I think one of the things that shocks people most about me is that as a technology blogger, and a gadget enthusiast, is that I don’t own an iPhone. Until recently I was using various models of the BlackBerry, and now I’m using the HTC Hero, which runs Google’s Android operating system (OS). It is not that I have anything against the iPhone, quite to the contrary, I would love to own an iPhone, but until Apple breaks its accursed exclusivity deal with AT&T, it’s just not going to happen.
I have a laundry list of reasons of why I came to hate AT&T over the years, and suffice to say that I would go without any phones before I would ever have an account with that company again. And it’s obvious the company hasn’t changed its ways with new, much more restrictive, data plans, never mind the idea you could be threatened with legal action for daring to voice your displeasure to the CEO of the company via e-mail … you know, something he never even has to see if he chooses not to.
Then there is the plight of the dropped calls. You constantly hear stories about how people can barely make it through a call on their iPhone without it dropping at least once. Some people have said it is the fault of the iPhone hardware, yet I have a friend with a basic flip phone on AT&T that finds his service spotty at best, and also suffers from dropped calls. Funny, I don’t see an Apple logo anywhere on his phone. I simply don’t get why in its fourth year of life this phone is still tied to a company that constantly claims its improving its network, but yet the problems persist.
Even moving beyond that, it doesn’t make business sense. Apple is currently second only to RIM, the makers of the BlackBerry line, for operating marketshare in smartphones. You take into account this is on only one carrier, and that is an extremely impressive number, but nor imagine if Apple opened it up to even more carriers. That number would sky rocket and people would be asking “RIM who?” I’m currently on Sprint, and even if we didn’t get it on my network of choice, I’d be thrilled to see it at least break free to other carriers, and get away from this insanely stupid arrangement that currently exists.
What kills me is that numerous surveys have shown I am not alone in these feelings. Survey after survey has shown that the number of people who would convert to an iPhone from their current phone should it come to a different carrier is at 30 percent or more. What in the world is making Steve Jobs and company turn their backs on that many new customers?
It’s obvious that this exclusivity deal, which no one outside of a select few know the details of, must promise Apple the moon, the stars and the sky to stay exclusive; it’s the only reasonable explanation as to why this arrangement persists. While the rumors of a Verizon iPhone rear the head seemingly every week, I’ve just given up all hope at this point of anything like that happening. Until Steve Jobs stands on stage with a giant Verizon logo behind him, I will no longer bite into those rumors no matter how many “proven sources” tell all of the tech blogs that it is “definitely” happening.
Until that day, I’ll just have to keep passing on the iPhone.