Friday, September 07, 2007

Fools, All Of You

I'm all about converged devices. I like that my cell phone has a digital camera (that doubles as a video camera) and an MP3 player built into it. Converged business devices, such as the Blackberry and Palm Treo devices, are almost a requirement for certain business and IT functions. But I still don't get the iPhone.

I categorize the iPhone as a converged entertainment device. Rather than being a phone with cool multimedia functions, I view it as a multimedia device with phone functions. And the way it appears that Apple has crippled the expansion and customization of the device, not a very good one. I just cannot fathom why this device is worth $599. I'd rather pay $249 for an iPod (or some other multimedia device) and stick with my $80 cell phone that's going to have a crapped-out battery and be utterly obsolete in two years. By then, I'll want to replace it with another $80 phone that has twice the features and I'll probably still be using the iPod (unless it gets orphaned by my OS like my RCA Lyra 2780... Grrrrr).

But that's not why I'm here, really. It's about Apple's betrayal a couple of days ago.

In case you didn't hear, Apple announced a couple of days ago, after only 66 days on the market, that the price of the iPhone would drop $200 to $399. Frankly, I think you're still foolish if you buy one at $399 but if you sat in line on the first day and paid $599 for one, you're as foolish as those that paid over $1,000 for a PlayStation 2 on eBay. It's just not worth it.

But that's still not why I'm writing this. Apple appears to have alienated not only early adopters but also AT&T, it's partner in this mind-bogglingly successful adventure.

According to a blog over at, "the only notice employees on the front line [at AT&T] received was an internal email and a text message -- and they apparently got the news shortly before the announcement. Even though Apple is known for shrouding its pricing in secrecy, not giving AT&T an adequate amount of time to prepare is just bad business -- both for a company that is tasked with scrambling to keep up and its customers who end up erroneously directing their ire towards the wireless provider. Paired with how Apple has also announced the Wi-Fi iTunes store and the introduction of its own ringtone platform, one can't help but notice how AT&T and its customers seem to be getting the short end of the stick repeatedly."

Watch it, Apple. AT&T is just as big as, if not bigger than, you are and they've been playing their game a whole lot longer than you have. Piss them off and you're liable to wake a sleeping tiger. Do that and you might just see all of your iPhone success go right down the toilet. Imagine what would happen if AT&T - the service your phone is locked into - suddenly decided to make iPhones persona non-gratta on their network. You'd have no more market for your phone and a bunch of orphaned users who would remember the sting of your actions for a long time to come.

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