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Okay, okay, I'll get an iPhone 3G!

Glaskowsky relents, plans to buy an iPhone 3G on launch day.

My very first meaningful blog post here (after an introduction), from June 23, 2007, was titled "Why I'm not getting an iPhone".

Apple's iPhone 3G
Apple's iPhone 3G Apple

Let me review my reasons at the time:

  1. The original iPhone couldn't really do any more for me than my Palm Treo 650.
  2. The iPhone couldn't be used to connect my laptop to the Internet.
  3. No voice-memo support.
  4. No 3G networking.
  5. Not enough storage capacity.
  6. No native apps from third-party developers.
  7. No high-res screen.

Okay, what's changed?

Well, the iPhone 3G still can't act as a wireless modem. That's less important for me than it used to be, however, since I have this snazzy Option 3G adapter for my MacBook Pro. I'd like to be able to use the iPhone for this purpose instead, but that would be just a backup plan.

Apple still hasn't announced any kind of voice-memo functionality. Rumors say it'll appear in the new iPhone 2.0 software load, or maybe later, but some such capability will likely be provided by third-party developers since all the necessary software hooks are present to allow it.

Of course, 3G is definitely there.

Storage capacity hasn't improved; there's still no memory-card slot. That still bothers me.

The third-party development problem is mostly solved. It's still not possible for developers to create software that runs in the background, which is a serious limitation, but the current level of support is about 80% of what I'd like to see.

The screen isn't any better. It's still far behind the screens on the Nokia 770/800/810-series gizmos, which offer 800 x 480-pixel resolution on a 4" LCD. The iPhone's 3.5" LCD has just 40% than much resolution (480 x 320), which I consider barely adequate for web browsing.

Overall, it seems to me that with the premium price and market position of the iPhone, Apple ought to be including the best possible components, and it isn't. Independent analysts have estimated that the manufacturing cost of the iPhone 3G is much less than half of the revenue Apple receives from each sale, which is rumored to be well in excess of $500 or $600 depending on the model. That's an unusually high profit margin in the cellphone business.

I'm not criticizing Apple for finding profitability in a market where other firms often lose money. Instead, I think Apple is missing an opportunity here-- to compete more directly with other premium cellphone makers such as Vertu, Mobiado, and Prada/LG while repositioning the iPhone 3G more appropriately against similarly configured models from other makers.

Of course, it's a free market; nothing sells unless it's worth the price, and I've decided the iPhone 3G is worth the price.

But why would I get an iPhone 3G when it doesn't solve most of the problems I had with the original iPhone?

Well, it's really just that my Treo 650 is almost dead.

It crashes almost every day-- sometimes more than once, especially when I'm out running errands. During my trip to Washington, D.C. last month, it crashed three to five times every day, and I need the phone the most when I'm traveling. Starting the Web browser causes a crash about 90% of the time. I've been using it for four years, and it's been great, but it's gotta go.

And for all its shortcomings and its high price, the iPhone 3G is the best phone on the market right now for my needs, so that's that.

I'll be meeting with some friends early Friday morning at a location here in Silicon Valley where there's an Apple store across the street from an AT&T store; we figure we'll be able to get iPhones one way or the other.

And I'll get right back on here to let everyone know what I think about it!