I’ve spent way too much time surfing the Internet over the last few evenings. I have read just about everything I can on AT&T pricing, new iPhone features, 3.0 software updates, SIM cards, jailbreaking, smart phone reliability & customer satisfaction surveys, SIM card compatibility, different cellular technologies, cellular service provider customer satisfaction in different regions of the country, Skype on the iPod, and just about every other thing I could find. I have spent more time online researching calling options in the last week than I have spent using my cell phone in the last 6 months. I don’t even own one of the damned things, so yeah, I am a little obsessive when it comes to research.

All this was motivated by the question of whether or not I wanted to get up early this morning and join Rich in line at the Apple store to get the new iPhone 3G S. I am sure that is where he is right now. If I am going to make the switch, now would be a good time. Plus, a really well-written article on Ars Technica summed up the differences between the major smartphones and clarified why I want an iPhone. But in all the material I read, a couple things really stuck with me:

  • $30.00 a month for a “data plan” in perpetuity. Forever. Competition be damned.
  • No option for month-to-month with any smart phone, which used to be there, then was not. Which was supposedly changed again, but will it change back?
  • The vast sea of negative comments on blogs that sing a unanimous chorus of “We don’t like AT&T service” was not offset by similar dissatisfaction with T-Mobile or Verizon. Consumer Reports and J.D. Power surveys are in line with this as well.
  • The Coverage Viewer for my area shows I am awash with strongest signal strength possible. Looking at the map you get the impression I need to worry about radiation poisoning, the signal appears to be so strong. Yet, when I speak with neighbors about their iPhones’ coverage, they need to move to the south-west side of their homes in order to get ‘reasonable’ call reception or any data services.

So what comes to mind with the 3G S release? The Neo quote from The Matrix: “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger” …. and wait for someone else to support the iPhone. Yep, that is the way I am voting on this one. While I feel slightly guilty at letting Rich fly solo, I probably would have walked out with an AirBook, which my wife would have promptly appropriated. I have waited two years thus far and, despite my fear of being labeled a gasp late majority adopter, I am going to have patience and wait. And the more I read, the more I think there are a few hundred thousand like me out there, and both Verizon and T-Mobile know it. I am going to bet that come next year the iPhone will be available through other carriers. I am also willing to bet that Apple is savvy enough to know, especially if their product marketing and sales teams are reading the same blogs I am, that there is a very large contingent of buyers waiting for better service. What they lose in what will (probably) be a sweet deal offered by AT&T for an exclusive, they more than make up for in the huge numbers of people who want the highest rated mobile computing device on the market with better coverage.

Not that I am totally bashing AT&T: In their defense I know they are dumping a bunch of money into their network to not only improve coverage but also bring in new technologies and capabilities. And that they did alter the upgrade pricing in response to the iPhone upgrade pricing furor. Still, AT&T is negotiating with Apple to retain the exclusive deal because they know they cannot compete head to head in the marketplace and are worried about losing 2-3 million customers in 12 months. The exclusive deal is certainly not in the consumers’ best interest, and does not provide the competitive forces needed to alter AT&T’s service record or pricing structures. I am not entirely sure what prompted this, but I am willing to guess it has to do with the iPhone. Love Apple products, but I am sitting on the sidelines until I have a choice of providers.

And one more time, in case you wanted to take the Project Quant survey and just have not had time: Stop what you are doing and hit the SurveyMonkey. You’ll be glad you did! (And thanks to Qualys, Tenable, and BigFix for promoting it).

And now for the week in review:

Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences

Favorite Securosis Posts

  • Rich: Adrian’s Virtual Identities post. Our notions of identity and trust are being challenged like never before in our history. It’s a fascinating transition, and I can’t wait to see how we’ve adapted once the first generation growing up on the Internet takes charge.
  • Adrian: The most recent installment in our Database Encryption Series, Part 4: Credentialed User Protection.

Other Securosis Posts

Project Quant Posts

Favorite Outside Posts

Top News and Posts

Blog Comment of the Week

This week’s best comment comes from reppep in response to the Virtual Identities post:

I know there is much lower hanging fruit, but this all started with Stacy (remember Stacy, this song is about Alice^H^H^H^H^HStacy?). Yes, strong passwords help, but you seemed to be recommending cross-linking email accounts, which is what I’m addressing.

If Stacy had yahoo, gmail, & hotmail all linked to each other, then after they broke yahoo, they’d check her account and see the other email addresses, and probably manage to do ‘password recovery’ on all 3 accounts, setting them to different passwords and Insecurity Questions as they went. Endgame: 3 compromised and difficult/impossible to recover accounts (do you think you could convince all three companies that you’d been hacked, despite such strong evidence that you were the imposter?), very strong credibility (“Stacy told me she’s having trouble with gmail, so please use hotmail this week.”), and a lot of data, including password reminders for other services she doesn’t even remember.

Webmail services are just not very trustworthy, so you can’t make much of a security model out of them.