Monthly Archive for June, 2007

iPhone: locked up tight, not that it matters right now

Update 8/21: The iphone has been fully unlocked, but there is still some work to do before it becomes practical

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Original Post:

The iPhone is currently locked up tight, which means that people are stuck with using it on AT&T’s network. However, even if someone clever found a way to unlock them, you still wouldn’t be able to get the full iPhone experience. I wrote about this in my very first entry, but it’s aged off the front page, so I guess it’s time for an update with a few more details.

  • First off, it’s only a GSM/EDGE phone. In the US, I’m pretty sure that means that tMobile is your only possible option (other than some regional GSM providers). No chance to use Verizon or Sprint.
  • Second, because it’s a US phone, you won’t have much luck with it in Europe. even though GSM is prevelant there because they use different transmission frequencies. Also, Europe pretty much skipped over EDGE for real 3G datarates. (Update: the iPhone is quad-band, so frequencies shouldn’t be an issue).
  • Third, some of the phone features, the Visual Voicemail and Push IMAP in particular, are dependent on new, non-standard, cellular infrastructure. Also, some people have suggested that unlocked phones, in the US, at least, are denied access to a carriers mobile data infrastructure, which would pretty much make the iPhone suck, unless you had a usable WiFi signal.

That does still leave you with the internet features, but only in theory, because, once again, the iPhone isn’t unlocked, and probably won’t be anytime soon, though some people are holding out hope.

This blog is optimistically dedicated to the time when the iPhone is fully unlocked so it can be used in full featured form with a range of carriers, and so 3rd party developers can create installable apps.

Note: Some people are selling “unlocked iphones,” but all they really mean is that it doesn’t have a service plan yet. Big deal, since you only have one choice for service right now (and probably for the next 6 months, at least), and that is AT&T.

Continue reading ‘iPhone: locked up tight, not that it matters right now’

AT&T treats customers badly, still manages to sell out of Apple iPhones at most stores

Cnet.com reports that AT&T is claiming to have sold out of iPhones at most of it’s 1800 stores last night, but they aren’t exactly endearing themselves to their new iPhone customers.

It’s not clear how many phones each store had. Apparently, the store with the largest allotment, the Redmond WA store, got 90. Other stores had as few as 20, but it sounds like 40 might be a good estimate for the average. That would work out to 72,000 units and $36M in revenue. Not a bad evening.

AT&T says almost sold out of Apple iPhones | CNET News.com
“Virtually all of our stores sold out of the iPhone last night,” AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said, declining to specify how many units had been sold.

What is clear is that AT&T is rubbing some iPhone customers the wrong way. People in NYC were not treated with much consideration by store staff, who said that they were closing the store at 11pm, no matter how many people were left in line. They also made no effort to update the queued masses about stock levels, even when it was clear that they were running out of stock. People didn’t find out that they’d sold out of the 8GB model until another disappointed customer emerging from the store told them.

In Colombus Indiana, customers of the AT&T store were treated like dangerous criminals. Only 10 customers were allowed in the store at a time, so they could be guarded 1:1 by AT&T employees. They were also warned not to get too rowdy, and their were security guards inside to drive the point home.

Others discovered that while sold out AT&T stores were promising 2-3 delivery times for people who still placed orders, area Apple stores still had plenty of stock.

Some people had AT&T sell them iPhones even though they wouldn’t work with their corporate accounts. And others got home only to find that AT&T was horribly slow in activating their shiny new toys.

This certainly doesn’t reflect well on Apple for having chosen AT&T as a partner, but it is even worse for AT&T, who isn’t protected by a Reality Distortion field the way Apple is.

Apple iPhone Cell Phone Call Quality Review

A comprehensive comparative review of the iPhone.  It looks like both Audio quality and the ease of dialing are good compared to other high end phones, which passes my first criteria for a mobile phone:  That it be a good phone first of all.

Apple iPhone Cell Phone Review – Candy Bar – ATT – Carrier – Reviews – WirelessInfo.com – Cell Phone Reviews and Wireless Plan Ratings
Apple has been pushing the iPhone as a do-it-all device; it makes calls and is the best iPod ever. But it’s still a phone, and the audio quality is the most important aspect of that. To test the audio quality of calls made with the iPhone we use professional testing equipment; a HATS (Head and Torso Simulator) that simulates the human head and ear and an electro-acoustic analysis program called SoundCheck.

iPhone Inventory and eBay Speculation

eBay iPhone listings on Saturday 6-30-07 I thought prices on eBay would have crashed by now, but there are still plenty that look like they’ll sell for $750 on up even though (as of posting this), every Apple store in the country still has stock.

Given the estimated 50% margins apple is getting on these things, their revenue picture would be better and their profit picture wouldn’t be much worse if they built more iPhones they needed, rather than coming up short.

Facebook iPhone Poll: Good news or Bad news for Apple

A blogger named Donna Bogatin raises an interesting point in pointing to an iPod related poll on Facebook, but I don’t agree with her strongly negative take.

She points out that only 7% of respondents said yes. While 63% said no, with the rest being some form of undecided.

/2007/06/facebook_poll2.gif

This actually looks like great news for Apple. The 7% of yes repondents represent ~140,000 of Facebook’s 20M users. At $500 a pop, that’s 70M in revenue for Apple (perhaps more if they get a kickback from AT&T, something that could be as much as 50% of the cost of service). That 7% also represents people who are apparently ready to buy soon. That’s a significantly higher penetration rate than the 1% Apple is shooting for in the overall mobile phone market (at least for the time being).

Just as interesting, most of the undecideds, which make up 30% of the respondants, also look like likely future buyers. 9% want a choice of carriers beyond AT&T, which will probably come in the next year or two. 20% want a lower price, which is also sure to come. Only 1% are waiting to see what their friends do.

It’s actually hard to understand the point of her post. The headline suggests it’s about the poll results. But most of the text is a complaint about polling methodologies. I’m not going to argue the latter. The poll only reached a self-selected ~1000 out of the 20M or so Facebook users, so you have to be careful about putting to much state in the results. Still, I think they are interesting.

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