With all the hoopla surrounding the Apple Iphone 3G, I took a look at the device which is available in Taiwan through Chunghwa Telephone company. But I was seriously dismayed and opted for my Nokia for a number of good reasons. The Apple iPhone promises so much in terms of customer benefits that I was surprised how poorly it stacked up against my Nokia phone.
1. Functionality: it’s crippled in many functions.
Everyone raves about the iPhone and how it looks. In reality, there are basic functions that any standard 3G phone can do that iPhone cannot. The iPhone in version 2 is still crippled by Apple in significant ways. There is no cut or paste function, no multi-media email function, no video function, it’s unable to multi-task with 3rd party apps in the background, SMS can’t be forwarded, no tethering either so you can surf from your notebook, no FM radio, no in-built flash… to mention the most obvious ones. That the iPhone is crippled is obvious (when many competitors can provide these services and functions), the real question is why.
2. Repairs: Can’t replace your battery yourself.
For most repairs, you have to return your phone to the manufacturer for repair. With Apple, you have to return your phone to them when you want to change the battery. This adds to the expense, you’re without a mobile phone for the time it’s away, and probably your data, too. Doubtless, replacing the battery will be more expensive, too, as Apple are the ONLY authorised reseller of batteries. Can you imagine Nokia, Sony, or Motorola requiring their phones to be returned to change the battery? The repairs alone for replacing the battery will be US$85, and they WILL erase all your data for you for free. Thanks, Apple. (oh, by the way, my Nokia battery is replaced by me WITHOUT any data loss)…
3. Tied one provider: And one only.
With my nokia phone, I’m able to go to any provider and purchase a mobile service. The typical deal with Apple is that there is one service provider who is authorised to sell telephone service in a particular market. But that company may not be the best service provider in your area, or even the most competitive. It’s likely that the competitor will provide less than stellar support as well.
4. Expansion slots: What are they for?
There are no expansion slots for additional memory: in other words, you can’t add a memory card with an extra 8GB or 16GB of memory. At a time, when even the humblest made in China phones come with memory slots for SD cards or minicards, Apple can’t even add one to the machine. But then Apple claim that they are doing it for the convenience of consumers. It’s really convenient NOT to be able to slip in an extra RAM card. Oh, yes. That’s right… you have to send it away to do any repairs. Good luck with that one!
5. Intransparent pricing: It sucks to be a customer.
When I went to the Apple Iphone website in Taiwan, I was greeted by a hugely confusing pricing table that included no less than three different pricing structures each with variations in the pricing. In fact, the iPhone 3G was quoted at over fifteen different price points on the same page. Amazing? Confusing? The irony: only two of those price points were cheaper than my Nokia phone. Oh, and each pricing plan required a different deposit.
It will cost you more, MUCH more than other phones… By my own calculations, it will cost a minimum of 32% to over 70% more on the first plan than my own service + phone package. The basic plans are more affordable, but the initial outlay is quite considerable. You are expected to outlay more than 2/3rd of the cost at purchase point.
6. Apps: Tight control by Apple?
Now Apple supporters will croon: but you can easily add apps from other missing functionality. And it’s true. But why should I have to suffer all of these software limitations when other devices can do all this and more, just as easily, more cheaply, and with less inconvenience for the customer, OUT OF THE BOX! Tell me. But worse, Apple will only permit certain programs on their system and will pull licenses or restrict software in the iPhone App Store that they deem unsuitable for their phone. If this were only for issue of safety and reliability, perhaps it would be less of a concern. But it’s not.
So, in reality, the Apple Iphone will cost you a lot more money than almost any other similarly powered device available today. It is behind the times in technical capability in a number of ways, too. And your tied in so many ways, it’s unbelievable that anybody would consider such a beast. So, save your money, save your hassle, buy a better phone than iPhone3G and tell Apple to do better ‘next time’.
So can anybody explain to me why people are queueing up to buy a black brick with a nice screen and a price that leads to serious sticker shock?