Susie Did Not Buy an iPhone

Susie Ochs's picture

Susie Did Not Buy an iPhone

 

I don't have an iPhone.

 

This is not exceptional, I know. Lots of people don't have iPhones. Even people who work for Mac magazines don't universally have them (and in case you're wondering, to my knowledge, no one at Apple has offered us a review unit -- we bought our own).

 

But not only did I not get one on June 29, I recently decided, after much hemming and hawing, that I'm not getting one for the forseeable future. I do think it's a truly amazing device. I'm just not buying it.

 

And I came close. Hilariously close. I was even in line on launch day, at an AT&T store in Daly City, CA, but unlike several of my coworkers, I wasn't out in the field covering the launch. I was really just waiting in line. Leslie was in downtown San Francisco at the flagship Apple Store to document all the hoopla, so I was her backup, charged with procuring the Official Mac|Life Office iPhone in case the Apple Store sold out before she could get her paws on one. (Everyone knows how important it is to back up! Groan, bad joke...)

 

I waited in that line, somewhere in the neighborhood of #30, for three hours before the store opened. There were some funny moments (like the guy who didn't know about the 6 p.m. on-sale time and assumed we were all hanging outside, like, for fun or something, and the dude with the black leather jacket and matching fanny pack who I heard brag that he worked "in the Silicon Valley industry,") but mostly it was more boring than golf on TV. I sent Roman a couple of emails from my current phone, a Motorola RAZR, in attempt to feed him some stuff for his live blog. (I don't think he got them.) I read a whole issue of Wired from cover to cover for the first time in months. I left voicemails for a couple friends. Ho hum.

 

At 6:00, when the line started to move, and a few minutes later, when early adopters began to giddily scurry out of the store with their shiny new prizes, the excitement, naturally, ramped up. Just not mine. Leslie called from the Apple Store, and it sounded like pandemonium over there. How close was I, she wondered. I told her, pretty close, maybe five minutes away? Her position was about the same. Ooh, a race to get the office iPhone! That's exciting, right? Right? Finally, I was on the precipice, literally three people away from entering the store and completing this quest.

 

And then I left. Well, first I heard back from Leslie that our 8GB iPhone had been purchased at the Apple Store, meaning I didn't have to get one anymore. You know, for the office. Since I was so close to the door, I had about a minute to make my decision. Go inside and buy my own, as I'd been anticipating with glee since the Mac Expo keynote where the darn thing was unveiled? Or just bail, get in my trusty Joey JoJo Junior Subaru, and jet back to SF for a vegetarian burrito from Taqueria Cancun? Or cruise back to the office, meet up with Roman and Leslie, and play with their iPhones until they pried them from my vicelike grip, at which point I'd most likely cave in and order my own from Apple.com?

 

I went home.

 

Leaving the line was actually pretty funny. I turned to the guy behind me (who had already chided me once for not advancing as automatically as everyone else, carelessly leaving gaps between me and the fellow iFans in front of me), said "That's it for me! Goodnight, everyone!" and stepped under the velvet (OK, OK, plastic) rope to head to my car. I heard the gasps, but my only regret is not turning back around to check out the faces. Oh well.

 

Why didn't I get one? Basically, I wanted to think about it. I wanted to be able to play with it first, and I wanted to wait and hear what kinds of problems the first-revision units might have. I'm all for early adopting in theory, but in practice, I can only buy so many toys, so I want to make sure each one is something I'll really use, and use a lot. And something that will last, something I won't feel like upgrading in a year, even if today's gadgets do seem more disposable all the time.

 

I love Apple products. I adore my iPod. And Steve's right, I hate my phone. Not to mention that I tend to be juuuust disorganized enough that having a handheld email-and-Web machine might really help me accomplish a few things in transit that I would otherwise forget about by the time I'm back at my Mac. I am a great candidate for the iPhone. But dude, it's just too expensive! I mean, $599 for the phone (there's no way I'd get the 4GB one to save $100, either) isn't even that bad, IMHO, but $600 plus $60 per month for 24 months is another enchilada. That's $2,039 before any taxes or those extra fees tacked on to every phone bill. That would buy a lot of burritos.

 

So for a while I was torn, because while the price is high, I'm not even able to say that it's not worth it. This is an awesome phone! And iPod! And Internet machine! But for me it comes down to four things: 1) I'm cheap, 2) I don't trust myself to stay in love and free of buyers' remorse for a full 24 months, 3) I'm incredibly afraid that I'd lose it or break it before the contract was up, and of course you can't get insurance on it, and 4) I'm even more afraid that, if I did buy one, another, better one would come out before my two years were up, and then of course I'd go ahead and buy that one because it's SO much better and I can't imagine life without it. Thus sucking me further and further into the Apple Spiral of Products That You Can't Refuse.

 

Sometimes it's better to not know what you're missing. In my case, I know what I'm missing, and I'm still choosing to miss it. Am I crazy? Is the $60 a month I'm saving going to make my life better, or will I just wind up blowing it on Diet Coke and talk therapy? Feel free to take me to task in the comments section, below. In the meantime, I think I'll take some of the money I didn't spend on an iPhone...

 

...and finally buy myself a Nintendo Wii.

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Ben

I was looking through some older content on this site and remembered that I commented above six months ago. Just because I can: I ended up not getting an iPhone, the plan just wasn't practical. Not to mention that I would go off the deep end if something ever happened to it. So I did end up getting a phone and plan (that costs exactly half of what the iphone plan does from t mobile). So cheap...

For Christmas this year however, my brother gave me an iPod touch. Amazing device. No contracts, hefty and unnessisary bill, I don't have to take it everywhere I go. It just works better for me.

Needles to say, I am so happy I didnt buy an iPhone, especially after that price cut!

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Anonymous

I think she better take one and use it. She can even watch ipod movies on it and i like the iPhone so i dont like the article much.

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Anonymous

Already many people add up comment on it, I wont repeat the things, Infact i just want to saay that i like the IPODs and iphone.I like to make Ipod downloads on them.

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Jaems

I have to give you a bit of congrats here. Like everyone else here, I'm bitten by the Apple bug, however the Iphone to me was premature, expensive, and above all disposable. You iterated several reasons why you did not purchase I have to say they are nearly identical to my own. I'll be satisfied with my horrible Motorola SLVR phone for now and my Black(Crack)Berry for work email.

It's good to see that even someone that writes for ML can stop negate the fanboy "rub" on things.

Kudos to you!

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Aaron

1) they didn't offer a tester iPhone? crazy! 2) Yea I would definitely love to see those faces that you left behind in Daly City. Hah they're probably still talking about it to this day. You've done a very good deed. You have become a conversation starter for many iFans in line there. 3) I have been lusting over that iPhone ever since that keynote in January but when you compared the $2,039 commitment to a Wii... well it helped me realize what a $60 per month commitement means... yea commitments suck sometimes. 4) Hate to break one of those reasons but Apple is now offering an extended warranty for it but it probably won't cover repairing the iPhone from sudden drops of terror. I'd hate to scratch that beautiful screen. 5) Yes... the technology world is moving at such a fast pace that we're all just sitting at the edge of our seats waiting on what amazing new gadget will be released next. Especially waiting for news from Cupertino to see what Steve still has up his sleeves. I still have my 3G iPod.. yea the one from 5 years ago and I still haven't updated in waiting for that next big iPod. My sis already got the new video lineup but I couldn't bare committing to another iPod when rumors say that the next generation is coming soon. Have fun spending that money because you could always borrow the office iPhone and replace it with a cutout :]

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LJB in Connecticut

I totally understand why Susie didn't buy an iPhone. I wasn't even planning to buy one myself, even though, unlike Susie, I was infatuated with it in advance and really, REALLY wanted one.

Still, I couldn't justify the price, and I couldn't honestly say I needed it. I had a Palm Tungsten C that my life was pretty much centered around, a cell phone which, though boring and clunky, was perfectly serviceable, and my ever-present iPod (I'm a professional conductor, composer, and publisher). So there was no iPhone in my immediate future.

Until...my Tungsten C died. On June 26. And despite my wife's pointed questions on that subject, it really wasn't my fault. I mean, who know they weren't dishwasher safe? (Just kidding. It honestly just died, and that was the third one to do so, which is relevant only in that it was the last straw - I wasn't about to replace it again.)

Anyway, for two days, I called around for an in-stock iPhone, with no luck, until Sunday when, in a brand-new ATT store most people didn't even know was there yet, I found, a) a single iPhone, and b) a sales guy who agreed to hold it for me for 30 minutes.

I bought it, with a great deal of the same trepidation Susie had about "would I love it", would I get tired of it, would it not measure up to my hopes ( which hovered somewhere in the area of, I want it to make my life perfect in every way), and would Apple come out with a newer, better, etc. about a month later.

I am happy to report that, in spite of some of the shortcomings that have been widely reported, I haven't had a single moment of remorse. I just love the darned thing.

Yes, I wish the Edge network were faster - but it's fine for checking my email, and I can do it anywhere I have a cell signal. It's not so great for web surfing, but I do most of that at home on my Mac, not on a cell phone.

The one thing I miss from the Palm that the iPhone doesn't offer is the ability to store HUGE amounts of miscellaneous information, from my grandson's ever-changing clothing sizes to the books I've read by my fav authors (so I don't buy repeats - I can never remember in the book store what I've already read) to ... well, you get the picture. Lots of info that I often accessed away from home, and that I can't conveniently put into the iPhone (the iPhone Notes are a poor substitute at best.)

Still, here's the biggie: at long last, instead of the Palm, cell phone, and iPod that I virtually always carried on my person, it's now all combined into one elegant electronic entity that's smaller than any of the others were and that I absolutely love using.

I imagine part of it is that at my age (remember the afore-mentioned grandson), things no longer have to be perfect to ring my chimes. They just have to be really good, and the iPhone is that and more.

I'm no longer as compelled to have the latest and greatest as I used to be. I tend to buy cars I love and drive them for 7 or 8 years. My Mac G5 1.6Ghz tower is, what, three years old, and I won't replace it until the music software I use in my publishing business requires an Intel Mac. And I'll be perfectly happy to use this first-gen iPhone for a few years (ok, 2-3 years) even though there will undoubtedly be drool-worthy new ones available.

So I simply want to report that yes, unlike Susie, I took the plunge, and I'm really glad I did. No regrets here!

LJB in Connecticut

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Kiran Konathala

I guess u really are in a position to invest in an iPhone which you could sell at a very good price in case you din't like it! Well, you might want to update the 2 yr projected cost - just sum up your current monthly Cingular(AT&T) bill

Current Bills + ~300 == an amazing all in one device :)

How is it 300?? Why current bill ??

Well the iPhone is hackd for non-iphone cingular plans :)
How 300?? Sell your current phone and your iPod !! As simple as that!!

Come one Leslie, you should be buying one or better yet GIFT me one ;)

Kiran @ http://windows-mobiles.com !!

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Kiran Konathala

Correction - Susie, not Leslie!!

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Terrance

Best Article I read Yet, I thought I was the only apple fan iPhone-less lol... Get a Wii!! It's worth the fun ness :-)

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deggie

I was also in line on iPhone day...sort of. I had fully decided to buy it when it was announced in January, but then I was an active participant in the pre-release forum and after reading everything one of the posters there (Initials: Allan Sampson) convinced me it would be better to wait for version 2.0. or 3.0. Of course he broke down and bought one on the 29th.

I went for my usual afternoon latte and positioned myself where I could watch the line at the AT&T store (sign was still new, used to be Cingular). While watching I saw a woman get in line with no chair (this is in Texas, it was 96 degrees with 98% humidity). I had 2 portables in my new car (another factor in not buying the iPhone) and took one to her. She said her husband was bringing one but was stuck in traffic. I told her if he came to lend it to someone else without a chair, which she did. I also loaned out 2 umbrellas for the afternoon rain squall, set it up where they could use the bathroom at the coffee shop, answered iPhone and iPod questions, etc. They were amazed I wasn't actually in line and offered to give me a place in line at 5:55p. I held firm.

So I'm with you, no iPhone. Of course I'm avoiding Apple Stores, AT&T stores and the online Apple Store in case I slip. And one of the salespersons at my Apple Store says I have to turn in my Apple knife, keychain and TShirts since I didn't buy either the AppleTV or the iPhone.

But my real question is:

Are those burritos REALLY that good?

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Pete Sterling

We are iPhone. You will become one with the Jobs. You will become part of the collective. Your misgivings are irrelevant.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

Locutus of iPhone

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Macintosha Fanatica

I'm an absolute Mac Fanatic, and I agree on this one. It's just an awful lot to pay out for the latest gadget, albeit a magnificent one. I went to the Apple Store, and I could have bought one because they had iPhones left after the line emptied! But in the end, I can wait a little longer to shell out that kind of money. Apple is sure to come out with more iPods and versions of the iPhone. Maybe there will be a cheaper (although fewer features) one that is also cool. Who knows? I've waited this long, so I figure a little longer to see how the landscape shapes up won't kill me!

I completely understand Susie's point of view.

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Anonymous

To be honest I skimmed the article. Do you have a cell phone already? Is it free or do you pay a monthly fee? Because I am not sure how you are saving $60 month by not buying the iPhone. I would imagine you are at least paying $30 a month for your current service. So you are saving only the difference. Now you could sell your iPod to help reduce the cost of the iPhone which is also an iPod. If you have a PDA then you might sell that as well.

As for others who say its not a bargin or the first gen issues sure you can wait. Its new its going to be full price. Since when does a new product come out at a reduced price? In a year or maybe two it will be less money. But you don't have it right now to use and enjoy. If you want to wait for the next 6 months, year or how ever long until they reduce the price then you will save a $100. But hey this is the best Gen 1 product Apple has every made IMHO. So if you want a phone with these features its worth a look.

I understand the iPhone is not for everyone right now. Neither was the iPod but it did catch on after a little while. But a full blown full feature still cost $349 some 5 years or so after its release. Down only $150 off its orginal price of $499.

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Susie Ochs

it's a long story. my current cell phone bill is paid monthly, just not by me - family plan i split with two others, and i pay other utilties (cable and internet) to make up for the fact that i never even see the wireless bill. (i know, i'm quite lucky.) but if i went iPhone, i would also be required (not by AT&T, by my family plan partners) to split from that plan and pay the $60/month plus taxes by myself. So yeah, i'd left that out because it's a specific situation that only applies to me.

 

and i totally agree with you that the next-gen iPhone won't see a significant drop in price. i've had people say to me "I'm gonna wait six monts until the price drops to $350 or so," and I've ALWAYS told them that i don't see that happening. iPods didn't drop in price for a pretty long time; they just kept getting improved capacities and features with the revisions. The iPhone is being positioned as a premium smartphone, so it's gonna have the premium price. so i'm waiting for alternative products (the rumored touchscreen phone-less iPod, the also-rumored clickwheel "iPhone nano," etc.) and/or a bigger, badder iPhone (32GB! A girl can dream...) for about the same money. Just...not this one.

 

I can wait. I'm still using the same 4G 20GB iPod that i got almost three years ago from that FreeiPods.com site. My Motorola RAZR is still at least mediumly trendy (especially compared to the crappy free-with-activation phones I used before it), and i only paid $30 for that after rebate. I guess I just value my money more than the short-term thrill I'd get from being an early adopter.

 

At least for now.

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Anonymous

Will you marry me?

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Anonymous

Why not buying if you are a Mac freak? Everybody spends in an ipod plus mobile phones that don't have half of iPhone's technology. Why not pay for a device that have the best of both worlds? Also, the next version will be in long months, don't expect version 2.0 just after initial release, AND I will have fun with it all this months, in the meantime you will be waiting for a future release and you are going to be using your same old phone that s u c k s. I know it lacks some things, but hey; I am not using any other phone again. My 6 month old Treo 750 looks primitive already.

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Larskydoodle

The key for me (in not getting one) was this sense that it JUST ISN'T A BARGAIN right now. Like Ms. Ochs, I am cheap. I love sexy little electronic whizwangs, but if I don't feel like I'm getting a good deal, I'm much less likely to buy.

I purchased a Sony Ericsson K790a for my most new phone, for two reasons: (1) I wanted the best camera I could find on a phone, and (2) I wanted to have the same sexy phone Daniel Craig used in "Casino Royale." I bought it from an independent dealer, who knocked $150 off the $400 price when I signed a one-year contract with T-Mobile (I would've gotten $200 off for a two-year contract). Sure, I got the phone I wanted. But it was the impression that was getting a deal that sealed it for me.

With the high initial price, the mandatory two-year contract, the lack of insurance.....I just don't feel like the iPhone is a good deal right now. But it's a wonderful, wonderful product nonetheless.

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walker

Id have gotten an iphone if I didnt already have a Palm Tungsten T2 with bluetooth, internet, ect.
I dont even touch my ipod anymore.

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thetony

At the minute living in the uk I dont yet have a choice to own an iphone...but I wont anyway...not yet.

It is too expensive to buy, too expensive to keep.

I already have a macbook and an ipod and a blackberry curve....why do i need an iphone? It wont remove my need for any of the other devices....if it truly was a combining device then maybe but it isn't.

I still need a laptop to work and properly use the net....I have way more music than 8g and want it with me and my blackberry is a far better phone and handles email 1000 times better.

I am delighted that apple have entered the phone market..it can only be a good thing as they improve their product and give everyone else a kick up the backside.

So i am waiting indefinitely

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Ben

Susie:
I definitely can relate to your situation.
-#1: I'm also pretty cheap [funny that we're Mac user's though]. I'm still using my blue and white G3 I picked up in a sad state for $20 [running 10.2 mind you]. The funny thing is, I really don't feel like I need a newer Mac [although I certainly would like a G5+ system].
-As a response to #2, the trick is NOT to fall in love. Steve's said 'distortion field' doesn't work on me. I'm probably just out of range, living in the eastern-half of the United States in all.
-For #3, you say you have an iPod. How's that holding up nowadays [I'm not sure how old that is though]? That might be a good indicator of how you would treat such a device.
-For #4, well, as I said above, if you don't fall in love...

Here's where we absolutely do not relate:
#1: I need a cell phone [I don't have one at all]
#2: I would never put a Wii over and iPhone, I have never liked video-games of any sort [Even though the Wii is something I can actually play]. The fact remains that I just plain out suck at video games, and I don't care to get any better at them.
#3: I was never captivated by the iPhone and it's hype. Two months ago, if I had been asked if I was going to buy a iPhone, my answer would have been 'NO!' But after you've been shopping for a cell phone for a while the iPhone looks really good in the ever-saturated world of cheap phones designed by generic companies [they all look the same with a equally horrible interface].

My few and final last words are:
The iPhone may not be for everyone. IF YOU DON'T NEED IT, DON'T BUY IT!!!! This is the best [if not toughest and coldest] way to prevent 'buyer's remorse'. Don't buy it because it's name is iPhone and has an Apple logo on the back!

But I'll finish up with wishing you good luck with your inner iPhone struggle!

-Ben

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Adam B

I don't blame you. As much as I love my Apple products, I couldn't justify spending that kind of money and not being disappointed in the next year because Apple came out with something better. I was very close to heading down to my local Apple store to buy one. However, I couldn't help but think about all of those people who waited in line for a PS3 and are now wishing they had waited in line for a Nintendo Wii.

You made the right choice!

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Anonymous

I had a very similar experience. Only I rehearsed by buying an Apple TV trying it out and realizing the experience wasn't as good as the fantasy, same with the iPhone. I was thinking... everything in one device, cool!

Then the reality set in, I have an iPod or Macbook Pro constantly within arms reach, what does this thing do better than the real dedicated devices (on which I already have connectivity) that it rolls into one? Nothing!

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logan

the same thing has happened to my ipod touch

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