Help me buy an iPhone now, or later.
June 18, 2007 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Thinking of buying an iPhone? So am I. Help me decide to wait 'til later, or get it NOW!

Of those of you who are seriously considering buying an iPhone, are you going to jump on it now and buy it within, say, the first few weeks of its availability? Or do you plan to hold off for a particular reason (price to come down, for Apple to work out the bugs in the second version, etc.)? If you wait, what will have to happen until you then decide to buy it? This is the first time in my life that I've been excited about buying a cell phone. But friends and family warn of the whole gammut of drawbacks -- cost, first-version bugs, etc.
It's kinda off-putting, so I wanted to hear from the masses.
What. Are. You. Gonna. Do?
posted by UnclePlayground to Technology (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not getting one (yet). The major dealbreaker for me is EDGE instead of HSPDA for data over the cell network. This may not be as big of a deal if you expect to use the phone mainly within range of an open WiFi network.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 11:37 AM on June 18, 2007

I already took the day off work. I'm getting one. I can't help it.

I know the next revision with probably have GPS and 3G wireless access and I will be mad and I will grumble and yell but that is the nature of all things technological - something better comes down the pipe.

I've always been an Apple early adopter. I bought a first generation iPod, and a first generation MacBook Pro, and sometimes, yeah, I've had problems.. bugs, etc.. but Apple's always patched them up (after a little while - so what I had to send my MBP back to Apple twice?!)

It's just a sexy, sexy piece of gadgetry. It's almost like I have blinders on - I completely refuse to consider alternatives, or possible drawbacks - I just want want want want. Geek lust has taken over my brain.

And I like it.
posted by kbanas at 11:40 AM on June 18, 2007

For that matter, I've heard that AT&T is really beefing up reliability and speed on their EDGE infrastructure to handle the iPhone.

It's still no EV/DO, but, hey, people over at Gizmodo say you can use YouTube mobile over EDGE without any hiccups, so I'll deal.
posted by kbanas at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2007

I don't quite have the cash or gadgetlust to buy an iPhone any time soon, but I would definitely advise you to wait. It's the first of an entire line that Apple hasn't ever done before, so it's going to be the most expensive, most buggy, smallest-feature-set iPhone that they ever produce. It'll be an amazing product, but I'm sure you'll be glad if you wait 6 months or so. Apple has a pretty aggressive product upgrade cycle.
There are also a lot of features waiting to be added, like GPS or a better camera. I fully expect the feature set to expand over the next couple of years.
posted by lostburner at 11:42 AM on June 18, 2007

I'm torn. I'm starting to feel the siren call as the date gets closer, and I've got some ideas to write so called "apps" for the phone. Then I think to myself that I'll need an iPhone so I can test my apps, but in reality, I don't think that is necessarily the case.

I'm used to Rev A Apple products, so I'm not too worried about that. They fix things that are broken, and I'm not too demanding as far as bugs go.

The price of the phone actually seems reasonable to me. That's a lot of tech for $500. My big concern is the cell plan. With T-Mobile, we have two phones on the $70 family plan. That gives us 1000 anytime minutes, free mobile to mobile, nights and weekends. We rarely use more than 600 minutes, even after we dropped our landline. For $10 more, we both get unlimited text and picture messaging. For $6 more, I get unlimited GPRS/EDGE data, and I can tether my laptop to my phone with Bluetooth and connect to the internet anywhere I like. I'm also not on contract anymore, so T-mobile bends over backwards when I have a problem to make me happy.

So a total of $86/month for two phones which for my purposes is unlimited minutes, messaging, and data. I'd be surprised if even a single iPhone plan comes in that cheap. Let's be ridiculously optimistic and estimate that I have to pay $50 more/month to match what I have with T-mobile at Cingular. That iPhone now costs $1700 at best.

Granted, AT&T/Cingular's coverage is much better than T-mobile. As soon as I drive out of Charlottesville and get off the interstate. I have no signal, in pretty much all of central Virginia. That's never really been a problem for me though.

So in the end, I don't know. One of my ideas for an iPhone app actually has a chance of making decent money. I'll have a better idea in a few weeks, and if I think I can cover the spread with the profits, I'll pick one up.

My wife really, really wants one. What I should do is get one for her and score some points and then use it to test my apps while I wait for iPhone 2.
posted by AaRdVarK at 11:44 AM on June 18, 2007

You may as well get it now, if you can find one. The price will not come down, so don't wait around for that to happen. There won't be a new version for at least six months, and even that is likely to be little more than a memory bump. This is easliy Apple's most important product launch since the iMac, so you'd better believe they're taking extra care to make sure the product is stable at launch.
posted by jjg at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2007

The question comes down to: is it a PS3 or a Wii? One of those was worth buying at launch and one wasn't.
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wait. It'll get better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2007

Yeah, but it will always get better.

I mean, look at the iPod.

Don't wait for the black and white, get the color!

Don't get the color, get the video!

Don't get the video, get the FULL SCREEN VIDEO!

It just goes on and on.
posted by kbanas at 11:53 AM on June 18, 2007

Wait until they sell one with a battery you can replace. Apparently the iPhone battery cannot be replaced like a "normal" cell phone battery - which, to me, is a dealbreaker, as far as a phone goes.
posted by pdb at 11:54 AM on June 18, 2007

I'm waiting till August, but only because that's when my current phone contract is up. I want an iPod, I want a phone, and I want something to check Google maps when I'm lost and my email when I'm out of town. This does all those things. I know the iPod part will work, because hey, Apple's good at that now. I know the computer part will work because they're pretty good at that too. I'm confident the phone part will work because that's the only really new thing they've had to develop from scratch, so I'm guessing they've put their best engineers toward it.

I have no desire to reprogram it or to do anything at unusually high speed. Email + GMaps won't be too much of a bandwidth hog. I personally have no reason to "boycott" it until further development. Everything it does (and doesn't do!) right now is fine with me.

With respect to the revision issue, I have a Rev1 Macbook and it hasn't given me any problems a firmware update can't fix, and yet everyone warned me OMG DON'T BUY REV1 YOU'LL REGRET IT. It's been fine. I'm not afraid of a Rev1 iPhone. In fact, I'm probably unhealthily excited :)
posted by olinerd at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2007



posted by worker_bee at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2007

I want one badly myself but I am not abandoning t-mobile for cingular/at&t ever again. that alone is a reason for me to wait.
posted by krautland at 12:00 PM on June 18, 2007

In the past three months I have finally moved all my CDs to iTunes. I had intended to get an iPhone, but as I watched the size of my iTune music folder balloon to more than 60 G, I'm having second thoughts. First, there's the EDGE vs HSPCA thing. I'm a Cingular (oops, AT&T) subscriber, and their data network is slow compared to what I've seen with friends' 3G phones. Second, no GPS, which is teh suck. Third, now that I have, some 7 years late, finally entered the Era of Digital Music, I want it all on one device. Fourth, my trusty little LG phone has great battery life and can be used to hammer nails.

In my case I realized that what I really needed was a great big 80 G iPod, not a whizzy new phone.

I still want one, and I will eventually buy one. I'm like many of the other folks in this thread. When you can give me GPS on a true 3G network and 20 G of media storage, then I'll buy one. So, yeah, wait'll they work the bugs out.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:00 PM on June 18, 2007

I AM going to get one, but I can't afford to eat the early cancellation fees from my current crappy wireless provider and buy the iPhone at the same time, so I'm ging to wait until late Fall to buy one. By then, hopefully, the early adopters will have worked out the kinks, the price will have dropped a wee bit, and there may be a model with slightly higher storage capacity.
posted by mds35 at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2007

I switched my company's wireless plan so I could get one*, but we are still on palm for contacts/calendar and I don't want to use I need to figure that out before I switch.

*well, mainly so I could get one.
posted by shothotbot at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2007

Best answer: My advice, on a slightly different angle: Don't get an iPhone until a local friend shows you how their internet access on their smart phone (like a Blackberry) works on AT&T/Cingular's network. Let them show you the mobile Google Maps app loading, let them show you a mobile web page loading.

No matter how cool the iPhone is in principle, it will suck if the local AT&T/Cingular signal is weak. You'll be watch. ing choppy You. Tube. Videos. You'll be waaaaaiting for your google maps to loaaaaaad when you really need them. Your calls will ____ed.
posted by poppo at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2007

Don't get an iPhone for the first month of its release.

If you still want it after that month, you'll at least know if there are serious hardware/software problems with Apple's first generation cell phone, or service issues from working with Cingular/AT&T.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on June 18, 2007

Seconding jjg--the iPhone is a really big deal. I would imagine there are folks at Apple using this as their phone for several months before the thing goes live.
I've read rumors online that they may sell out for months on June 29, but this may just be so we all get hysterical and rush to buy them. Which I may do. I can't help it either.
posted by jdl at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2007

Totally want. Totally waiting. The killer for me is that there is no development kit for outside apps. The thing that makes my current Treo so useful is all the software I have been able to get to customize it. I will buy an iPhone when the same opportunities exisit.
posted by procrastination at 12:29 PM on June 18, 2007

I'm going to pass - I know, the touchscreen is nifty, but it's a carrier-locked phone that really, truly, honestly is a generation behind on its tech.

No 3G means low data rates, which means my as-yet-unconfirmed Bluetooth tethering will be so slow as to be unusable.

Add to that no GPS.

Also, there's been no word about A2DP/AVRCP (stereo Bluetooth) compatibility.

Then, there's the closed development platform. Widgets are cool, but I need real PIM functionality, and I don't see Apple developing a Word/Excel file reader.

Sorry, Apple, you're a day late and a dollar short.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:29 PM on June 18, 2007

There are better devices on the market.

Samsung F700, anyone?
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2007

Apple has a lot riding on this V 1.0 release, like about $30 billion of market cap. That increases the chances that they will get it reasonably right, and also great increases the chances that they will fix (at their expense) anything that isn't right.

Here's one way to think of it: will the first six months of use be worth $250 to you? If it will, buy now. Otherwise wait six months to jump.
posted by alms at 12:36 PM on June 18, 2007

You're not sober. You're drunk on hype, and this is no time to make a decision.

First version Apple devices always have problems. Always. Always always always.

Watch a friend who gets it and ping her once the honeymoon is over. If the problems are minor, then get it. If they're not, then wait until v1.1 or v2.

So, wait a month to sober up. Then, decide whether to wait longer.
posted by cmiller at 12:45 PM on June 18, 2007

If you live in an urban area, there's a really high chance you'll get mugged for your iPhone. On the other hand, in a year or two, everybody will have one, so you can blend into the crowd.
posted by humblepigeon at 12:46 PM on June 18, 2007

Wait. Six months. In that time you will probably see something go wrong with 15-20% of these phones, based on the v1.0 history of a bunch of Apple releases (examples: mooing, overheating Macbook Pros, grubby Macbooks, splotchy displays on G4 Powerbooks). How Apple AND AT&T choose to handle such problems will be an entirely new opportunity for a massive mess.

I have three Apple computers, the latest being a MBP - so my prejudice against these v1.0 items clearly doesn't carry forward. However, unless the Apple phone is opened to much more development than has so far been the case, I will stick with WM5 phones even if they get the reliability up there with the black Bakelite phones of the 1950s.
posted by jet_silver at 12:47 PM on June 18, 2007

Once you sign, you're on the hook with the phone company for 2 years. They are going to make a mint with this. Wait.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:01 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

but I need real PIM functionality

In terms of pocket space, the iPod's larger than a lot of phones, when it can displace a PDA it'll really live up to it's world-beater promise.
posted by scheptech at 1:03 PM on June 18, 2007

Like many things Apple, it's not the specs but how the damn thing works that gets me. F'rinstance, my current phone has 3G and Wifi, both of which I've turned off: the Wifi for the battery, and the 3G for the doubling I got in battery life and also the huge boost in stability.

So, aye, I'd get an iPhone pronto. Except I can't, cos I'm in the UK. Hopefully this means we get a rev 2 bump, and I can get all sad and nerd with the early-morning shopping.
posted by bonaldi at 1:12 PM on June 18, 2007

Get an iPhone now so that you can tell the rest of us if it lives up to the hype.
posted by TedW at 1:15 PM on June 18, 2007

I'm not waiting - I may actually head back to NYC from the beach for a few days, just to get to an Apple Store. I'm a user-interface expert, and this is hottest one around; also, my new company does cellphone stuff so we have to get one for testing anyway :) And, I'm a Cingular customer already.
posted by nicwolff at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2007

A closed device on a crappy 2G network that I can't write apps for?

No thanks. And I say that as an owner of two Macs and three iPods.

Wait for iPhone 2.0 or until Apple comes to their senses and releases a competitive device.
posted by bshort at 1:57 PM on June 18, 2007

Best answer: Wait. As. Long. As. You. Can. Possibly. Endure.
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 2:15 PM on June 18, 2007

I'd wait for a couple reasons...

After 6-9 months, they'll pop up on Ebay, likely unlocked, for less money and no contract. Which means that you could take it over to T-mo when that happens.

And just maybe, a replaceable battery will come out by then. Like the other person said - non-replaceable battery is a dealbreaker for me.

I'm also curious if they're going to sell screen cleaners with it. Between ear gunk and fingerprints, keeping that sucker clean is gonna be a pain.

Sticking with my SE W810i right now...
posted by TeamBilly at 2:39 PM on June 18, 2007

And just maybe, a replaceable battery will come out by then. Like the other person said - non-replaceable battery is a dealbreaker for me.

You know, technically the battery on an iPod is not replaceable, but I fixed one of those just yesterday for a friend. So, take that as you will.

I, myself, want one like it was my missing left hand. However, I have to stay out - 1) I have been burned by Apple with the revision game (bought my lovely 17" MBP only to have it refreshed 6 weeks later, and bought a 3G iPod about 8 weeks prior to the 4G refresh), and 2) I'm under contract with T-Mobile for another year. The first is a reason I'd violate if I could, the second actually is keeping me in check.

But, you people who get one, enjoy it. I can't wait to hold one and see if its as awesome as it has been cracked up to be.
posted by plaidrabbit at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2007

Best answer: Today is June 18. The iPhone will be released on June 29. You can't preorder. Why do you need to decide right now? With Apple projecting sales of 10 million units, I'm sure there will be sufficient supply should you decide to behave rationally, wait for opinions, and try it out for a bit.
posted by junesix at 3:52 PM on June 18, 2007

Just get one, and if you don't like it, AT&T has a no-questions asked 30-day return policy. Put it through its paces for a month, and if you're disappointed, take it back, and get something cheap like a RAZR or a more expensive/functional Treo to tide you over until the iPhone 2 comes out.

Only caveat with this is that you only get the deep discounts for a phone ONCE per 2-year contract (as I understand it), so you're going to pay full-retail for a replacement phone if you return the iPhone.
posted by wubbie at 11:09 PM on June 18, 2007

But friends and family warn of the whole gammut of drawbacks -- cost, first-version bugs, etc.

The whole "wait for version 2" thing is a little exaggerated. There have been notable periods in Apple's history when it made a ton of sense to WAIT for the second version of something. I give you the original Powerbook G3 as an example.

This is arguably as big a release as that if not even bigger in terms of departure from the tried and true. So sure, waiting is warranted if it ever is.

But I ask you, what are you waiting for? Do you think you won't be able to unload your 1.0 hardware on eBay the second version 2.0 comes out? Do you not think you can get any utility out of version 1.0? Of course you won't recover all your money selling your used hardware the moment it becomes yesterday's version, but what do you expect? To pay nothing for the time you owned and used it?

If you like what it does and can afford it, get one. You're absolutely going to enjoy a little bit of OOH AAH factor from everyone you know for a while, even if you do ultimately decide you could have waited 9 months, saved $100 and gotten 2 crucial bugs you care about fixed. Whooptie-do. It'll still be an iPhone.

Basically, it's a shit or get off the pot kind of moment. Go down to an Apple store and handle one. If you like what you see, go for it. In the nail-biting quest to figure out all its shortcomings, don't forget that it's got a hell of a lot going for it as well. No sooner did Apple raise the bar than all the journalists started judging the iPhone by that new, high bar. What would be interesting this week would be some press coverage of all other "smart" phones out there. I envision nothing but a long chorus of vomitation sounds. Helio, anyone? Anyone...?

Consumers always think they're being "smart" by being absolutely paranoid about a product. As if every durable goods manufacturer is the modern world is some snake-oil salesman looking to take your money and run. Come on. It's very easy to find out what the iPhone does. Read the engadget review. Don't listen to your paranoid friends who are patting themselves on the back for being too smart to buy version 1.0. Matt fucking Haughey's no idiot. Someone who's too afraid to buy something they might like because it isn't perfect and won't fulfill all their current and future needs, whether now known or totally unforeseen? That's stupid.

Bottom line: The next version will ALWAYS be better.
posted by scarabic at 12:27 AM on July 4, 2007

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