iPhone (hey, everyone is talking about it)

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

What do you pay?

Purchase price: $599. Throw in California sales tax, and that is actually $645.

The cheapest plan available: $59.99. A month. For two years. I won’t even go into how incredibly crappy this plan is (okay, fine: you get 200 text messages, 400 minutes, and I don’t even want to know what calling costs after that). For the record, plans go up to $219.99. No, that is not a typo. PER MOTHERHUMPING MONTH. (Oh-oh, I used the bad word again…)

Anyway, let’s just roll with the bottom line here. 24 months of that will run you about $1,439. Assuming you call less than say… ten minutes a day. But sure, let’s roll with that.

The total cost of owning an iPhone for two years?

$2,084. AT LEAST.

Pardon my French, but anything requiring that kind of outlay had better perform sexual favors. Without limit. Upon request. Instantly. And well.

What do you get?

You get a large, heavy, breakable, so-easy to smudge IT COMES WITH A SHAMMY device that purports to be an iPod, mobile Internet device and cell phone. Well, on the phone part the reviews are in, and fairly unanimous: this is the worst GSM phone made in the past decade or so when it comes to interference, sound quality, reception and ease of dialing. Wow. Impressive. So how much am I paying again for this?

But it’s so much more! You can browse the Internet on it. And the user interface is fantastic! Yes it is. On the other hand, there’s a reason that the commercials only show pages AFTER they are fully loaded. Why? Because the download is so slow, it “makes you pine for dial-up”. Well, that’s okay, it’s not like it’s expensive, right? Oh. Wait. Besides, any modern, fully-functional site that uses Flash, Java or AJAX simply will not work. Yes, that means that MapQuest is NOT going to be fun to use. If you can get it to work at all. Now, to offset this, Apple has worked very hard with leading sites to make their content work on the iPhone in spite of its limitations. They really went for the important ones. Like… YouTube.

What… YouTube?

Yes, YouTube. You can watch YouTube videos on your iPhone just fine. If this does not strike you as supremely funny and pathetic at the same time, you are very scary and sickening in ways I cannot describe. You are also, quite probably, the proud owner of an iPod and cannot wait to get an iPhone. I would like you, at this time, to go away.

But it’s so much more! It’s totally, like, totally like an iPod. Sure. With 8GB of storage. Without the option of expansion. No, I’m not kidding — not only is the flash memory embedded and irreplaceable, there is no expansion slot. So sure, 8GB. That pretty much kills its usefulness as a movie player: what significant amount of PodCasts and/or TV shows do you think can fit on that amount? Squat? Correct.

Even funnier: Apple came up with a new, super-duper headset plug. Which means that yours will not fit without a $15 adaptor plug that will hang off the side of your phone like a short-bus category wart.

I give you $600 right now. An 8GB MP3 player (the smaller, lighter, and yes it takes an actual normal headphone kind) will run you about $149 — assuming you like to waste money and buy an iPod. A cell phone, with full Internet service, costs about $89 with plans starting at $39.99. Somehow, somewhere, the iPhone sounds like a Really Bad Idea.

So what’s your problem?

iTunes is. Not only will this mother not sync with anything other than this particular heap of badly ported overly intrusive offensively invasive inflexible and Jeebus can the damned thing start up in less than 20 minutes please sad excuse for an actual music management application… it actually requires you to install it to ACTIVATE THE PHONE. For me, that’s a deal-breaker right there. I would rather lose my spleen than install iTunes on any machine I have anything to do with. I hate it so much I do not wish it on my enemies. It’s only half a shade away from Anthrax.

There’s one more thing. The entire point of the iPhone is that the entire user interface has no buttons. Which is absolutely amazing. I’m not kidding there — again, Apple seems to be able to take existing technology and do truly good things with it.

On the other hand, think about it.

Touch screen.

Flat glass.

No buttons.

You are driving to work. You need to make a call.

You are doing 72 in the center lane.

You cannot tell whether you are pushing the right button, because there ARE no buttons.

I predict oodles of bonus crashes caused by people to have to look at their spiffy $600 phone to make a goddamned call. I hope e-baying the damned thing will incur a healthy part of their funeral cost.


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