WWDC Ruminatings

“Hi B-Matt! Wow it’s been a long time since you blogged!”
Yeah, I know. My own personal life really isn’t interesting enough to write about, and I haven’t decided how to more focus this blog on specific subjects. But I think I have something good to write about today.

“Oh Cool! What is it?”
Apple’s announcements at the Worldwide Developers Conference, specifically concerning the new iPhone stuff.

“Okay, so what’s the deal there? What’s new?”
Lots of stuff actually, but it can be divided into two major groups. New stuff in the software update and new stuff in an actual new model of the iPhone.

“What’s the difference?”
People who have one of the current 3G phones will get all the features included on the Software Update (also called Version 3.0) on June 17th. People who get the new iPhone model will get all that, plus some new hardware features only in the Phone.

“Okay, so what’s in the Version 3.0 software update?”
Lots of things, most of it kinda minor. The big things most folks care about are support for Multi-media Messaging, the additions of the ability to Cut, Copy, and Paste, support for tethering, and the addition of more of the GPS functionality to the API for developers.

“The GPS to the What now?”
Basically it means that App Store developers can use the GPS function to make their own GPS apps. In other words, companies like TomTom and Garmin can develop GPS apps similar to their devices, with turn by turn directions and the like.

“And what was that ‘tethering’ thing you mentioned earlier?”
Tethering is the idea of using a phone with web-browsing capability as a modem for a laptop. In other words, you hook it up to your PC, and it uses the ability of the phone to browse the web over 3G to transmit data right to the PC. So instead of looking around for a Wifi hotspot, you can use your phone to browse the web anywhere you can get a 3G connection (which is more widespread)

“Awesome! So we can do this when the software comes out on the 17th you said?”
Slow down there, tiger. There’s a problem.

“What’s the problem?”
Three letters. Or more accurately, 2 letters, one of which is repeated. A. T. T.

“Whats wrong with AT&T?”
Generally? They’re jerks. More specifically to this case, they’ve announced their networks won’t be able to support tethering -OR- Multimedia Messaging until “Later this summer”. And they won’t tell us when. Not to mention the fact that it’s heavily rumored that they’re going to charge you MORE to tether the iPhone.

“What? But you already pay them all that money every month for the Unlimited Data plan! How can they justify charging you more??”
Like I said, they’re jerks. Actually, they’re far worse than that, but I don’t want to document such obscenity here. I should point out that around the world, other carriers will be ready to support this on Day 1. And many of them have been supporting it for years on other phones. If you really look into it, you’ll discover that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to cell phone networks that it’ll make you mad. Japan, South Korea, most of Europe, and even Canada has access to WAY more features of their phones than we in the US do, because cell carriers lock down so many features and are so pathetically slow to expand infrastructure. It’s disgusting.

“Sigh”
My sentiments exactly.

“So, whats the deal with the new iPhone?”
Okay, so the new phone model is called the “iPhone 3GS”. The S, we are told, stands for SPEED! Bascially, it’s got a faster processor and has some additional hardware features. There’s a better camera in there (3.0 Megapixel), a digital compass for better navigation, and some hardware which supports Voice dialing and other voice-recognition features. It’s also supposedly got better battery life.

“Sounds good. How much is it?”
Well Apple is keeping the 8gig model of the iPhone 3G at $99 as an intro model. The new iPhone 3GS is $199 for 16gig, and $299 for 32gig, with a new 2-year contract with AT&T of course.

“That’s not too bad at all. So are you gonna get one? You’ve been complaining about the battery life in your phone, and you could use more storage. So you’re getting one, right?”
*amused laughter*

“What’s so funny?”
Well, there’s another problem.

“What’s the problem?”
What do you think?

“AT&T again?”
Of course. Those prices I mentioned earlier? Those are the subsidized prices. AT&T only gives you that pricing with a “NEW” 2-year contract. If you try to upgrade in the middle of your contract, they make you pay the unsubsidized price. Which is basically $200 more for each of the models.

“But you’ve been a loyal AT&T customer for years! Surely they’ll let you just renew your contract for another 2 years and get the subsidized price, right?”
You would think they’d treat loyal customers like that, but they don’t. They’re jerks, remember? They’re not allowing that at all. You want one now, you pay the unsubsidized pricing, and your loyalty be damned.

“So you have to wait for your contract to get close to expiring before you can renew and get the subsidized price? When is that?”
That’s correct, and mine is up in April of 2010.

“Wait, can you cancel your contract and just get a new one?”
Good idea, but there’s 2 problems with that one. A) You incur the early termination fee of $175. B) you lose your phone number by doing that.

“So basically, in order to get the 32gig model, the one you really want, you’ve have to pay $500, all because AT&T, whom you’ve been a loyal customer of and never been late with your bill, doesn’t want to give you any good faith to renew your contract right now so you can get the pricing you can afford.”
That about sums it up nicely.

“Wow. Those guys are assholes.”
You watch your language!

“But I’m you. You’re doing this whole interview bit with yourself”
You’re not supposed to let the audience know that. You’re supposed to represent their point of view, ask the questions they’re asking!!

“Sorry!”
Look, just ask the last quesiton, all right?

“So what’re you going to do, then, if you can’t get the iPhone without being ripped off?”
What’m I gonna do? I’m going to sit back and enjoy the 3.0 software update. And then I’m going to wait for AT&T to actually start supporting MMS and tethering. And pray to God I’m wrong about them charging more for it. And I’ll probably skip getting the 3GS, and hope the next iPhone model that comes out is closer to when my contract expires, so I can upgrade without the stupid extra cost

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