Apple Will Dump Exclusive Deal With AT&T

| Editorial

Apple's fundamental goal is to sell the maximum number of iPhones. AT&T's fundamental goal is to maximize its own revenue. This conflict of interest will ultimately result in Apple dumping the exclusive arrangement with AT&T in 2010.

If there's one thing I've learned in 16 years of WWDC, it's that Apple is all about incremental change. Whether it's the drive from Classic to Carbon to Cocoa, the change from ADC to DVI to DisplayPort, the change from CodeWarrior to Xcode, or the change from PowerPC to Intel, Apple is all about change for the better.

 

iPhone 3G S

Today is a big day for Apple. Tim Cook is sitting in his office calculating how many iPhone 3G Ss Apple will sell -- so that he knows how many to order in the next round. Peter Oppenheimer is also in his office today with a Numbers spreadsheet figuring out how the iPhone 3G S sales will affect Apple financials for next month's earnings report.

But I'm guessing that Steve Jobs is in his office, at home or on campus, angrily calculating how many iPhone 3G Ss Apple didn't sell today. That's because, with the subsidized price and contract length, many enthusiastic Apple customers won't be able to sustain the financial burden, created by AT&T, to upgrade to a new phone and pass the old iPhone 3G to a family member. I don't have a good way to calculate the number, but I'm going to take an educated guess that Apple, if it had a deal with Verizon, could sell an extra million iPhone 3G Ss over the next few months.

That's a half billion dollars in gross revenue. Mr. Jobs must be fuming.

But no matter what the true number is, if it's more than a hundred, I know that Steve Jobs is pissed. And when Mr. Jobs gets pissed, he takes action. Surely, he's thinking to himself, if only the exclusive AT&T contract had been for two years instead of three, Apple wouldn't be in this bind created by AT&T's focus on revenue instead of Apple's market penetration. Today, Verizon customers would also be lined up around the block.

Apple is on a roll. There is iPhone mania. There are 50,000 apps out there for the iPhone, and Apple has a seemingly insurmountable lead. However, the only way to cement that lead is with large and growing sales.

The CDMA chip is mature and inexpensive. I continue to believe that it would be trivial for Apple to produce a version of the iPhone using CDMA for use in the U.S. Sure, customers would know that they can't use it overseas, but most Americans don't need to worry about that. They have bigger worries, especially regarding the number of bars they have on their cell phones and how much they pay each month.

The fiasco with MMS and tethering must also be steaming Mr. Jobs.

I guarantee that Apple will dump its exclusive deal with AT&T next year. Apple will add Verizon, and that will cover most U.S. wireless customers. Eventually, CDMA will be dumped for LTE/4G, but not before Apple sells a lot more iPhones with Verizon in late 2010.  If Apple doesn't dump the exclusive deal with AT&T, I promise, on the pivotal day, I'll come to work without my pants on.*

*I work out of a home office, so I probably won't get arrested.

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Comments

Lee Dronick

“I guarantee that Apple will dump its exclusive deal with AT&T next year. Apple will add Verizon, and that will cover most U.S. wireless customers. Eventually, CDMA will be dumped for LTE/4G, but not before Apple sells a lot more iPhones with Verizon in late 2010.”

I suppose there is more to it than just telling the carriers that you are going to sell your phone in their stores, some sort of deal has be worked out. Will the other carriers be willing to let Apple call the shots, or at least most of them? Will the carriers be able to live without having their logo on the iPhone? Maybe, especially after seeing the success of the arrangement between Apple and AT&T.

Pashtun Wally

Great respect for your comments, John - as always!

There’s another factor that you don’t bring up here, and that is user experience.  Specifically, the user experience of paying a premium twice:  once for the iPhone itself, an once for an over-burdened network.

Any illusions that Verizon would provide even a *comparable* network experience should be dispelled at once.  A Verizon deal might mean Apple sells more phones but that in no way translates into the kind of customer satisfaction that is SJ’s real fixation…it could even be a disaster for Apple.

Chaz

Think AT&T hasn’t already figured this out?  That’s why they are trying to squeeze every last penny of revenue from the arrangement.  Can’t blame them, but honestly, what did Steve think they would do when they originally signed the agreement? 

AT&T has obligations to it’s shareholders as well.  They have invested in their network to try to hold onto as many customers as possible when the gravy train ends.  It’s been a balancing act for them between increased customers and network investment and only time will tell how successful they will be on holding onto the growth. Bottom line, they and everyone else knows it must end, the uncovered portion of the market will demand it.

Tim J. Buck

John nails it.  ATT’s one-size-fits-all data plan keeps a lot of us from getting an iPhone.  This won’t change until the exclusive provider monopoly is broken.

Would love to trade up from my iTouch, but don’t need unlimited data, and don’t need a $40/month voice plan.  Would love to be able to pull up a map while I’m in the car, but not at a cost of $1600 for a two year commitment. 

The unlimited data plan is the true subsidy fiasco.  Moderate bandwidth users shouldn’t have to fork over $30/month for so somebody else can upload videos of their cat. 

Mostly use my iTouch to run OmniFocus and check mail and calendars.  I’m waiting for a Verizon iPhone, so I can dump my current ATT phone that can’t even make a call from my own living room.

(In the meantime, it would be nice if Apple would teach iPhone software 3.0 to let me write to CalDAV calenders on my OS 10.5 server…)

Lee Dronick

Can?t blame them, but honestly, what did Steve think they would do when they originally signed the agreement??

I think that the original agreement was with Cingular before they were bought by AT&T.

Locally my cell coverage with AT&T is mostly very good. You might loose the signal when you snake through a tight canyon, but otherwise no problem. Of course this the 7th or 8th largest city, and metro area, in the USA. With a market that size AT&T is going to have good coverage.

Sal Hepatica

Recent coverage suggests that CDMA is on its way out and that Verizon’s next-generation technology will be more compatible with AT&T’s GSM. This is important as GSM is used worldwide while CDMA is mainly used in North America by Verizon/Alltel and Sprint. I doubt Apple is interested in offering options that can only be implemented at the motherboard level. This exacerbates manufacturing complexity. Two motherboards (three if you count iPod touch) with three different memory configurations is already enough without adding CDMA/GSM chip differences that probably aren’t pin-compatible.

Short answer, you’ll see the iPhone on Verizon when Verizon joins the rest of the world, technology-wise.

mjkphoto

My Verizon contract is up in August. If the iPhone were available on Verizon, I’d buy an iPhone 3Gs now! Unfortunately, any chance of that happening won’t be until 2010. So I’ll continue to use my iPod Touch while I wait patiently for Apple to realize that the exclusive deal with AT&T was a huge mistake.

John Martellaro

Actually, I don’t think the original deal was a mistake. It just should have been for two years, not three.
-JM

mjkphoto

Actually, I don?t think the original deal was a mistake. It just should have been for two years, not three.
-JM

You’re probably correct. Sorry.

pecosbill

Your example of getting a 3GS for yourself under a new contract and transferring the 3G to a family member probably IS possible. I’d ask.
__
So, is anyone else seeing your no-cost upgrade date in 2010? Mine is in Dec 09 which makes me wonder if they are doing a last ditch effort to lock people in as long as they can before the announcement that the exclusive agreement has ended. I got my iphone at the end of July 08.

BanjoBanker

I don’t get the huge deal Verizon folks make about waiting for an iPhone on the Verizon network. My experience with Verizon sucked! Crippled features on the handsets, absolutely atrosious customer service and spotty coverage in my area. I complained about the customer service to the shareholder service people ( I own both Vodafone and Verizon stock, quite a bit of both) and got nowhere. Since it was a compnay phone, I just quit using the dang thing and went with my personal phone through Cingular at the time. My point is, Verizon is not the panecea some think. They have the same contract terms AT&T have and are equally inflexible.

Lee Dronick

Crippled features on the handsets, absolutely atrosious customer service and spotty coverage in my area.

The crippled features on the handset was my point earlier about letting Apple call the shots. From what I understand the carriers wanted the iPhone to be crippled and only Cingular would give Apple carte blanche.

James Bailey

I just read that the Palm Pre can’t surf and use the phone at the same time. That the limitation was the CDMA radio. I have no idea if this is actually true or if Verizon would have the same problem. But if they did, would you still think Apple is losing millions in sales?

How about Verizon limiting the Blackberry Storm to not have WiFi. If Verizon blocks the CDMA iPhone from having WiFi, would you still think Apple is losing millions in sales?

Verizon is known for very restrictive policies on the phones on their network. Do you think Apple will get everything they want with Verizon? If not, do you still think an iPhone that has missing features will sell as well as the current iPhone?

FInally, why do you believe that Verizon will allow early adopters more subsidy dollars than AT&T? What is that based on? As far as I know, Verizon has the same sort of subsidies as AT&T. So why would S. Jobs be fuming over AT&T’s subsidized price and contract length? Do you really think Verizon is going to give out more subsidies for a lesser contract length? You are dreaming.

Lee Dronick

I just read that the Palm Pre can?t surf and use the phone at the same time. That the limitation was the CDMA radio. I have no idea if this is actually true or if Verizon would have the same problem.

I don’t have a Pre, nor I have yet to try one, so I too don’t know if it is true or not, but read this story about surf ‘n cell. The story, and some others, say you can not do that. Well from what I read if you are on WiFi, you can, but on EVDO you can not unless it is enabled by the carrier. On the plus side at least the Pre can multitask!

Terrin

I’d be happy with T-Mobile.

TitanTiger

Of course, the other option would be, if Verizon still wants to play “cripple the phone” is to simply open up the iPhone to everyone BUT Verizon.  Make a CDMA deal with Sprint, allow TMobile to utilize the current GSM one and keep AT&T in the fold.  Verizon has what, 25-28% of the US market right now?  Such a move would make the iPhone available to about 70% of US wireless customers.  I wonder how cocky Verizon would be then?

TitanTiger

Correction, as of the 4th quarter 2008, this was the market share breakdown in the US:

Verizon 30%
AT&T 29%
Sprint 18%
TMobile 12%
All others 11%

So, open the iPhone to TMo and Sprint and you’ve got about 59% of the market (assuming the number remain static and you don’t have anyone leaving Verizon or other carriers to jump on the bandwagon).  I think such a move would give Verizon pause before they decide to dictate to Apple what their hardware can and cannot do.

Nemo

While revenues are essential, they are not the goal.  The goals for Apple are three:  (1) To make an insanely great device; (2) Provide users with an insanely great experience as they use that device; and (3) given the first two forgoing constraints, achieve that penetration of the market that maximizes profits, not revenues.  Apple, under Steve Jobs, has never paid for market share with low price that are not long-term profit maximizing.  So, while I don’t disagree with the gist of Mr. Martellaro’s forgoing argument, I would modify it to substitute maximizing long-term profits, under the constraints, supra, for revenues.

I would also consider the advantages of working with one network carrier that drove Apple to negotiate an exclusive deal with AT&T.  Remember that, as Verizon’s General Counsel testified before Rep. Markey’s Committee, Verizon turned down the iPhone, because it refused to accede to Apple’s terms.  AT&T, on the other hand, was willing to make the necessary modifications to its network; give Apple the freedom to control the physical design, functions, and capabilities of the iPhone, except where it impacted AT&T’s business model; and give Apple the right to brand and market its iPhone.  And AT&T was willing, prior to the App Store, to give Apple a slice of subscribers’ subscription revenue.  Prior to the iPhone, wireless network carriers (Carriers) controlled all of that, and Verizon refused to surrender that control, initially, for example, telling Apple that the iPhone couldn’t do WiFi, because, prior to the iPhone, Verizon did not permit any cell phone on its network do WiFi so as to force Verizon’s customers to use their minuets on the network to communicate and access the web and thereby protect and enhance Verizon’s revenues.

Apple was also able to strike a deal with AT&T that probably improved the users’ experience, at least for those users who are able to get reception.

Perhaps, the iPhone’s tremendous success has made Verizon regret its decision to reject the iPhone on Apple’s terms and shown Verizon and the other Carriers that more profit is to be made by letting the smartphone OEMs innovate, rather than suppressing innovation to protect legacy revenues.  However, the question of whether another exclusive deal is both profit maximizing for Apple and provides the best user experience for the majority of Apple’s customers, as opposed to U.S. distribution with two or more Carriers, is a difficult questions that involves more than maximizing market penetration or capturing what could be additional, yet unprofitable, revenues, no matter how much I and, I am sure, the vast majority of Mr. Martellaro’s other readers wish to keep pants on his hindquarters where they belong.

xmattingly

John nails it.? ATT?s one-size-fits-all data plan keeps a lot of us from getting an iPhone.? This won?t change until the exclusive provider monopoly is broken.

Would love to trade up from my iTouch, but don?t need unlimited data, and don?t need a $40/month voice plan.? Would love to be able to pull up a map while I?m in the car, but not at a cost of $1600 for a two year commitment.?

The unlimited data plan is the true subsidy fiasco.? Moderate bandwidth users shouldn?t have to fork over $30/month for so somebody else can upload videos of their cat.?

I?m waiting for a Verizon iPhone, so I can dump my current ATT phone that can?t even make a call from my own living room.

Ditto on all that. The iPhone is definitely a landmark device, but it’s growth potential is going to drop like a rock if Apple can’t either a) come up with an iPhone Lite (or iPhone Nano, as some have guessed the possibility of) with lesser features & a cheaper plan, or b) bring the iPhone to more carriers, with more flexible price plans.

$1600 was definitely a no-go for me, too… that’s a whole freakin’ computer, for chrise’ sake. In fact, what I didn’t spend on a 2 year iPhone plan is going to go towards one of the new Macbook Pro’s that was just released.

If there was a plan that was, say, $30-35 a month with a $10 or so data plan available, I would seriously consider an iPhone. Until then - like you, Tim, I’m sticking with my iPod Touch.

John Martellaro

I did ask AT&T about moving to a family contract.  Handing down the old iPhone 3G to my wife and starting a new line of service with a 3G S. Then swap SIM cards. In addition to the $199/$299 for the iPhone 3G S and $35 line activation fee, the monthly charges just about double for two data plan and text enabled iPhones. Ouch. Still pondering that outlay.

-JM

pe8er8

In Canada, you have the option of opting out of the data plan all together. It costs me, with a corporate discount, $18/month. Add in taxes, internet access fee and it cost me $28 month. With Wi-Fi access to the web its not a bad compromise!

Dirt Road

Nemo nails it. If there’s any company out there more “my way” than Apple under Steve Jobs, it’s Verizon. And Verizon isn’t doing it to enhance the customer’s experience. A few years ago, Mrs. Road was complaining loud and long about Cingular’s network in our area, and switched herself & our daughter over to Verizon. I had recently replaced my phone, so I was “stuck” on Cingular??which starting working a lot better soon after the girlies made the switch.

Verizon, of course, crippled their phones to the point where they couldn’t even use the built-in USB or Bluetooth interfaces to transfer photos, videos, or voice recordings to our computers. I had no problems doing that, nor did I have any trouble transferring MP3 files *to* the phone ? and using them as either songs or ringtones! AT&T wisely allows you to go off-net for file transfers, leaving more bandwidth available for phone and mobile ‘net. Sounds like a major DUH to me, but Verizon is truly that short-sighted.

Now I could see T-Mobile being the next US carrier to have iPhones, they seem to be even less control-freakish than AT&T, but their coverage in my (red)neck of the woods is atrocious. However, they allow their Crackberry phones to hook up to local wifi hotspots & use them as femtocells, but they still ding your minutes while you’re talking over wifi (a woman boarding with us learned that one the hard way). AT&T doesn’t even provide that option, although their (pay-for) wifi is available for free for iPhone owners.

If one could make/take Skype calls over wifi on an iPod touch, that would be awfully useful for people who live in areas with lots of coverage.

Artgrnlf

The concept of proprietary equipment is truly America. In other countries you purchase a phone and then a SIM card for service, how quaint. It is time we got beyond the phone companies telling us what we can and can’t use and allowing us the freedom to choose. Isn’t that what America is about? Oh, sorry we have been redirected. It is Corporate and Government America that tells us what’s best for us these days. Well, maybe it’s time for a new (peaceful) revolution giving power to the consumer again. Perhaps Apple’s divorce from the great ATT will be a start.

Signed: A frustrated iPhone/ ATT user

estern53

I think Apple would love to have the iPhone with as many providers as possible but I just can’t see that happening with Verizon. its such a backward thinking company. As you may have noticed the Palm Pre debuts with Sprint not verizon and for the simple reason its not in verizons DNA to have a phone like that. Like a lot of people have said they cripple even USB connections to your computer. In the early days of cell phone I always thought they were too expensive for me I really did not care about how well my connection is I never intended to make long phone calls. So i went with Sprint then T-Mobil since i was going to Europe a lot and it was easy to unlock my US phone and just buy a SIM card in Europe. The only reason I went to AT&T was the iPhone. Over all the service has gotten better in the last 2 years and in NYC I find fewer and fewer dead spots. We will see what terms verzion and Apple come to. lets face it the iPhone is a netbook and i don’t need anything esle.

AdanC

iPhone wouldn’t be going to verizon per se.

Verizon is one control freak that another control freak wouldn’t like to do business with. Besides CDMA is on the way out and history so why would Apple invest in a CDMA phone and I believe Apple is willing to forego the billions rather than deal with verizon who bragged about not signing the exclusivity contract with Apple and regretting it ever since. I believe if Apple had buckle down the iPhone experience wouldn’t be what it is today so guys thank your lucky star that the iPhone is not on verizon.

By this time next year AT&T will have more subscribers than verizon or I go to my office without underwear. LOL

CyberBob

There is another way around this.  Apple could make an iPhone that is “carrier neutral”.  Allow us to purchase and install a SIM card for the carrier we choose.  The iPhone is not tied to one carrier, and we get to shop around for the best deal for our particular needs.

Apple and the iPhone has enough of a following and clout to pull this off.

bwils

Of course this the 7th or 8th largest city, and metro area, in the USA. With a market that size AT&T is going to have good coverage.

I’m in Chicago, and being the 3rd largest market in the US, I can tell you the service here is atrocious.

Lee Dronick

Sir Harry Flashman said: Of course this the 7th or 8th largest city, and metro area, in the USA. With a market that size AT&T is going to have good coverage.
I?m in Chicago, and being the 3rd largest market in the US, I can tell you the service here is atrocious.

Your weather is atrocious too smile

Are you in the city or one of the suburbs? I wonder how much the big buildings affect cell signals, it could be like being in one our deep finger canyons. Get out onto the wide and flat mesas or prairie and it could be a different story.

GJ

up from my iTouch,

I know your just one of the unwashed masses, but there is no Apple product called and iTouch. There’s an iPod Touch, or “the touch” but no “iTouch”.

When you say “iTouch” to people who work around this stuff you look like an idiot.

As for the whining about the subsidy plans, Verison being in the deal as absolutely zero to do with this and any idiot knows that.

Okay… so let’s say Verizon could sell the iPhone and Apple’s features were all supported on their network. You purchased an iPhone 3G last year with a 2 year ATT contract and now want a 3Gs with Verizon.
Your options:
1. pay the early termination fee to AT&T.
2. Keep your current iPhone and plan along with the new one
3. Give your existing iPhone to a family member and let them take over the contract payments
4. Forget about the 3G, stop making payments and sell the phone to someone else

Which of those options do you think will mean that AT&T doesn’t get their money?  If you answered none, then you are correct.

All smartphone are subsidized this way. The only differences is that Apple has made the smartphone main-stream.
You people cried when the original iPhone cost $600 with no subsidy.
Now you complain that the iPhone 3G subsidy that got you an iPhone 3G for $200 is unfair.
Retards!

GJ

o, open the iPhone to TMo and Sprint

The iPhone uses GSM radios.  The reason for this is that GSM is the world standard in mobile phone protocols.

Only two carriers in the US support GSM AT&T is one of them. T-Mobile is the other. To open the iPhone for other carriers means making a new model of iPhone, going through testing, building and distributing an entirely new SKU. Not to mention the FCC approval process.
Doing this would be stupid on Apple’s part for a SKU that would represent an extremely minor percentage of the product line’s sales.

The ENTIRE world using one iPhone and the people who want to use Sprint using another iPhone? Seriously, what do you think that percentage would be? 1%. Maybe? Why would Apple want to spend the resources on such a project?

barrybrown

I know your just one of the unwashed masses, but there is no Apple product called and iTouch. There?s an iPod Touch, or ?the touch? but no ?iTouch?.

From 1984 until 1997, there was no Apple product called a “Mac,” but that’s what everyone called them. I find myself slipping up and saying “iTouch,” too, even though I know it’s the iPod Touch. It’s just shorter and easier to use the nickname.

barrybrown

There is another way around this.? Apple could make an iPhone that is ?carrier neutral?.? Allow us to purchase and install a SIM card for the carrier we choose.?

This would be ideal, but it wouldn’t work with Verizon since CDMA phones don’t use SIM cards at all.

I can see Apple producing a dual-personality phone: one with both GSM and CMDA radios. It would simplify manufacturing and distribution. Users could choose whichever carrier he or she wanted, and even use the phone overseas. However, this would no doubt anger the dozens of other carriers around the world who all have exclusive deals with Apple.

As long as iPhone sales continue to climb, there’s no way Apple or the carriers will allow the user to choose. Once sales plateau, Apple will be looking for ways to expand the market. Opening it up to competition among carriers—both GSM and CMDA—will do that.

DaveGee

Hmmm wanna make any wagers on what cellular carrier the author is married to?

cb50dc

I just read that the Palm Pre can?t surf and use the phone at the same time. That the limitation was the CDMA radio.

I’m in a peculiar minority of those who have never owned a cell phone at all, so I’m the first to acknowledge I’m ignorant on some of these things. That said, I may be considering the purchase of one soon (probably an iPhone, sure) so I want to understand better the relative value of certain features.

In that context, please offer a few examples of how urgent it is to surf the web while making a call.

Honestly, I’m not being at all sarcastic, nor even facetious. Right now I simply have trouble seeing why this is considered any meaningful limitation for anyone other than, say, law enforcement or emergency first responders.

Thanks.
cb

barrybrown

Good question, cbsofla.

First, let’s make one thing clear: on the iPhone 3G and later, you can surf while calling. The original iPhone could not.

That said, it’s not necessarily about being able to surf the web. It’s about doing anything requiring Internet access: looking at maps, checking email, looking up restaurant reviews, etc. Being able to do these things while talking to your friend about where to meet for lunch, or getting directions to an important meeting, are invaluable.

The fact that you can do these things without thinking about it on the iPhone are what makes it so great. Just be sure you’re using some kind of hands-free device so you can see the screen while talking.

cb50dc

on the iPhone 3G and later, you can surf while calling. The original iPhone could not.

Another key fact I didn’t know. Very helpful.

Being able to do these things while talking to your friend about where to meet for lunch, or getting directions to an important meeting, are invaluable.

That’s all I could imagine—which, again, I personally don’t see the need for, outside of a critical situation. Remember, only rarely do I use my wife’s cell (usually if our kids are on the land line, and I don’t want to bother getting my headset out to connect via Skype), so I—as a technological anomaly—still don’t see the need for doing those kinds of things simultaneously.

HOWEVER: I do understand that it becomes the norm, just as I’ve come to take for granted the tech that I do use today. I’m sure that if I do get an iPhone, in just a few months (or sooner) I’ll expect to do all these things from a roadside or a public restroom as well. be just as spoiled wink with the and certainly that much more hooked on the Apple juice.

In fact, if I did have an iPhone today, most likely I’d have already bought that stupid HangTime app. :D

Meanwhile, thanks for clarifying.

cb50dc

be just as spoiled wink with the and certainly that much more hooked on the Apple juice.

Sorry. I don’t find a preview or edit function, so I’ll correct it:

I’m sure I’ll be just as spoiled wink with what I do have, and certainly that much more hooked on the Apple juice.

Probably evident from the context, but I dislike clutter.

daemon

First, let?s make one thing clear: on the iPhone 3G and later, you can surf while calling. The original iPhone could not.

The iPhone 3G can only surf while on a call while connected to a 3G network. If you are connected via GSM, GPRS, or EDGE, you will not beable to talk and surf at the same time without being connected to the internet via WiFi.

This is true of all phones that are connected via GSM/GPRS/EDGE.

David

Out of honest curiosity, you think there is even a chance Cook uses “Numbers” for his spreadsheets?  Honestly?

xmattingly

Out of honest curiosity, you think there is even a chance Cook uses ?Numbers? for his spreadsheets?? Honestly?

Why wouldn’t he - is that so hard to conceive?

John Martellaro

It’s an Apple product. That says it all. From my experience, if there’s something he doesn’t understand about Numbers, he is shown. If there is something that doesn’t work or he can’t get working, it is made to work. The Executive Briefing Team with subject matter experts is just a phone call and a short walk away. Guess who does the walking?
-JM

David

When I worked at Apple we used Excel for the Mac when it came to analyzing sales figures both for the US, Australia, and EMEA.  Even then, Numbers was an option but I never saw anyone use it or talk about migrating to it. However, a lot of things could have changed in a year’s time and you may be privy to some information about executive staffs’ application usage that I am not.  So I didn’t mean to imply you are wrong, I was genuinely curious based on my own experience there.

cb50dc

The iPhone 3G can only surf while on a call while connected to a 3G network

Another very practical pointer for people like me who are just beginning to learn the cell sorcery. Most people on this forum may take these things for granted—thanks for some iPhone 101 from this potential member of the freshman class.

Lee Dronick

Numbers more than meets my spreadsheet needs so I need to ask a question about Numbers v Excel. Can Cook use Numbers to do his work? Is it lacking something he would need that is included in Excel? I understand that are somethings in Excel that are not in Numbers, but are they critical?

Sam Farah

I dont see why people are complaining that the iphone plan is 30 bucks a month. ppl comon thats 1 dollar a day. compared to any other 3G device i.e. blackberry or htc phones through at&t network is the same price. most of the ppl have the iphone are using it for online purpose more then talk. Verizon on the other hand have very unpleasent customer service, using cdma which ppl world wide dont even hear of it. and even if u look at thier pda devices.. its the same price. blackberry storm was defntly an imation to the apple iphone with no wifi and it was 400 dollars at first release… I love my iphone and i love at&t. I worked for at&t’s dealers for 4 years. i refuse to work for verizon or sprint which i had many many job offers there. any wireless company has the same upgrade policy. if every one can get an iphone at a discount rate. then apple and mostly at&t would be loosing $$$.

barrybrown

I was a Verizon customer for three years. I dealt with both in-store customer service and telephone support. I came to this conclusion:

The folks in the stores are motivated by selling phones. When they sell a phone, they get paid. They are not paid to offer support, nor do they get paid when you buy a plan. They don’t care whether your reception is good or bad, or whether you can figure out how to use feature X—unless not figuring it out would result in you not buying a phone. Consequently, the only times I went to the store was to buy a phone and/or have it repaired.

By contrast, the people manning the telephones at Verizon’s call centers are there to support your calling plan. They are concerned about your experience with Verizon as a service because that sort of thing affects whether you’ll stay with Verizon and recommend them to your friends. I found their call center staff to be very friendly and helpful. I was pleasantly surprised that they always followed up on service calls and ensured that I was satisfied that the problem had been solved.

Unless things have changed at Verizon in the two years since the iPhone came out (and my reluctant defection to AT&T), I can’t wait for the possibility that Apple might be using them as a carrier in the future.

daemon

Numbers more than meets my spreadsheet needs so I need to ask a question about Numbers v Excel. Can Cook use Numbers to do his work? Is it lacking something he would need that is included in Excel? I understand that are somethings in Excel that are not in Numbers, but are they critical?

It doesn’t have visual basic for applications. But then, neither does Office 2008.

Lee Dronick

By contrast, the people manning the telephones at Verizon?s call centers are there to support your calling plan. They are concerned about your experience with Verizon as a service because that sort of thing affects whether you?ll stay with Verizon and recommend them to your friends. I found their call center staff to be very friendly and helpful. I was pleasantly surprised that they always followed up on service calls and ensured that I was satisfied that the problem had been solved.

I had that same experience when I was with Sprint. The call center was friendly and helpful, sending them an email question resulted in a call. Going into a store was usually not pleasant. I have yet to have a reason to use AT&T iPhone service in the year that we have had our iPhones.

Chicago Joe

Verizon is going GSM/LTE anyhow. At this point, Apple is probably just waiting for that. There will be no CDMA iPhone, nor does there need to be.

Richard

Is there a carrier that does not suck?

I have tried them all.  They are all the same.  I think it is the nature of wireless ... it is not an easy product to deploy for any carrier.

As far as tethering and MMS, AT&T is holding back because they know their network does NOT have the capacity for it.  If you are complaining about their 3G network now, imagine if every iPhone user was sending MMS messages and using their laptops with their iPhones over that network?

I used to work in AT&T (Bell Labs) ... it’s a very conservative and SLOW company.  They think things way too many times before taking action.  Right now I bet they are calculating the impact of iPhone users using these new features on their network and it ain’t looking pretty.

cb50dc

Is there a carrier that does not suck?... They are all the same.  I think it is the nature of wireless ... it is not an easy product to deploy for any carrier.
...AT&T is holding back because they know their network does NOT have the capacity for it. If you are complaining about their 3G network now, imagine if every iPhone user was sending MMS messages and using their laptops with their iPhones over that network…

Good point. It reflects an interesting imbalance in the technology: for most of us (not all), the speed and power of most of our desktop and laptop units outstrip our real-world needs. With the phone-level operations lagging behind (for whatever reason, whatever company), many people get aggravated simply because it’s so unlike the smooth performance we’re accustomed to otherwise.

Maybe it would help it we just imagine five years ago. Shoot, three years ago.

I imagine that in 10-15 years people will be complaining about how the iHolograph still projects slightly fuzzy images, and the voices still sound a little too vocoded. grin

JT

Chicago Joe said on June 21st, 2009 at 10:14 AM:
Verizon is going GSM/LTE anyhow. At this point, Apple is probably just waiting for that. There will be no CDMA iPhone, nor does there need to be.

Well said. A CDMA iPhone is a pipe dream at best. Apple doesn’t produce products to penetrate 20% of the market. GSM is the global standard and will remain the technology of choice for Apple. Tim Cook has been quoted as saying this.

MZ

I would also consider the advantages of working with one network carrier that drove Apple to negotiate an exclusive deal with AT&T.? Remember that, as Verizon?s General Counsel testified before Rep. Markey?s Committee, Verizon turned down the iPhone, because it refused to accede to Apple?s terms.? AT&T, on the other hand, was willing to make the necessary modifications to its network; give Apple the freedom to control the physical design, functions, and capabilities of the iPhone, except where it impacted AT&T?s business model; and give Apple the right to brand and market its iPhone.

@Nemo

Excellent post, but one correction. Apple negotiated the deal with Cingular not AT&T. Cingular were the ones who agreed to Apples terms, and realised that they could make big time profits by letting Apple do its thing. Its when the AT&T merger went through, and AT&T’s greedy corporate culture and strategy took over that things went down the drain. I dont think Apple foresaw that things would change that drastically from AT&T to Cingular (if i remember correctly, Cingular used to have good service and customer care).

Although both Apple and AT&T have both benefited greatly from this deal until now, the iPhones overwhelming success has changed the picture going forward, especially for Apple.

The iPhone may not have the best camera, mail support, video, etc, but it does have a flawless user experience. If there is one thing you can point to to explain the iPhones success, it would be the excellent user experience people get from the actual device. Apple may have been able to sell millions of iPhones despite AT&Ts; blunders so far (dropped calls, horrible customer service, poor 3G reception in some markets, expensive data plans, the whole MMS/Tethering thing, etc) but eventually its gonna catch up to them as it slowly chips away at that flawless experience that is key to the iPhones success.

Apple is not gonna stand by idlely and watch AT&T ruin that experience (as experienced by those snarky comments Apple sent AT&Ts; way regarding MMS and tethering during the recent WWDC), and unless AT&T can get their act together (doubt it), the iPhone will no longer be exclusive to AT&T in the US.

The only other way Apple will stay with AT&T is if AT&T makes them a very lucrative revenue sharing offer that they cant refuse, and even then, I think Apple is better off allowing more carriers to get the iPhone.

P.S. Personally, I would love to see the iPhone on T-mobile, where you can get more bang for your buck. I dont know why everyone keeps bringing up Verizon, as it is overrated, still operates on CDMA, and are just as expensive as AT&T if not more. Also, supposedly thier customer service isnt that much better than AT&T.

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