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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Do the math and leave the iPhone on the shelf

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m a whore for Apple products. I have an old iBook laptop to take notes on, I listen to music on my trendy iPod nano and I’m typing this article on an Apple desktop. If anybody fits the mold for Apple’s target consumer, it’s me.

    So why am I not going to be first in line to throw down a wad of cash for an iPhone when they’re released this Friday?

    Exclusivity. And I’m not talking about the quasi-cool exclusivity of people toting around the latest gadget. I’m talking about the iPhone being exclusively available on AT&T Wireless.

    Although that seems great for the five of you with AT&T, for the rest of us it would mean switching to the wireless service ranked as one of the worst, according J.D. Power Consumer Center’s 2007 ratings.

    Changing services would also mean costly cancellation fees, somewhere in the neighborhood of $175, plus AT&T’s $36 activation fee. Add that to the $599 cost of the iPhone, and you’re looking at $846 to just to land a working product in your hands.

    But wait, AT&T isn’t done pillaging your wallet. Your fancy-pants iPhone requires a two-year contract, which insiders predict to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 a month, or $1,920 over two years.

    At this point you’ll probably want to throw down the $4.99 a month for insurance, bringing the cost owning an iPhone to a whopping $2,885.76.

    Tuition’s not looking so expensive now, is it?

    That might be a high price for sporting the latest trend, but maybe you do have the money, and that touch-screen looks so tempting. Issues with the iPhone go far beyond the price, and span from possible faulty hardware to wiretapping.

    Apple is notorious for hardware problems with first-generation product lines, from battery recalls on laptops to screen-scratching on iPods. Dipping its feet in the cell-phone market for the first-time, Apple is bound to have issues with the iPhone. But it’s OK, because you’ll have to find a location within range of the shoddy AT&T network to use half the functions, so it won’t be getting much use anyway.

    When you do finally get around to making a call or sending an e-mail, it could be more than just the person on the other end of the line getting the message.

    Earlier this month, court documents were released by AT&T detailing the company’s “”spy rooms”” installed on the backbone of their network infrastructure per request of the National Security Agency. These “”spy rooms”” monitor Internet and phone communications, and are illegal, according to a class-action lawsuit brought against the company last year.

    But it’s cool – your outrageously high-priced, touch-screen, wiretapped, might-break-down-at-any-second iPhone is at the cutting edge of technology … right?

    … Oooo, sorry, that’s not true either. Turns out the “”revolutionary”” new iPhone isn’t so revolutionary after all. The phone strikingly resembles the LG Prada, of which designs were released a year before the iPhone: lawsuit pending.

    Even the name “”iPhone”” was trademarked by Infogear in 1993, years before Apple’s iPod/iMac/iLife craze debuted. The two companies are currently holding settlement talks.

    When it comes down to it, consumers should just stay away from the iPhone. It’s dangerously poised to be one of the worst gadget flops of all time; kind of like buying a laserdisc player, it may seem cool at the moment, but in a few years you’ll want to bury it in the desert and pretend it never existed.

    In the meantime, just stick to your working cell phone with its $40-a-month service plan. It doesn’t have the 8 gigs of memory that an iPhone has, and maybe it can’t play TV shows, but it works. So when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere (most likely outside AT&T’s coverage), instead of watching episodes of “”The Office”” on your iPhone and waiting for help, you can call for a tow truck and get home in time to catch the show on TV.

    Andrew Austin is a super senior senior going on his sixth or seventh year of college – kinda like Van Wilder minus the annoying douchebaggery.

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