Why do journalists insist on saying the iPhone costs $2000? - Macenstein

Why do journalists insist on saying the iPhone costs $2000?

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

I always find it funny when columnists list the iPhone’s cost as somewhere around $2000, instead of the $499-$599 it sells for. Well, not funny, really. I find it confusing and frustrating, actually, and I am beginning to question their motives.

In order to reach this insane number, they factor in 2-years of service into the price. That is perhaps one of the stupidest and most misleading arguments a tech journalist can make. EVERY smart phone/PDA requires a service plan, and the iPhone’s is one of the cheapest unlimited data plans you will find. The iPhone costs between $499 and $599, period. You might as well add sales tax and the cost of the gas you used driving to the Apple Store to the “shocking” costs.

Such is the argument Tom Yager, chief technologist of the InfoWorld Test Center, made in a recent article. Tom may have a cool job title, but the title of his article “iPhone: The $1,975 iPod: Apple’s and AT&T’s high-price gadget is a heartbreaking triumph of greed over genius” seems written specifically to incite iPhone users and Apple fans into a defensive, traffic-driving frenzy.

Yager goes on to make the (inaccurate, in my opinion) point that “Apple went to great lengths to tick the feature table boxes that make the device look like everything a professional could want in a mobile device: cell phone, PDA, e-mail, Internet client, and media player.”

No, Apple has NOT marketed the iPhone to business professionals. In fact, they specifically are discouraging businesses from adopting the iPhone at the moment. You cannot even activate an iPhone on a business account. A giant company cannot migrate their entire workforce to the iPhone even if they wanted to (unless they sign up for a couple thousand family plans). In reality, the iPhone (version 1.0) is being marketed to consumers/prosumers as an introduction to a smart phone, and it can indeed handle the PDA/Mail/Internet needs of the majority of them. To call the iPhone “The $1,975 iPod” is to imply that you get no extar value over an iPod when buying the iPhone, and that is just plain crazy.

I will be the first to admit the iPhone has some short comings, some of them glaring, (see our giant iPhone wishlist) however most are easily addressable via software updates, and I have every reason to believe Apple will fix the majority of these issues in the coming months (how often do the Treos and Blackberry’s of the world get updated with new features?).

Tom Yager is not the only one out there ignorantly bashing the cost of the iPhone. There are others who for whatever reason think you can’t spend $500-$600 on a Blackberry or Treo with a worse camera, less storage, horrible music/video playback, clunky interface, extremely lame internet browsing, and no multi-touch touchscreen, all on more expensive monthly plans.

So the real question is, why are these “journalists” so angry at the iPhone? Basically, I feel it is because they bought into the iPhone hype, the love the way it works, but unfortunately, it can’t yet do the one or two things they need it to in their specific workflow, so they angrily bash the hell out of it. Get over yourselves, folks. The iPhone isn’t meant for you. The iPhone is meant to serve as your average consumer’s introduction to the smart phone way of life, and it works far better for them than a clunky (and more expensive) Blackberry or Treo would.

52 Responses to “Why do journalists insist on saying the iPhone costs $2000?”
  1. CeeAyy says:

    Scott, Scott, Scott,

    Entering in all nines is not a hack. It’s an option, not a glitch in the software. You are not required to give your SS# just to get phone service, nor should that be a requirement. Not everyone has a social security number believe it or not. Also, if you don’t have good credit, then what I wrote still stands. Those people will have service without a two year requirement. Not everyone will have a two year contract.

    Nobody likes to hear that they are wrong, but just accept that you spoke on something you didn’t know about completely.

    So, one more time… you are not required to sign up for a two year contract. Whether it be because you don’t have good credit or you refuse a credit check, you don’t need a two year contract.

  2. Scott says:

    Just wanted to point out that the first Scott (me) is different from the subsequent Scott’s.

    The 2-year cost, as I worked it out when I researched my new phone purchase, is about $2K for both the iPhone and a Blackberry/Windows Mobile phone with data and voice plan. That’s changed a bit with the recent iPhone price drop. So the increase in the cost of the data plan generally offsets the subsidized cost of the phone. In my case, I picked up a Blackberry Pearl for $0.01 from Amazon since I’m a new account and I signed a 2-year contract. My TCO comes out a bit less than an iPhone over two years.

    Basically, the big difference is how much you want to put down up front I guess.

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