As a follow up to my previous rant, here’s what I think about the
iPhone 5 new iPhone (still hate the name).
It’s freaking awesome.
I stayed up until 1 AM on Friday to order the darn thing. I sold my iPhone 4 two days earlier. I’m phone less. And oh boy, I can’t wait to get my hands on the new one.
The thing is, Apple isn’t playing the same game as the rest of the industry. They’re not trying to flood the market with dozens of models in hoping one model might stick. They’re not trying to appease carriers and give them some random handset just to lock customers in for 2 years. What they’re trying to do is release moderate, thoughtful upgrades annually but provide continual value through software updates and other services. Why? So they don’t alienate customers.
People get locked into what’s generally a 2 year contract when they buy a new phone. Android users are frequently upset when a phone they just purchased is no longer the latest-and-greatest 3 months after they bought their phone. They then have a bare minimum of 15 months (for those carriers that do 18 month early upgrade programs) to live with an “outdated” phone. Apple gives people 12 months before releasing a new device. But while each iPhone is better than the last, they do it in a way that doesn’t make you curse them and instantly hate your phone because the new one is so mind blowingly better. Reaction is generally, “Well, that’s pretty cool. It’d be nice to have, but I still like the I got now.”
The real magic comes in when your 2 year contract nears its expiry. Take two good/moderate updates and combine them together and you suddenly have quite the massive reasons to fork over the cash and sign away 2 more years of your life to a carrier to get. Could you guess where I am now if I hadn’t have mentioned it earlier?
Yep, I just sold my 2 year old iPhone 4 and I’m upgrading to a 5 on day one. Why? Because it’s world of a difference compared to the 4. They say it’s 2x as fast as the 4S in CPU and graphics. The 4S was something like 2x CPU and 7x graphics performance. So I’m getting a 4x CPU and 14x graphics upgrade. The minuscule camera updates? I’m still blown away every time I see a 4S image compared to one from my 4 camera. The 5’s will be freaking amazing. Plus I’ll get Siri which I hadn’t had before. 4G data? Yep, I had lowly 3G, not even the “FauxG” 4G of the 4S.
I guarantee 4 to 5 will be like night to day. I’m counting down the hours until I get it in hand. All you haters can hate, but trust me when I say there are many reasons 2 million pre-orders were sold on the first day and it’s not because 2 million people are blind. It really is just that awesome.
If a cell phone carrier is going to make you sign a multi-year contract to sell you a phone that’s subsidized so they can guarantee they will make up for the subsidy and then make a profit and all of this is achieved through a monthly payment through the term of the contract and enforced by the contract, including stiff penalties for breaking it like “early termination fees,” why in the world should we still be dealing with phones locked to a particular carrier?
This makes no sense to me.
AT&T, you’re getting my money anyway. I’m buying the phone so I own it. You’re making up the part that you put towards my purchase by charging me an arm and a leg each month (good thing they magically regenerate) for all kinds of service that I don’t even use all the way for fear of having to give you my first born son that month, too. I don’t use all the minutes and data I pay for. You’re kind enough to “rollover” my minutes for a while just in case I need them, but you won’t do that for data. So you’re making bank off me. And millions others just like me.
Why won’t you let me take the phone that I’ve purchased with my blood, sweat, and tears and sell it to some less fortunate Joe Shmoe on another network that the phone is compatible on and let me sign my life over to you again in indentured servitude for another 2 years just so I can have another new phone?
I really want to push and argue for unlocked from day 1 when I walk out of the store, but I can understand a small part of the business reasoning behind that. I mean, what’s to stop someone from signing up for a new contract every month and money is lost?
Ah, but wait now. Anyone ever experienced those “early termination fees” I alluded to? They’re deviously concocted to take advantage of just these situations. Sign a contract and you’re expected to live out the remainder of your days (contract period) paying them fistfuls of money every other paycheck. Decide you want to be liberated? Fork over the money they paid to subsidize your phone you purchased (sometimes even more than that). Want to renew your contract before you die? Sure thing. Just pay another couple fees that they won’t tell you really add up to the majority of what’s left that you “owe” them and they’ll “let you” start the vicious cycle again—with another contract, of course.
So if anything and everything is contingent on the contract they make you sign with blood from your freshly pricked finger, a contract which defines your subsequent obligations and public flogging and humiliation you must endure if you don’t fulfill them, why in the world will they NOT at least let me do whatever the crap I want with my dang phone?
If I want to sign a contract and pay their extortionist fees each full moon just so I can pay less up front for a handset, what do you care if I actually use the handset on your network or not? In fact, wouldn’t you prefer it if I didn’t? Then you would be getting money for free because I wouldn’t be using any of your precious spectrum and eating up bandwidth. Would it not be in your best interest to have as many customers do that as possible?
Also, think about all the money T-Mobile is raking in from the 1 million+ iPhone users they have that they didn’t have to pay a subsidy for. That’s what, average of $50 million per month that they get from just those users, more than $600 million per year. If AT&T sold 1 million iPhones that were unlocked that went directly to T-Mobile, at current rates that would be $90 million or so per month (nearly $1.1 billion per year) that they’d be getting. How is this not a no-brainer?
I really don’t understand this. But even if they were sold locked on contract, why can’t they just be automatically unlocked after 1 year into the contract after their money has been recouped, or at VERY least after the contract has been fulfilled. Please, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, everyone… make it happen! I promise you’ll get all sorts of money and your customer satisfaction will significantly improve. Well, maybe or maybe not. It would at least spur greater competition because then people could jump ship easier. I dunno. But I still think we should find out what would happen.