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Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

Posted March 05, 2009 12:00 AM by Kaplin

iPhones can do some pretty neat things; but with all those awesome features, you'd think they'd have covered the basics.

Although iPhones have been out for over 2 years now, I never had a chance to test one out until recently. In the past few weeks, four of my friends purchased iPhones -one after the other, each not wanting to be out-done by the one before. After some research and playing around with their phones, I found some seemingly fundamental phone capabilities missing from the iPhone.

Pricing Model
First, let's take a look at the pricing "scheme" for iPhones. When the iPhone 3G was released the public was ecstatic to hear that the price had dropped $200 from the original model. Many didn't realize that along with this price cut, came a monthly rate increase and the elimination of text messages from the "unlimited data plan". (How that works, I don't know.)

With the mandatory unlimited data plan, the base monthly price for an iPhone is $70 for the least amount of minutes and no text messages. Needless to say, most people's bills hover around $100 per month after taxes. You can bet AT&T is very happy with this pricing, but it has yet to be determined if the lower prices of other carriers will force AT&T to follow suit.

No Text Message Forwarding
The lack of this very basic feature was brought to my attention my friend accidentally sent me a text message intended for someone else. I was standing right next to him at the time and he complained about having to type the entire message again. I was stunned to find out he wasn't able to forward the message.

No MP3 Ringtones
Last year I posted a blog entry on how to create your own MP3 ringtones. MP3, being the universal audio format, shouldn't have a problem being read by any current phone, right? Guess again. Apple has locked the iPhone from being able to use MP3s as ringtones and requires their own proprietary M4R format. This makes the iPhone the only phone on the market without the ability to play MP3 ringtones.

This is done purposely to try to force consumers into buy iTunes ringtones. It is still possible to make your own ringtones, but there is a second set of steps to follow after you create the original ringtone file.

No MMS Messages
The next issue arose when I tried to send my friend a Mario ringtone I have on my phone. The message never went through. Even worse, I never got notified that the message wasn't received. At first I thought it was due to the iPhone's lack of mp3 ringtones support, but after a search found out that iPhones can't accept MMS messages at all! (This includes all pictures messages folks)

The lack of this feature, which is found on virtually every other phone, is due to a political feud between Apple and AT&T over the proper way to transmit the data. AT&T is able to send MMS messages across its network on all other phones except the iPhone.

Not an iPod Replacement
To me, the real benefit of an iPod is being able to have a vast library of music on you at all times for any situation that might arise. This is why iPod Classics have capacities up to 160GB, but the iPhone maxes out at 16GB. Remember, that is before installing Apps which will be eating up large chunks of that memory.

iPod Touch vs iPhone
Another factor many people don't realize is that an iPod Touch has almost all of the features worth bragging about without any monthly fee. Granted, it doesn't have phone service and you need to be in Wi-Fi range for internet, but all the applications and games are available on the iPod Touch without any monthly fees.

There is even an App for jailbroken iPod Touches that turn it into a free Skype phone with no monthly fees.

Applications
You might say that there are Apps that fix some of these problems, but none of these solutions are perfect as they force your friends to have an iPhone with the same App or cost money.

The Apple iPhone is a great phone, probably one of the best on the market, but due to the policies and restrictions put on by AT&T and Apple, they have severely crippled its functionality to fill their pockets. So if you must be part of "The It Crowd" at least take the time to jailbreak your phone, restoring some of the functionality that Apple and AT&T have removed.

I know there are millions of you out there that disagree with me. Let's hear it, but before you get too riled up, it's not all hate. Next week, we'll show you all the benefits of Jailbreaking your iPhone to get some extra functionality.

Resources:
New and old AT&T iPhone plans compared, cost increases detailed
Why the Japanese Hate the iPhone

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#1

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 2:06 AM

I consider Iphone just a gimmick phone. most standard phones here in japan can do what the Iphone cann't, and now one can watch TV on it download games go on the internet and more.

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#2

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 6:45 AM

Sour grapes?

My only complaint is that my company did not create it. You may full of gripes, but from a marketing perspective it has been a hit. People still buy it and it generates revenue.

I think that your biggest gripe is that the iPhone is so far ahead of its competition that the competition has not yet caught up enough to offer solutions to your needs. Obviously, if you are dissatisfied, go buy a competitor's product. However, you will just have to wait for that vacuum to be filled.

Are iPhones worth all the hype? That's a personal decision that is different for every person. However, from a marketing perspective any and every accountant would give it a thumbs up.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 10:44 AM

Oh from a Marketing perspective I agree with you, it's a goldmine. They tout all the really cool features and no one bothers to ask about the basics (like sending picture messages). Signing a contract for one of these you are putting over $2000 in AT&T's pocket.

Look at the comment below, my friend loves to pay $100 a month for a 16GB iPod when he already had an iPod that held 5 times that amount.

Also check out the link in the resouces section about how the Japanese view the iphone (and confirmed by Epke)

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 11:01 AM

yes, but your friend also doesn't see the point of having weeks of music on you at all times when he only listens to a few albums a week...

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#19
In reply to #4

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 3:45 PM

I have the 16 GB model and all of my music fits on it and I have 40% left over after the few applications I "need" were installed.

Basically, it is a tool first for me, and an entertainment (iPod) second.

The big advantage is the email and internet access. I never text anyone. Why? I have email. The internet access allows me to check and research information on the spot.

The GPS and mapping have saved my butt a few times.

Having my address book with me and syncing it to my PC (Mac) at my office makes life easy.

I don't have the resources available to the Japanese, but I do find the iPhone very useful by solving my business needs and doing it in a fun way.

I also recognize it has limitations, but so does everything else in life. You simply need to learn how to leverage the resources you have to the maximum. No complaints from me.

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#24
In reply to #2

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 6:53 AM

i think that you got that backwards!

the competition is technoligically far ahead of the iphone but the iphone is far ahead in terms of marketing!

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 7:28 AM

That may be true! However, I haven't followed that market too closely.

From an integrated package standpoint the iPhone does more for me than what the competition did (when I bought it) and does it with a better human interface (at the time I bought it).

There may be areas where other products excel, but holistically, the iPhone offered a superior package, when i bought it.

And, you are right, Apple does a superior job of marketing. I have advised many business owners who have asked me how to improve their market/product to look at Apple's marketing techniques and Apple's human interface, which has a track record of virtually being second to none.

While there is more to Apple's success than those two attributes, marketing and human interface are the biggest reasons Apple does so well.

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#45
In reply to #2

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

11/18/2018 11:58 AM

I think that the marketing used for the I-phone (and others) used the Las Vegas casino model exactly. The bells and whistles were installed gradually so "users" could not put them down. The rebellion should come from the "users" who were sucked in by the "mainframe computer" . (Tron) we may have reached that point, where we have got to realize that the "Mainframe Computer" has been building its smaller, and smaller, and smaller computers, for a very long time. It's plan is to take over the world and has been hiring robots to take over "marketing" from humans. Jeff Bridges and his programmers should have stayed "inside" the mainframe, and wrote another script.

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#3

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 10:33 AM

if you own a cell phone and an ipod of any size its a no brainer to get the iphone, provided your carrier can supply them.

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#37
In reply to #3

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 2:57 PM

i totally disagree

i have an ipod and i absolutely love it! it does exactly what i want and holds my whole music collection and numerous videos as well.

but my mobile phone is what i use for texting/email/phone calls

i would and do not want these to be integrated into one device!

it is so much easier to multitask with these 2 devices and doesnt take much more pocket space to carry them both!

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#6

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 11:40 AM

I've had an iPhone for a couple months now and can't say enough positive things about it.

I'll start by picking off these criticisms before i mention some of the benefits i have come to love.

Pricing Model: simple economics - supply vs demand....people will pay this premium for a fun, innovative portable device that meets or exceeds their needs

No Text Messaging Forwarding: do people really use this feature? I've had cell phones for years and have never had the desire to forward a text message....probably because i respect peoples privacy and don't think its appropriate to send friends messages to others

No MP3 Ringtones: I've made many ringtones for my iphone and it takes about 5 second to rename the file. You say its a second set of steps but its actually the only steps you need to do.

No MMS: Totally valid - its inconvenient when my friends send an image and i have to pull up a website on my phone to view it. But my friends don't send images that often...and even rarer do they send Mario ringtones.

Not an iPod: I know...it's an iPhone. I have about 6GB of my own music and videos which to be honest i can listen to when I'm home if i want. What music I enjoy on my iPhone are all the free music and entertainment apps, NPR from all over the country, college radio stations, Pandora which introduces me to new music in my genre everyday,....and the list goes on and on....

iPhone vs iPod Touch: This is like comparing a Laptop to a Portable DVD player. Yes they have different functions. The Laptop can play DVDs and much more but its more expensive. I think people understand that.

Applications: I have over 60 apps on my phone and have only paid for a dollar for 3 of them...all the other ones were free. In effort to keep this post somewhat small I won't go into how useful and productive these apps are. I suggest you go to the Apple site and check them out. Some app developers are truly unique and talented people who take what they do seriously to provide other users a useful service. I can't speak highly enough of how cool and useful some of the apps are.

Anyway. My iPhone also syncs up over the air to all my work and home email, calendars, tasks and contacts instantly. If i make a change on my phone my home and office PCs are updated and visa versa. I set it up out of the box in about 2 minutes without having to read any instructions. Its incredibly intuitive to use. The battery life is amazing, and the touch screen display is superb.

It's too bad that you feel this about being part of an "in crowd" and not about taking advantage of some slick technology we have the privilege of being able to harness.

I have a feeling from this post that you haven't really used an iPhone for more than a few minutes. It wasn't for about a week after having my phone I could understand what is it capable of. I suggest you buy one and try it out for a while, if you really don't like it you have 30 days to return it. But based on your other posts you seem to appreciate innovative and useful technology so I'm willing to bet it becomes your new phone!

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 11:50 AM

I'm very happy with my $30 a month phone from Verizon which includes unlimited text messaging and for only $5 more unlimited internet.

Sure it doesn't have all the bells and whistles but I would rather keep my MMS messages, Video camera, and physical keyboard.

As for my next device, I will hold out for 2nd generation Andoid phones.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 12:47 PM

Good answer Nighthawk

I'll add that 16GB may not be enough for all the music you have, but you really don't need it... I have about 4GB of music on my iPhone, and I honestly don't use the iPod app very often.

You probably would have mentioned these apps, but Pandora fufills all my music needs, and when I need to listen to a particular album or song, 16GB is more then enough space to put those.

In the event that I needed more space, there are applications that will stream all of your music to your iPhone with ZumoDrive.

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 12:53 PM

i would have to agree with nighthawk on this one...

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#8

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 12:34 PM

I think a majority of the folks in the anti-iPhone group have put themselves there for one (or both) of these reasons:

  1. The iPhone's cost-to-own
  2. They just don't like Apple for some reason

You can say it doesn't have this, or can't do that...OK nothing is Perfect; the truth is, the iPhone is a high-quality machine that blows every other cellphone away!

Anti-iPhoner's: If cellphones were free and you could just pick the one you wanted (put manufacturers, carriers, and price aside), would you even consider anything but the iPhone?

If you're answer is "No" then I don't beleive you...

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 1:43 PM

Given the choice of any phone, I would take the Palm Pre hands down which is out next week. (Compared directly to the iPhone in that link)

I even know some die-hard Mac supporterss that agree the iPhone has nothing on the Pre.

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#12
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Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 2:07 PM

The difference is that the Pre isn't even out yet!

If there is a phone that could be all hype, it is most certainly one that hasn't even been released. How could it have flaws? It doesn't have any user's picking it apart yet...

Not that the Pre couldn't blow away the iPhone, but I have yet to seen Palm come out with a product that matched all the hype before it's release, and on top of that, didn't have anything wrong with it... which is what will need to happen if it is going to beat the iPhone.

Maybe "Will Pre Really Be Worth All the Hype?" would have been a more accurate blog post...

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#13

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 2:48 PM

Why is everyone hatin' on Kaplin? I don't think he is dissing the iPhone. It's clearly a very popular device that many people can't imagine living without. Kaplin is merely pointing out some things that many cheaper phones offer, but the iPhone does not. Devils adovate, ya know?

So, like Kaplin, I am going to give my 2 cents - for whatever it's worth. But, before I begin, I want to make it clear that I don't have anything against the iPhone or Apple. As a communications student, I think Apple (and the iPhone for that matter) is a great marketing case study. They are a truly innovative company that knows their demographic well. That being said...

The iPhone gets a TON of press, and rightly so - it's an amazing device. Many tech-savvy people, like the ones posting here, actually use the phone for it's functionality. But, I think that a lot of people buy them so they can say "hey, look. I have an iPhone!" And, a lot of the same Apple fanboys (& girls, I'm sure) that are shoving their iPhones in your face are the same people that will jump on anyone speaking against it.

But the truth is, the iPhone isn't perfect - which I think Kaplin did a good job pointing out. I became generally turned-off by the iPhone long ago. My best friend lives three hours away and always wants me to send him text and picture messages when I am trying to explain something to him. He has had an iPhone since they first came out. Every single time I sent him a picture message (and a lot of texts), I'd get nothing in return. After months of trying to communicate with him, he finally calls AT&T and tells them about the problem. In the end, they tell him that it "sometimes happens" with iPhones and to let them know if the problem continues. SOMETIMES HAPPENS?! Really? Needless to say, I don't even bother trying to send him messages anymore.

Now, I don't want to be misunderstood as having sour grapes. Honestly, I could care less other than the fact the people always assume that if you say you don't want an iPhone that you're lying. If you have an iPhone and love it, great. But don't assume that us non-iPhone people are jealous - most of us are just sick of hearing that the iPhone is nothing but sunshine and rainbows.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 2:54 PM

"the iPhone is nothing but sunshine and rainbows."

I agree Sharkles, it definitely is.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 2:57 PM

do you think there is an isunshine and an irainbows app...?

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#18
In reply to #15

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 3:31 PM

Of course. You didn't know that there are iPhones at the end of every rainbow?

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#16
In reply to #13

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 3:04 PM

Also, I am a big fan of The Best Page in the Universe (look it up for hours of hilarity) and it's author, Maddox has weighed-in on the iPhone:

Note: If you are easily offended by foul language, I do not recommend Maddox for you.

Maddox on the iPhone

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#17
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Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 3:27 PM

"Hilarity" ....vocabulary Win, nice.

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#21
In reply to #13

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 6:36 PM

I don't think anyone is posing a personal attack on him, but most do not agree with his take on the iPhone.

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#20

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 6:17 PM

Well I am replying to this thread with my iPhone. Can you do that with your phones I think not... Good Day Sir...

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#23
In reply to #20

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 5:30 AM

my blackberry can!

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#26
In reply to #20

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 8:00 AM

Nice!

- Sent from my iPhone

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#34
In reply to #20

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 11:59 AM

wow, impressive...!! I am replying to your reply from my "techically prehistoric" Blackjack 1... not even the new version. Sorta makes your arogant "Good day sir..." sound even more juvenile. Are you so in love with Steve Jobs that you would sacrifice your integrity? Are you so out of touch that you think the iPhone has cornered the market on replying to web forums?? funny thing is, i could have tethered my Blackjack to my laptop to makes this an even more compelling response (can the iPhone do that ??) and when I'm done replying, I think I'll change my battery 4 or 5 times, just cuz I can... and maybe listen to several hundred mp3's on my extended memory, over my Bluetooth headset, just cuz I can. It's a phone... not a personal statement. This market is big enough for all kinds of gadgets. I love the iPhone, but I won't buy one because of Apples business practices... i'll just remain content with my very capable Blackjack and iTouch. and yes, i typed this all on my full qwerty Blackjack keyboard...

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#38
In reply to #34

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 3:42 PM

The iPhone would have corrected those embarrassing spelling errors:

  1. techically
  2. arogant

Not to mention auto-correcting improper case on several i's. It's like reading an assignment a 2nd grader attempted for his typing class in Notepad.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 3:47 PM

slam

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 4:06 PM

Is that the best you have, to criticize typing errors..? Especially when done on a small keyboard. It lends itself to the argument of how juvenile your argument really is, and that is where you should be embarrassed.

There is nothing wrong with my ability to spell, or use correct grammar... so how about addressing the "actual" issues, lest I go back and pick apart all of your impeccably linguistic posts.

and then to have the audacity to rate that as a "Good Answer" is a discredit this forum.

Quotes:

"It's unlikely an entire corporation will be be affected by just one person taking their work with them"

"to a hexidecimal instead of a binary value? Storing data without a voltage supply limits us to using bits, or 0s and 1s, right now. With todays "

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 4:09 PM

TO this forum... saved you the energy.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 4:43 PM

I give...

I'm going out right now to buy me one of them there iPhones..!!!

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#22

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/05/2009 7:00 PM

I have a basic japanese (more than 2 years)"old" phone, i can e-mail with it sendpictures with it, make photo and small movies,it plays music, it has a memorycard, it has internet and it cost me less than 30$ a month. The iphone is a nice gadget but it is realy a trend item and like most apple thing somewhat over priced.

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#27

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 9:09 AM

Good discussion.

I have a technical question. My battery is almost worthless, and I've searched everywhere for a replacement, and frankly I'm a bit confused by the results. How do I change the battery..?

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 9:11 AM

addendum: oh, and if anyone can help me with my bluetooth pairing, I would appreciate it.

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 9:13 AM

It's physically impossible. The way the iPhone was designed, the battery cannot be replaced, even by the manufacturer. You just need to throw it out and buy a new one!

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#30

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 9:14 AM

Here is a good comparison and review of the iphone:

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 9:17 AM

that was already posted but good try...

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 9:17 AM

I believe Sharkles already shared that wonderful link above

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#33

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 11:54 AM

Guess it depends on how you were raised.

I grew up in the '50's (the first TV generation) and although I've certainly had my share of gadgets, and have worked in the electronics field for 37 years, I still find that I really like solitude, peace, and quiet. And most of today's communication technology is too interruptive for my taste. (For crying out loud, sometimes when I go the restroom at work, I hear people on their cell phones in front of urinals and from behind bathroom stall doors!)

I'm quite computer literate, have several of them, as a matter of fact. But after having a cell phone for a while (got it mostly for emergencies) and not using it that much, I let that go, too. I didn't like having to pay for minutes that eventually expire -- even on a pay-as-you-go plan!

I can understand having music to listen to but even then, I'd rather sit down in front of a good stereo or theater sound system to listen to my music, when I can JUST listen. I like to listen in the car, as long as the car has a good stereo. Who doesn't like to sing along!

But, no, all said and done, I don't think they are worth the hype.

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Associate

Join Date: Apr 2008
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#36
In reply to #33

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 12:03 PM

interesting point of view. don't think i could live with out a phone although i do agree sometimes its better to turn the thing off like when your in the restroom (ewww).

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Guru
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Join Date: May 2008
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#35

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/06/2009 12:03 PM

I'm a big fan of digital video streaming to phones...Korea, Japan...there's a few other places where its common to watch tv broadcasts on your cell and It's beautiful quality. I wish that the U.S would catch up to Korea / Japan with digital media devices.

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Associate

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
#43

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/09/2009 9:22 AM

I used to feel the iPhone was a gimmick phone as well - overpriced and overhyped. Then, my fiancee got me one, and I cannot put it down. Granted, it is the 1G, but I could care less. There are so many apps and things to do on the phone, it is amazing. I have it jailbreaked, so I don't even mess with the AT&T crooks. Great phone. However, the no MMS and no text forwarding is definitely missed.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 578
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#44

Re: Are iPhones Really Worth All the Hype?

03/11/2009 9:33 AM

To help unfetter you from the overseers, I posted some of the benefits of jailbreaking your iPhone. Check it out.

Jailbroken iPhones Go Mainstream

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Kaplin
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