The iPhone 3G gets better and worse

Walter Mossberg has an excellent write up about the launch of the new iPhone 3G. He writes about the new features and some tests that he has been performing with it.

The iPhone gets better, it has improved functionality which include access to the 3G network, an improved operating system, synchronisation with corporate e-mail and calendars. It also comes with a new 3rd party developers software store.

I’ve written before about the iPhone and called it the worst mobile phone I ever used. Don’t get me wrong, it is the best handheld device I’ve ever used. But as a user, I’m not very font of the way I have to use to phone to make phone calls and type in SMS’es. These are basic functionalities for me, and I (even after a couple of months of usage) still make a lot of mistakes due to the interface. Mostly related to the combination of the touch screen with badly positioned interface elements leading to many mistakes.

I’m sure the new iPhone 3G will be a massive improvement over the old one. But the extras it provides are also making it a less attractive phone to me. While I have used the 3G capabilities of my previous phone, a Nokia N95, intensively, when I moved to the iPhone I found that not having access to 3G wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I was relieved however that my battery lasted much longer. The 3G capabilities of the iPhone make the battery drain much worse. And that sucks. Without battery life no mobile life so I usually prefer a phone to increase it’s capability there instead of decreasing it.

I am not happy of the iPhone camera either. It’s mediocre, the pictures are terrible compared to the N95 5 Mpixel camera. Taking pictures wherever I am, whenever I feel like it has become increasingly important to me. The quality of the iPhone camera doesn’t live up to the standards at all. 2 Mpixel camera’s are just not up to the task and it reduces the fun and value of the pictures taken.

The most hailed feature, it has become cheaper, is a total hoax. The iPhone may have become cheaper on paper, but it hasn’t become cheaper for a customer buying it. It comes with no choice in Operator (we call that a monopoly I believe), it can only be bought combined with a high tariff plan, and it’s improved 3G data capabilities will skyrocket the monthly fees customers will have to pay for. Let me buy the iPhone for $199 without having to sign up  for an operator I do not want, or a tariff plan to go with that and we will call it cheaper. Right now, all I see is a very cheap trick that will cost the customer a whole lot more money than the old iPhone did.

So the iPhone gets better and worse. I think for now I’ll stick to the old one and wait for a better offer. It will get there. The iPhone 3G isn’t that compelling to me when I take the extra costs it will bring me.

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6 Responses to The iPhone 3G gets better and worse

  1. What a refreshing view of the new iPhone, tinged with anti-hype negativity while being perfectly valid and agreeable.

    I agree about the camera, I was hoping for an improvement when Jobs announced the new 3G version.

  2. martial says:

    apple can’t win. The original iPhone was cheaper over the length of the contract and people moaned about the up front cost. Now its in line with what happens with pretty much every other smartphone and you are calling it a trick and a hoax. . Can’t have it both ways because the handset IS cheaper. You don’t compare the cost of two cars by how much the gas is, you do it by the up front cost.

  3. @Chris anti hype negativity😉 I just write what my personal experiences and thoughts are.

    @martial sorry, but costs in my opinion are the costs that I as a customer pay. I don’t give a F**K that Apple has reduced the costs of the handset if in teh end I pay more than ever for it. Let me buy the handset for the list price Apple quotes, not strings attached, and then I’m a happy customer. But that isn’t the case is it. So where is the lowered cost for me then?

  4. The tarriff plan is business as usual, nothing new there.
    Agree on the camera, apple needs to fix that.
    Battery drain on 3g… Hmmm.. Expecting too many miracles are we?

  5. Martial says:

    Alexander, you aren’t that naive to presume that the drop in handset price *isn’t* perceived as a benefit to the consumer? A $200 price drop up front for most people is a win, even if it is minimised by an extra outlay of $15 a month. $200 up front is a barrier to entry. $15 for those who can afford a $200 phone, is not.

  6. @martial, I’m not naive. I come from this business, worked for a Mobile Operator before, and know how it works. Of course it will feel cheaper to the mass. But lowering the barrier up front is compensated by an extended payment monthly. And that continues until you change to a new tariff plan. One way or another, at the end of 1 year the phone hasn’t become cheaper, but more expensive. The total lack of choice in different operators or tariff plans make it expensive too. Lowering the barrier will only get more people to use it that can’t really afford it in the first place. And they’ll pay for it by the end of the year. It’s their choice obviously, but you can’t say the iPhone has become cheaper. That only holds if I could actually buy just the iPhone.

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