Just a couple of weeks away from the June 29 release of the Apple iPhone, we seem to know everything about the world greatest gadget* except the one thing that every mobile phone user really needs to know.
Yes, the iPhone is unmistakably cool. Apple, again, has created a device that has both gadget freaks and fashion slaves salivating in anticipation.
Yes, we know that the retail price is US$499 for the 4GB version, and US$599 for the 8GB version. We also know that at these prices, iPhone users will be bound to a two year service contact.
Yes, we know that the iPhone will be available from Apple and AT&T-owned AT&T Mobility stores, though it’s unclear whether AT&T/Cingular franchises and resellers will be able to stock the iPhone.
Yes, we know that while developers won’t be able to develop third-party applications directly for the iPhone, they will be able to use Ajax and CSS to create Web-based applications, since the iPhone will come with its very own version of Safari (though Mac World’s Rob Griffiths is unconvinced that this will provide a real solution for developers).
It appears that we know everything about the iPhone except the one thing that mobile phone users need to know to really make a decision about whether they should make the switch — how much is it going to cost to run?
Given that anyone who wants to move over to an iPhone will also need to switch over to AT&T as their carrier, isn’t it about time that Apple and AT&T came clean about how much it’s going to cost to actually own the iPhone? Isn’t about time that the details of the iPhone service plans were released so that consumers can make an informed decision?
Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge speculates that based on AT&T’s existing voice and data plans, a 4GB iPhone plan, with 450 minutes of voice and unlimited data, might have an operating cost of US$2419 over the two years of the service contract — $40 per month for 450 minutes of voice calls, $40 per month for unlimited data, and $499 to “buy” the iPhone in the first place.
If this were to be the case, than the iPhone wouldn’t only be expensive up front, but it would also be expensive to own.
We can only hope that Apple and AT&T are being secretative about the iPhone service plans because they’re finalizing the details, and not because they’re planning to charge iPhone users an ongoing premium for the pleasure of owning an iPhone — that would be a dirty little secret, indeed.
* the term “world’s greatest gadget” is used tongue in cheek