So the Apple iPhone has finally gone on sale in the UK, with hundreds of fans queuing at the Apple store in London's Regent Street to be one of the first customers for what has become known here as God's Own Phone as it does everything, according to the fanboys including much of the media which would be equally excited if Apple launched an iToilet it seems to me. Staff at the store applauded the first customers through the door, as well they might considering the cost of this particular piece of over-hyped hardware.
I was not amongst those customers, nor will I be in the foreseeable future. Here are my top 5 reasons why I won't be buying an iPhone:
Cost. Although the £269 ($562) price for the handset alone is bad enough, this pales into insignificance when you start looking at the total cost of ownership. The minimum network contract for the iPhone in the UK is 18 months, with some deals requiring a full 2 year lock-in. The monthly contract cost varies between £35 ($73) and £55 ($115) which means that in total it will cost me a minimum of £899 ($1890) to own. That is a lot for any phone, considering that most handsets come free on contract in the UK and my 500 texts, 500 minutes and all the Internet data I can eat deal costs me just £30 ($62) per month or £360 ($752) over the course of the 12 month contract.
Speed. One of the things being pushed by the marketing people about the iPhone is how suitable it is for the Internet generation, that big screen, the touch interface, the ease of use. Unfortunately, cutting edge connection speed is not high on the list of functions, in fact it is missing completely. What you get is GPRS/EDGE rates, and not the 3G/HSPDA mobile broadband rates that other high end cellphones can achieve. Not good enough, I am afraid, especially at that price.
Typing. Yes, you heard me. I know that the iPhone is pretty much being universally praised for its ease of use, but all I can say is that the people praising it either have not actually used one or certainly have not used one for composing emails of any substance. The on-screen QWERTY keypad is extremely awkward to type accurately upon unless you have the elven fingers of a wood nymph. Which I do not. My stubby, fat fingers cope rather well with a BlackBerry keypad, or the HTC/MDA Vario III thumb-board, but not the ease of use is everything virtual keypad of the iPhone.
Storage. While 8Gb sounds a lot to most people, I am afraid that given the fact that this is a mobile phone, portable video player, iPod and Internet browsing device in one the truth is that it stinks. More so when you go to the Apple Store and take a look at the kind of storage you can get in an iPod these days, for less money.
Battery. Apple might not have gone down the road of Nokia with the N95 and its battery life which is great unless you actually use the phone for anything, but it has committed the cardinal sin of not allowing the user to replace the battery. I always carry a spare mobile battery with me, just in case. Not an option with the iPhone, it has to be recharged and that's it. What's more, when the battery finally dies, you have to return the iPhone to Apple for a replacement and they will charge you for fitting it as well.
So there you have it, this early adopting techno geek will not be rushing to buy God's Own Phone. In fact, I would suggest that nickname is wrong, and the Supermodel Phone would be more apt: lovely to look at, temperamental in use, expensive to maintain...