Hi, this is David Speiser. I’m going to be contributing to LD on occasion. I’d love to hear your comments and opinions. Please feel free to say hi, and tell me what you think.
Today I’m thinking about the cost of a new iPhone 3G. Many people were astounded by the drastic price reduction Steve Jobs announced at the 2008 WWDC. $200 for an iPhone with 3G data speeds and built-in GPS? Sweet.
Since then however, many people have cried foul. Or at the least they’ve discoursed on the hidden costs of the new iPhone, specifically charges for data service. Anthony Ha at VenturebBeat covered this issue regarding the actual cost of the phone over the lifetime of the mandatory 2 year contract. Anthony and MG Siegler also note the increase in the cost of text messaging. About THAT part I agree with them. It is uber-lame to charge so much for texting, especially when it’s so cheap to do. Walt Mossberg also offered up a review at All Things Digital. One of his less positive comments was in regards to battery life.
What I want to say is this: I don’t think these “hidden costs” are hidden or inappropriate. And I’ll tell you why.
First, there’s the data costs. Yes they’re higher. But you know what? We’re probably going to be transmitting a LOT more data than we used to. Personally I will be using email much more often, both to read and to send, now that the speed is more functional. I also expect to make more use of the web browser since websites should now load at usable speeds even when not connected to WiFi. All that data transfer is going to cost more money, so I think it’s sensible to charge more for the data plan.
Also, and this is not a scientific test, but it makes sense to me that if Walt was using the device to check email and browse the web more (and faster) than was possible with the G1 iPhone, then the battery is going to exhaust more quickly. Did you ever notice that if you’re mousing and typing a lot on your laptop when you’re running off the battery, the battery drains more quickly than if you leave it sitting alone or mostly just read emails? Same deal applies to the phone. If you’re leaving it in your pocket a lot of the time because the web browser’s too slow, you’re going to save a lot of juice and make it through the day on one charge. If you’re checking and sending more email and visiting more websites because you can, the battery will drain faster. Now I believe that 3G data activity also affects power usage differently than Edge data activity, but my point remains. If you’re using the phone more, you’re going to drain the battery faster.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’d prefer that the cost for the data plan remained the same. Heck, I’d rather it was cheaper, or free. And I’d love a longer battery life, infinity + 1 if I could have it. But I can’t. And I don’t think these costs are hidden or inappropriate. To me, the pretty much make perfect sense.