier doing business with you by breaking a contract.

Re:So it's true (2, Interesting)

galay (766813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360443)

Believe it or not, a lot of people have a big phobia with contracts. Since the first day of iPhone 3G launch, I have explained to countless people that an iPhone can be bought without a contract. They will be all excited and ask me how this can be done. As soon as I explain to them that "easy, just activate a new line and terminate the contract. It'll cost you..." their face instantly frowns as soon as they hear the word terminate without me even getting to the total net cost.

Re:So it's true--NOT AT ALL! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360341)

But seeing that the phone is $400 more without a contract pretty much proves what the cell phone companies have been saying all along.

Not at all! All that the $400 higher price for the unlocked iPhone is proving is that Apple is still charging a premium price for what they feel is a high-demand item without competition for as long as they can get away with it. Look at Apple's profit margins on the bare iPhone and you'll see that they could market it at a far lower price and still make plenty of dosh if they had the manufacturing capability (they don't) to produce that many more of them, and the support staff (they don't) to handle that many additional new customers.

Remember that the iPhone itself isn't the only profit that Apple makes from this device. In addition to kickbacks from AT&T on the contracts, they collect a hefty percentage from all sales from both the Apps Store and iTMS. More iPhones out there means more sales from all these channels as well.

Apple just prefers to screw you in every way possible, and will continue to do so as long as fanbois buy the line: "We have to charge more so that we can continue to bring all these wonderful devices to you."

Re:So it's true--NOT AT ALL! (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360561)

OMG they try to make a profit on a popular item? How dare they. They should hire you immediately to teach them that their responsibility as a company is to satisfy your poorly explained whims.

It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359469)

Well, yes, they *can* give them away in Japan. The problem is that giving them away is the only way to reduce inventory.

The iPhone only seems to be a hit here in the US. Everywhere else it has been a middling failure. Sure, the first rush to get the phones gave the impression of huge demand, but after the fanboys got their satisfaction, the numbers went right back down.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple gave up on the iPhone in the next couple years and instead focused on producing a better iPod touch.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359715)

I think you are right about the iPod touch. In fact, I can see the iPod touch becoming the next PDA that sees wide scale adoption. I know of lots of people who don't want an AT&T contract that use an iPod touch as a PDA and portable internet tablet. I won't, but that is because I don't want to use iTunes,

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360351)

Yes, once we have wide-scale, open access WiFi. And since all signs point to that, I agree. Personally, I would much rather have a telemetry-enabled PDA with the slick iPod Touch interface than a Palm anything. (Rosie palm, hairy palm, whatever.)

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359873)

Well, yes, they *can* give them away in Japan. The problem is that giving them away is the only way to reduce inventory.

Got a source or a link for the low sales numbers? My impression is that it's selling rather well in Japan.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359947)

Is the Wall Street Journal authoritative enough?
http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB122143317323034023-lMyQjAxMDI4MjExNTQxMzUzWj.html [wsj.com]

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

iamflimflam1 (1369141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360051)

An article from 6 months ago?

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360099)

You're right. It is definitely possible that they have been able to move a lot of iPhone inventory since they started giving the phone away for free.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10172786-37.html [cnet.com]

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360143)

I prefer this report [appleinsider.com] , which says a lot more than the Wall Street Journal.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (5, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360075)

Low iphone sales in Japan is FUD to which the blogosphere and the WSJ caught on. In fact, Japan ranks second in iphone sales [techcrunch.com] . Of course the U.S. is where the majority of sales are, but the idea that iphones aren't selling in Japan is the result of somebody trying to manipulate Apple's stock price. It's all exposed here [appleinsider.com] .

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

3247 (161794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359881)

No way.

It just makes sense to combine a music player and a phone into one product. A phone already has most of the hardware required, you just have to add a headphone jack and a bit more memory (which is getting cheaper and cheaper).

The iPod Touch is just the starter drug leading to an iPhone. You'll miss the mobile Internet pretty soon.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360507)

It just makes sense to combine a music player and a phone into one product.

Then why hasn't another smart phone that can play MP3, M4A, or WMA music taken off the way the iPhone did?

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360541)

Not at all. I have an iPod touch. Having owned it for the better part of a year, I would say for certain I would never want it as my phone (certainly not the iPhone). I'm around wireless access points enough that 3G would just slow everything down, and I'd have to pay 40$ more than I pay now for the privilege of something I don't need on a terrible AT&T network.

The iPod touch is a decent media player. Much better organization accessibility of Music than my phone in reality, although my phone can hold 8 gigs of music too, it can't play video though.

My current phone is the LG EnV2, which I love because it's small and has great call quality, and a physical keyboard.

I don't mind carrying both at the same time, either.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

Marriedman (1269406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359931)

I don't know why this was modded as Troll. What the parent said is true. The iPhone is not a success overseas.

I have a several friends who own the phones, they all say that they are "okay". The G1 though is all I hear about nowadays.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360085)

o.O You've heard about the G1 somewhere other than slashdot? Wow.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

iamflimflam1 (1369141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359943)

Do you have some sales figures to back this up?

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360481)

Do you?

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360055)

I think you're buying into too much news hype about how much of a failure it is. Most of the articles out there are just trying to generate ad revenue by being controversial. Finally, I can assure you that the iPhone is very very successful here in Belgium â" a quick look around my office shows that in a techy crowd it has about an 80% market share. In a non techy crowd I couldn't give any kind of numbers, but it's still fairly prominent.

Re:It's funny. In Japan, they can't give them away (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360171)

I know Belgium isn't a very big country, but do you really think that the people in your office constitute a statistical sample?

can I just pop the card out of my KRZR into this? (1, Interesting)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359483)

And it will then "just work" with T-Mobile?

Re:can I just pop the card out of my KRZR into thi (3, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359595)

Unfortunately, you pay "full" price, but the phone is still locked to AT&T. Dumb move in my mind, but maybe that is what we will end up seeing in another month.

Re:can I just pop the card out of my KRZR into thi (3, Informative)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359619)

T-Mobile and ATT use different frequencies for 3G. T-Mobile uses 1700/2100, ATT uses 850 and 1900. You can connectivity with EDGE but you won't be able to do 3G.

Anyway, just because it's contract free doesn't mean the phone is unlocked. It probably still has the ATT SIM card restriction in place.

Re:can I just pop the card out of my KRZR into thi (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359685)

Mostly. AT&T had to enhance their network slightly to implement features like Visual Voicemail. I expect most normal features of a cell phone would work. Some of the smart phone features may or may not work.

Re:can I just pop the card out of my KRZR into thi (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359691)

Apple products "just work".

It isn't their fault that the MOs use different bands. Apple can't be held at fault for not supporting multiple bands.

Okay... (2, Interesting)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359497)

Does it work with other carriers? They may sell it but they never said it will work with other carriers.

Re:Okay... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27359569)

It is still locked to AT&T - so this sounds to me like one more attempt to fool the masses.

Seriously, who would want to buy a $599 *phone* that only works with one carrier when you can buy the same fxxking phone for $199 when in both cases you have to pay AT&T monthly fees just to use it.

WTF? Some one please explain how this all makes sense.

Re:Okay... (2, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360109)

It is still locked to AT&T - so this sounds to me like one more attempt to fool the masses.

Seriously, who would want to buy a $599 *phone* that only works with one carrier when you can buy the same fxxking phone for $199 when in both cases you have to pay AT&T monthly fees just to use it.

WTF? Some one please explain how this all makes sense.

You're not locked into a contract. So when, not if, AT&T treats you like shit, you can leave.

But I agree with you, you're stuck either way if you really are married to the idea of using the iPhone.

What other carriers? :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360501)

The only other GSM-style carrier in US is T-mobile. Which has limited coverage and relatively poor service quality.
It's not like getting an unlocked iPhone in US opens limitless possibilities. There is Coke and there is Pepsi. I just don't see a point.

But why *must* I have an iPhone? (4, Funny)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359515)

To me, this [cellphones.ca] product from Samsung is better in every way compared to the latest iphone.

Re:But why *must* I have an iPhone? (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359665)

Much lower screen rez, 240x440 versus 320x480. Also, the screen isn't multitouch and I've seen many phones with a Flash UI, and they're all uniformly miserable. No app store...

Honestly, it looks more like they were trying to rip off the Storm than the iPhone.

Re:But why *must* I have an iPhone? (3, Interesting)

ByrneArena (848313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359819)

My daughter has that samsung. That phone isn't in the same ballpark as the iPhone... in fact I am not sure it is in the same sport.

Re:But why *must* I have an iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27359865)

Except for the lack of app store that has 25,000 apps.. :-)

Re:But why *must* I have an iPhone? (5, Insightful)

akozakie (633875) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360177)

O-kay... Now WHY is parent modded as funny? Fanboy mods probably think that any comment suggesting that some product is better than iPhone must be tongue-in-cheek (with the possible exception of Android).

Just like iPod never was the perfect MP3 player, iPhone is not and never will be the perfect phone. Sure, for many users, including a couple of my friends, the iPhone is great and nothing comes close, but "many" isn't the same as "all".

I played a bit with the iPhone. It's fun. It's well designed. It's not for me. I definitely wouldn't exchange my Nokia E61i for it, and that's an old phone now, better ones are available. If I had a choice - get iPhone for free or buy E61, E71, or something like that - I'd reach for my wallet. For me it's far more functional.

For example - I don't really like touchscreen interfaces, especially with small (<10") screens, multitouch doesn't change this. Typing an SMS or working with SSH is so much faster on a full qwerty keyboard, after you get used to it you can actually touch-type with your thumbs.

Still, I read articles in newspapers and feel that I'm expected to want an iPhone. Even here on /. it's the same thing - it seems that I should want one. So many interesting designs on the market, but only iPhone and Android seem to get any attention.

So, the parent was right in both the title and the comment. The iPhone is not for everyone and it is a bit irritating to see it mentioned everywhere and get weird looks from iPhone owners when they show it to you and you say "It's nice, but I prefer something else".

Unless of course I missed the joke?

Jail-breaking (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359525)

Do you still have to jail-break the phone yourself to use on another GSM carrier? If the phone is still locked into AT&T, then you aren't really gaining much here.

If (and this is a big if), on the other hand, it was a fully-unlocked iPhone, that could operate on any GSM carrier straight out of the box, then it might be worth the money. After all, what warranty obligations does Apple have for a hacked iPhone from the current lots? My guess would be none.

Re:Jail-breaking (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359713)

Lets define our terms:

  • "Jailbreaking" is performing a procedure so that you can run any executable you wish, and not just those permitted by the App store.
  • "unlocking" is performing a procedure so that you can use the phone with a different carrier.

This story would appear to be an instance of the second thing.

Re:Jail-breaking (1)

rmav (1149097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359827)

Do you still have to jail-break the phone yourself to use on another GSM carrier?

No, there are solutions to use other carriers that do not involve jailbreaking (such as special cards that fit between the actual sim and the iphone electronics).

But, yes, the phone will be locked to AT&T.

Roberto

What carrier? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360557)

Do you still have to jail-break the phone yourself to use on another GSM carrier?

In the United States, which other major GSM carriers are there? Do speeds and coverage on T-Mobile come near AT&T's?

Doesn't sound like a deal if it's still AT&T o (0, Troll)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359587)

Doesn't sound like there is any advantage to doing it this way, since you still have to use it with AT&T. I'd rather amortize some of the phone cost over the contract.

I won my iPhone in a contest, and that's the only reason I still have it, I didn't pay for it. The thing is a hamstrung, nerfed piece of junk thanks to Apple's very restrictive development and usage policies. I want something I can tether, and something that I can run apps in the background with, something I can use as a USB drive, etc. etc. Not the right thing for a geek. It's fine for the secretary crowd. Also, the original one I had died, and they replaced it for free, good on apple for that. Had they charged I wouldn't have bothered. It's an intriguing technology demonstration, but not very useful.

Re:Doesn't sound like a deal if it's still AT& (2, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359953)

Since you did win it in a contest, you know that you could abandon it now at no cost to you and just use what you'd prefer, a Nokia, Blackberry, whatever. But it would appear that you get enough use out of this "hamstrung, nerfed piece of junk," (and Apple's been providing pretty decent support to you on it) that you haven't gotten rid of it.

No snark, but how bad could the thing possibly be if you haven't replaced it? I have known some pieces of junk in my time... I do not think this term means what you think it means.

Re:Doesn't sound like a deal if it's still AT& (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360495)

C'mon, are you really trying to deliberately move the bar to create your own virtual logical fallacy? "You call it junk, but you're still using it, so you must be lying!"

A more reasonable, less flamebait analysis would be "It's junk, but not such bad junk* that you want to throw it away as long as you didn't pay for it... and you would have to pay for its replacement."

*Credit where credit is due, of course.

Re:Doesn't sound like a deal if it's still AT& (1)

dasunst3r (947970) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360189)

I think it's useful for those who broke or lost their iPhones. Like all Apple stuff, it'll cost you an arm and a leg, so you'd do darn well to take darn good care of it.

Pointless... (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359613)

Its cheaper to buy the phone and break the contract if you want a "no contract" iPhone, as its only $400 or so that way.

only $599 (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359689)

This is only $100 more than the original phone costs. I generally don't agree that Apple has excessive profit margins, but this seems to indicate that Apple was almost selling the original phone at scalper's prices. I can't imagine that production costs have fallen so much the original couldn't have been sold, with contract, at a much lower price point.

In any case, I hope this will make all the people shut up about having to buy a contract. The iPhone is not the second coming, and if one does not want to have an ATT contract, then don't buy an iPhone. I mean, how lame does one have to be to need such a superficial level of validation to actually need a certain phone. But I am sure some people who considered themselves entitled to such expensive toys will complain about the price instead of buying a cheaper phone and finding self worth through other means.

Worth it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27359697)

I don't understand how they can charge so much for these when I can get an ipod touch for $200. iPod Touch + Blackberry curve is a winning combination. Better email/messaging experience on the BB and web browsing for emergencies. If I'm in a hotspot I use the itouch. Plus the touch is much sleeker and nicer than the iphone, with a more powerful processor.

I just don't get it. This is terribly overpriced, just for the addition of a cell radio?

Re:Worth it? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360141)

But...but...but...it's Apple! Don't you see?! It's APPLE!

Hardware and plans separately, don't think so ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27359729)

Here in France, the G1 is sold 99â with contract, 400â without. I don't think we can really say that it is handled "separately".

There's no excuse for locked phones (3, Insightful)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359809)

Yes, the cost is subsidized over the length of the contract but that's an excuse for a locked phone, not a reason.

If you sign a contract to pay $40 per month for 2 years and walk away with a free phone, it don't matter if you use it or not, or switch provider or not.....you STILL have to pay the $40 per month you agreed to, with all the usual debt collection / court hassles for defaulting.

If you switch carriers and set up a separate contract with a separate sim card you need to pay for that in ADDITION to the contract you signed. Not only that, but your $40 per month contract would include free minutes / SMS as part of the deal which you wouldn't use. The propaganda they use would have you believe that if you switched the sim card and started using another carrier the contract you signed would be void and they wouldn't get paid. This is bullshit, and they need to be called on it.

The only reasons I can think that you'd want to pay for both at the same time is if you either object morally to the contract company (in this case AT&T, or Apple's iPhone partner in the UK O2) or if you don't get a strong enough reception from them. You may have a long term deal through your employer, or even a number you've been using for a long time that all your contacts know....why should you be forced to change? Yes you can often bring your old number to the new phone but it's not the point.

Locking you in is inexcusable. An unlocked phone would mean they have to actually compete to keep you. The point here is that a locked phone to enforce at least the cost of the phone on a contract is a red herring. It's even more of an insult to have a pre-pay phone locked to a carrier.

Personally I live in an area where O2 is the only constant strong reception, so my carrier is dictated by signal strength. I refuse to buy any locked phone, even if it is locked to O2.

Mobile phones should ALL be unlocked, sold as phones on their own at full price, or with a contract with the provider of your choice, with a selection of deals / prices / free stuff on offer, with an optional cheaper rate per month by buying the phone at the start or a subsidy at a higher rate per month. This is not rocket science.

$100 for an extra 8GB? (2, Insightful)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359811)

Come on apple we all know it's just a freaking HCSD card in there and they do not cost that much.

Re:$100 for an extra 8GB? (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360565)

Come on apple we all know it's just a freaking HCSD card in there and they do not cost that much.

Do you have any idea how much elves and pixie dust cost these days? It's not like you can just pick them off trees, you know.

Hey, Malda (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27359859)

Are you gonna fix the fucking broken Comments Threshold GUI anytime soon, you no-talent hack?

Here in Canada (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359899)

Your only choice is to be with Rogers (nevermind Fido, they got bought by Rogers). Whatever new iPhone comes out and even if it were free, the monthly bill from Rogers is too expensive and too limited.

I bet the iPod touch outsells the iPhone by a bigger margin than in the USA because of this.

Re:Here in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360127)

"I bet the iPod touch outsells the iPhone by a bigger margin than in the USA because of this."

You would be wrong. People would rather pay $199+contract for an 8G iPhone than $229 for an 8G iPod Touch. And the numbers Apple has seems to prove this, of course their marketing campaign certainly biases it towards the iPhone over the iPod Touch. Also some people would rather get an iPhone because it's easier to hack currently than the touch.

Re:Here in Canada (2, Interesting)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360329)

Pay as you go, my friend... pay as you go.

I as well have a cellphone (albeit not an iphone... I hate them, personally) and am on the Rogers network. However, I just bought my phone outright from Wireless Wave (I'm sure anywhere that sells cellphones, you can get it non-contract), popped in my SIM card from my old POS nonworking phone, and off I went. I don't use it much, so I'm putting $15 a month on it tops. Helluva lot cheaper than any plan. Downside is I don't have voicemail and maybe some of the other extras, but I can text, send, and receive calls, so it's plenty good enough for my phone usage.

Screw plans if you don't use your phone a great amount.

Re:Here in Canada (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360575)

I plan on getting a pre-paid Virgin when I can afford it. Comes out at around 8$CAD per month and I'm not even sure I'll use all the minutes for the year.

Wow. Are we still this rich? (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27359969)

It's a phone. I understand the iPhone is a cool toy. I've used one a lot that a friend has. Games are cool, video player is cool. But he's paying over $2000 for the phone and two years of service.

Wow.

My phone is from Net 10. I paid $60. It's decent, does what a phone should and has IM/SMS and can send/recv photos.

I pay $15/MO. That is $360, after taxes, for 2 years of service and 150 minutes a month. 10c a minute for more minutes, 5c for messages.

As much as I like gadgets, I just can't imagine paying $90/MO for the iPhone. I'd much rather put that money towards my mortgage. Am I alone in this thinking?

Re:Wow. Are we still this rich? (3, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360551)

It's all relative. My phone was $6.50 refurbished from Virgin. I pay $90 pre-paid each November for a year of service. That's $186.50 for 2 years of service at about 75 minutes a month.

As much as as I like gadgets, I just can't imagine paying $15/MO for a phone. I'd much rather put that money towards blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the blackjack. Ah, screw the whole thing.

and do what with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360005)

I don't understand what the point is. What are you going to do with your no-contract iPhone? Pay AT&T a monthly fee to use it on their service? Do they charge you less since they aren't subsidizing the phone?

Sounds good (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360059)

I'm still predicting and hoping that the iPhone will become more open as time goes on. I doubt they really wanted to be tied to a single carrier in the first place, but they had to make some deal with someone to get their foot in the door of a pretty closed-off industry. I suspect that some of the closed-off nature of the iPhone's development is a combination of deals that they have with AT&T and a tendency toward wanting to control a new product until it's more clear where things are going.

Personally, I'd love to see the iPhone eventually be a product that you buy outright, have reliable high-speed coast-to-coast wireless access, and your own choice of VoIP services. I bet that sort of thing would be appealing to Apple, too, if anyone were actually offering high-speed wireless dumb-pipe service.

Meh (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360151)

Maybe I need to turn in my geek card, but all I expect from a phone is the ability to communicate by voice and very occasional text messages. I'll stick with an el-cheapo cell.

iPhone vs. iPod Touch costs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360243)

I got a 16gig iPod Touch for $300. Does it really cost another $400 to add the cellphone components, camera, and mic? Really?? I have my doubts.

AT&T's Real Problem is that they Cheat! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360249)

AT&T's real problem is:

They can't compete on 3G performance.
They can't compete on 3G coverage for all users.
They can't compete on price.

So they buy off Apple and force people to use a carrier that they wouldn't have chosen otherwise (Apple is scum for going along with this), on a data plan they wouldn't have selected, because AT&T can't win without cheating. So much for capitalism and may the best company win on the prices and performance.

mod uP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360383)

Rogers Canada Worse Than AT&T (3, Informative)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360417)

For all those Americans who think that AT&T offers a lousy deal, look to the Great White North:

Mandatory 3 year contract. There's no option for an unlocked phone or a shorter contract.

$60 + sales tax for 500 Mb
$75 + sales tax for 1 Gb

Pretty lousy, eh? There's not even an option for an unlimited plan. Rogers had a temporary 6 Gb plan for early adopters that's no longer available.

How does this help? (1)

Beer is good (1415089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27360529)

I'm an AT&T customer. I looked at my billing options and upgrade options, and nowhere did I find a pay-as-you-go plan or an I-already-own-a-phone plan that was less expensive than the plan I am already on. Plus if I actually want to use all the iphone's features I would have to pay an additional $30/month for data. How does owning this phone outright help me in any way? I can't change carriers or get a reduced monthly fee.

Subsidy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27360571)

I thought the iPhone was being sold without a subsidy already, so by saying you are paying a premium is actually an even worse deal than it is already.

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