10 Reasons Why Apple, Not ATandT, Is to Blame for iPhone Flaws

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-12-14

10 Reasons Why Apple, Not ATandT, Is to Blame for iPhone Flaws

Yes, AT&T might be a company that deserves some bad press (after all, it did blame customers for pushing its network to the limit, instead of admitting that it needs to invest more in its network), but Apple is culpable too.  

Apple is a well-respected company. It provides some of the best products on the market. It offers up some of the finest software experiences we have ever seen. It rightly carries the torch for all other companies that are trying to provide users with products that don't simply match a standard, but set them.

But it isn't perfect. Too often, Apple gets a free pass from those that only look at the good the company has done, rather than some of the poor decisions it has made.

That's not to say that Apple is always to blame-it isn't. But when it comes to the iPhone, the hardware company has made some serious mistakes that have led to issues for consumers, the enterprise and developers. With better decision making, some of the issues so many folks have with the iPhone wouldn't be so damaging.

Let's take a look at why Apple harbors blame for the iPhone's flaws.

1. Apple entered into an exclusive contract

It's easy to talk about AT&T as if it's a company that doesn't understand the desires of the user, but it was Apple that decided to enter into an exclusive agreement with the carrier. I'm willing to bet that any carrier would have been happy to offer the iPhone. Apple could have brought it to multiple networks. But AT&T gave Apple a sweetheart deal that Steve Jobs couldn't decline. Since then, we've been forced to deal with AT&T's poor network.

2. Apple sets App Store policy

Although AT&T has asked Apple to institute some rules for the company's App Store, it's Apple that has set its App Store policy, not AT&T. So when neat apps get rejected from the store or useless apps make their way into the marketplace, it's Apple's fault. And it's important not to forget that. 

3. The company has never played well with developers

Apple has a long history of having problems with developers. With Mac OS X, Apple still limits third-party involvement, citing concerns over the stability and security of its operating system. That may sound like a prudent policy, but let's face it; the more third-party apps, the richer the experience. Considering third-party developers continue to gripe over the iPhone, should we really blame any other company but Apple for it? I don't think so.

Remember Who Owns the iPhone

4. Apple makes hardware decisions

Those that wish the iPhone had a physical keyboard can't blame AT&T for that. Those that wanted a camcorder prior to the iPhone 3G S' launch couldn't take AT&T to task. When it comes to hardware problems, it's Apple that deserves to bear the brunt of those criticisms. The company is in full control over the design of the iPhone.

5. Apple makes software decisions

The same can be said for Apple's software. When users begged for copy and paste, it wasn't AT&T that held it up, it was Apple. The iPhone is littered with software quirks that need to be improved. But that won't happen until Apple decides to update the software with those improvements. No other company can do it.

6. At any point, Apple can work with other carriers

Let's not forget that there are several other wireless carriers competing against AT&T that would welcome the iPhone. There are also millions of Verizon Wireless subscribers, Sprint subscribers and T-Mobile subscribers that would love the opportunity to use the iPhone. And many AT&T users want to switch. So instead of blaming AT&T for not being able to compete with Verizon Wireless, maybe we should blame Apple for not bringing the iPhone to other carriers

7. It's Apple's iPhone

In the end, it's important to remember that the iPhone is Apple's product. The device isn't owned by AT&T and it hasn't been modified by the competition. Any issues users may have should be directed to Steve Jobs and Company.

8. Steve Jobs isn't infallible

Speaking of Steve Jobs, he isn't infallible. He doesn't always make the best decisions. And in the moments when his decisions impact users, it's too easy to point fingers at AT&T or other companies. If Steve Jobs makes a poor decision, it should be recognized for what it is. And blame should be placed where it belongs: on his shoulders.

9. Apple knew what it was getting with AT&T 

When the iPhone hit store shelves in 2007, it was no secret that AT&T wasn't the best carrier in the market. Coverage was a little suspect, 3G data was practically nonexistent. Regardless, Apple decided to form an exclusive partnership with AT&T that, two years removed, has caused many users to wish for an iPhone on other networks. 

10. Would Verizon make the problems go away?

As we consider where the blame for iPhone flaws can be placed, we need to determine if those flaws will be gone if the iPhone was made available on Verizon Wireless' network, rather than AT&T's. It's a hard sell. A network can't change Apple's App Store policies. A new carrier can't improve the virtual keyboard. A new provider can't even deliver the features iPhone owners are waiting for. We need to keep that in mind.

It's easy to blame AT&T. Maybe it's time to point some fingers at Apple too.

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