Ruining The Experience

I was one of the first suckersearly adopters to get the iPhone. And it truly is the best smartphone out there, bar none. No Blackberry or Windows Mobile phone comes close.

And even though the iPhone 3G is faster and thinner, and has GPS, I’m not sure about the upgrade. It’s not the phone, but the way in which AT&T and Apple are ruining the iPhone experience that’s keeping me away.

The first iPhone could be activated at home. The process of buying a iPhone was easy. No in-store activations meant that even on the first day, there was no problem getting through the line. You brought the phone home and could connect it to AT&T’s cellular network from the kitchen table. It was a great experience, and made the iPhone the easiest phone to buy.

That won’t be the case with the iPhone 3G. Instead, it’s back to the old in-store activations. That means that it will take 10-12 minutes per person to activate the new iPhone. No leisurely unboxing for buyers, but a lot of waiting. The first day will be brutal if people will have to wait for activations.

A 3G iPhone is a long awaited device, but if Apple and AT&T can’t deliver the experience that they did with the first iPhone, they’ll have a harder time capturing the same magic. With the data plan for the iPhone 3G being $10 more per month, a $199 iPhone, while still cheap, isn’t quite the deal it would seem.

The iPhone is moving into the corporate world, but sadly, the prices and the efficiency of getting service is starting to look a bit too much like the other commodity smartphone vendors out there, not like the Apple experience we’ve come to expect.