Friday, July 11, 2008

The new iPhone price increase

I'm watching buyers lined up to be the first to buy the new Apple iPhone here on Day One. To this group, price is no object. But after the rush is over, a number of people will be looking at upgrading to the new, "cheaper" iPhone. But, like we always say, do the math.

The iPhone's US carrier, AT&T, will be charging more each month for the new iPhone, probably at least $480 over a 2 -year contract. Look completely past the purchase price and determine if the cost over time still works for you. In our opinion, the "new" iPhone isn't that much of an upgrade over the old, and few AT&T markets have 3G available, yet. Also, the first day introduction of the phone came up with a significant problem: the phones would not sync with iTunes at the stores. Just that fact that an iTunes account is required gives me pause to reconsider.

While waiting for the dust to settle, check out the iPhone competitors. Some of these phone models come with more economical plans, and many of them have cool features that are worthy of your consideration. Some also come with faster networks. AT&T's 3G network has a ways to go before it's available in a significant number of markets.

4 comments:

Ian said...

As to the increase, the raw price increase over a 2-year contract, data-plan-wise, is $40. Then again you're dealing with taxes and fees on top of that, so add another $48, which cancels out the lower sales tax on the new iPhones versus the old ones, and then some.

Plus there's no included SMS on the new plan. Add $5 a month for two years and that's another $120 right there. Plus any percent taxes on SMS.

Oh, and for the same $30 over a voice plan you pay on AT&T, you could get unlimited data, messaging, navigation, radio, cellular TV and walkie talkie on Sprint. The Samsung Instinct, whose browser isn't quite as good as the iPhone's but is still passable, and whose other features may well be good tradeoffs vs. the iPhone, is $130 plus whatever you pay for a memory card. Also known as 8GB for under $200 :)

That's the best deal, though the Instinct's pressure-based touch screen isn't as elegant as the iPhone's capacitative-touch unit (a true touch-screen where no stylus may be used). On other carriers you've got Verizon's LG Dare and, to some extent, the HTC Touch on pretty much everyone (VZW, Alltel and Sprint for CDMA, T-Mobile if you get it unlocked on GSM).

The iPhone is certainly original and trendsetting, but the 3G model is much, much less so (adding two technologies, rather halfheartedly, that other phones have had for quite some time) and with the additional overall price I'm keeping my unlocked first-gen 8GB iPhone. I will, however, upgrade to software version 2.0 as soon as a jailbreak comes out for it. Provided my phone stays unlocked, that is.

Oh, and my iPhone goes faster than the 3G one...I just WiFi tether to the HTC Mogul I always carry around. Which is sort of an iPhone-killer itself, particularly if you have Skyfire (the web browser) on it.

Bill Radio said...

Yes, not to be misleading, the actual total price of the new iPhone plus service isn't all that much more. Several manufacturers are aiming for the iPhone and many come close, and sometimes a little better in some areas: The Samsung Instinct & Omnia, HTC's Diamond, Nokia's N95 and the Treo 750. But these aren't necessarily cheaper. The biggest news is that owners of older iPhones have less of a reason to jump into an "upgrade."

Bill Radio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The problem with the iFone competitors is that no one offers a slim phone with the same screen size. That's the whole point of an iFone.

RG