Why I won’t be getting an iPhone just now


My interest in the new iPhone has never reached critical mass, but after finding out that I can get 15% off AT&T cell phone plans through my work, I started thinking again. The basic family plan, after discount, would be $100 per month, which is more than what we’re paying now ($60/month) but possibly worth it if the iPhone is as great as some say. But my interest tanked again when I saw the coverage map near my house:

The finger on the map is roughly where I live. The orange color indicates “good” coverage, which according to AT&T means that it “should be sufficient for on-street or in-the-open coverage, most in-vehicle coverage and possibly some in-building coverage”. If I stray over to the other side of our subdivision into the yellow, it’s only “moderate”. Most of where I live and work is no better than “good”.

Sorry: But if I’m going to drop $300 on the phone and $1200 per year on the service, I want a little better than being able to maybe-sort-of use the iPhone inside my house and only a relative degree of certainty I can use it at all, even standing out in the front yard.

It reinforces my conception that iPhones are for city folks and people who travel a lot, who make up a large and vocal portion of the pro-iPhone blogosphere and who don’t have to worry about whether they’ve got cell phone tower coverage in the first place. As for the rest of us, well, I don’t think the network is ready for us yet.

Or am I missing some important point here?

12 Comments

Filed under Apple, Technology

12 responses to “Why I won’t be getting an iPhone just now

  1. Don’t forget the $30 per month of the data plan you’ll need in addition.

  2. havetheythoughtofthisyet

    You’re definitely not missing any important points. Tough break on residing within the “good” portion on the northern edge of a dead zone.

    The iPhone is awesome, though. I was an “early adopter” and loved it then, but now having the AppStore (and 3G access in my metro)… Wow is all I can really say.

  3. Justin

    If you’re primarily interested in good web access from your phone, try Opera Mini. I use it on my phone and am quite satisfied.

  4. virusdoc

    You are missing the fact that you have 30 days from conception to return the phone and cancel the plan, for a full refund. Try it. If you aren’t satisfied, return it.

  5. True, but the full refund is minus is 10% restocking fee (not as bad as it could be, but still).

    Even though traditionally I very much dislike Apple as a company in some ways, I switched to AT&T from Verizon just for the iPhone 3G, and I must say I am thoroughly impressed. Countless features, application store (most free), true mobile internet, the iPhone/3G truly is a mobile computer, allowing you to have the world in your pocket (via the internet).

    I would give it a try and see if the amazing features don’t make you become even a little more tolerant of ‘moderate’ coverage.

  6. Geek Porn Girl

    I don’t think it’s a rural/city dilemma.

    I live in a tiny town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California and have been an AT&T (and their two or three predecessors in my area) user since the beginning. I would describe my area as decidedly rural. But AT&T has been the only consistent cell coverage in lots of the little towns around me since my phone was the size of a shoe box. And, even with our hills, valleys, twists and turns, service has gotten better and better over the years.

  7. Where’d you get that map?

  8. Mark

    I live in an area with “moderate” coverage. It usually translates to 1 or 2 bars out of 5. I get a dropped call maybe once a month, and my iPhone is my “everything” phone – home phone, cell phone, work phone. (Don’t ask.) I have been VERY happy over the last year to finally have a phone that “just works” and does everything very easily. My only gripe was the lack of ability to connect to work email in the 1.0 version of the software. Now that it is upgraded to 2.0, mail and calendar items get pushed to me, and I can be out and about and still be up to date. (Although, that means I am hopelessly connected almost 24/7 – I have gotten pretty good about ignoring the email dings during sleeping hours.) 🙂

  9. @Mark: When you’re only getting 1-2 bars, how is the connection quality when you’re indoors? When I have that kind of signal strength on my current phone, I get all kinds of problems.

  10. Get a 3G iPhone, you won’t regret it!

    The software quirks will be ironed out shortly and the iPhone is really a paradigm shift for mobile phones (like the original Macs was for DOC PCs).

    Truly amazing (or should I say incredibly great )

  11. Mark

    Even with 1 or 2 bars, audio coverage is good. Audio quality in general is great for both speaking and hearing. It is easily the best phone I’ve ever used, even when you ignore all of the “smart” parts. (Started out with a Motorola flip phone in ’96 and haven’t looked back!)