What People Are Saying
Here is what smartphone users around the country told eWEEK when asked if
they would consider buying the iPhone 3G S fairly soon.
Lew Smith Jr., a data center virtualization consultant with Interphase Systems in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., admitted, "I'm actually using a hacked original iPhone on T-Mobile's network. I didn't want to pay for the outrageous AT&T data fees to use an iPhone, and I couldn't terminate my contract early without paying $250."
Smith said it was cost-effective for him to buy a used iPhone on eBay. "I'll actually be taking this opportunity to upgrade to a 3G, assuming the eBay prices drop somewhat on the unlocked 3G's," he wrote.
"If I was an AT&T customer, I would not upgrade. If I'm going to upgrade, I want something larger than what I have today (if I have an 8GB iPhone, I probably want to get at least a 16GB iPhone). But if I have a 16GB iPhone, I would want a 32GB iPhone. Did you see the price of the 32GB 3G S? It's $699 for existing customers who want to upgrade! Check out the fine print."
Since the iPhone launched two years ago, the most requested features were tethering and MMS (multimedia messaging) support. Apple now has hardware support for both in the iPhone 3G S.
Tethering turns an iPhone into a wireless modem to connect laptops to 3G networks.
However, AT&T, the only official U.S. carrier for the iPhone, says that both new software features won't be immediately available, and it hasn't offered a date as to when they will be. The best it would say at the June 8 event was "later this year."
When AT&T does get its act together, there will be an additional cost. Users will have to upgrade their plans with a 5GB-per-month limit-and it will cost an extra $65 per month.
Francine Alfieri Brandt of Sherman Oaks, Calif., said: "Yes, I am definitely getting the new iPhone. The deal breaker for me is the new 'tethering' feature, especially for travel and other residences. This could potentially eliminate the use of cable or satellite services needed at home or abroad."
Tethering a Useful Feature
Brandt said she likes the tethering feature because it will enable links to her laptop via cable, for all the wider uses like printing, photos, video and communicating.
"My very first Mac laptop had a dock, and I loved being able to use it on the road, and then link it at home or work," Brandt said. "This is the next leap in technology. Higher-res photos (but still no built-in flash), video ... they finally, just about, have the ultimate communicator. Beam me up, Scottie!"
Daniel Drew Turner of Oakland, Calif., simply said he will probably replace his "failing first-gen iPhone" with a new 3G S.
August Sewell of Los Altos, Calif., told eWEEK: "The only real plus for me or what makes me interested in the new 3G S is speed. Although I will wait for at least another year before I maybe attempt to replace my current 3G."
Tim Preimesberger of Minneapolis said: "Though my BB [BlackBerry] is not Facebook compatible, it still works, therefore no iPhone. Also, it appears there are other cheaper options with the same or more features available now."
Kelly Brieger of Menlo Park, Calif., noted, "I'd have to say, in this economy, I'll stick with my regular 'old' iPhone 3G."
Brian Donnelly of Los Angeles wrote, "I have the current iPhone and will not get the new one. It's a love-hate thing ... love the phone, hate AT&T ... dropped calls, sketchy service (less bars)."
Matt Liotta of Atlanta was quite clear about his intentions: "As long as AT&T is the carrier, I will not buy an iPhone."
John Richard De Simio of Los Angeles had an unusual response: "Ask them [Apple] why they don't have an FM tuner built into the iPhone or iPod."
Well, Apple, why not?
Editor's note: This story was updated to add more detail about the pricing for AT&T data and phone plans.