If you are as big an iPhone geek as I am, you woke up early this morning to see if the new 3.0 software update was ready to be downloaded. It wasn’t, but became available for download around 10 am pacific time. Early reaction to the new software is glowing. The phone seems much more responsive and less sluggish. New Voice Memo feature was much needed, and ability to search for terms across the entire device (emails and apps) makes the phone an indispensible tool.
In all, the new iPhone 3.0 software brings a slew of new features to the wildly popular device, over 100 updates in total. Chief among these are the highly anticipated arrival of cut & paste, MMS, and data tethering. It is a huge update which brings the bulk of ‘most wanted’ user features to the device.
However, all is not joy in iPhoneland. Apple’s carrier partner AT&T, has increasingly upset iPhone customers, threatening the ‘golden-device’ status that the iPhone has enjoyed thus far. In a move that can only be described as short-sighted (or incompetence as the case may be) AT&T will be blocking both MMS (the ability to send pictures and video to other mobile phones) and tethering (using your iPhone as an internet data connection for your laptop) on the iPhone 3.0 software. While both of those features may come at additional cost later this Summer, that is not fast enough for iPhone users. In addition, AT&T is removing the pay-as-you-go option for iPhone customers. And to make matters worse, AT&T has managed to further upset loyal iPhone customers by making them pay a hefty surcharge to upgrade their phones to the new iPhone 3G S when it is released later this week (You can sign a petition to protest AT&T’s customer hostility on Twitter: http://twitition.com/f96aq)
Which begs the question, no matter how much you love your iPhone, how much abuse are you willing to take from your carrier before you simply walk away?
I’m thrilled with the continuous updates and feature enhancements that Apple has been making, but look forward to a day when the iPhone is available on better, faster, and friendlier carrier networks. AT&T has made it painfully clear that they don’t really value their customers beyond the dollars they can wring out of them.
AT&T could be using the limited amount of time they have left in their exclusive iPhone contract to lure in new customers and dazzle them with great service and support. Instead, they have chosen to squander their advantage. Apple may have trained their customers to pay a premium for quality products, but few are willing to pay for outright customer abuse.
I’m sure that many iPhone customers join me in longing for the day when we can break free from AT&T’s shackles and flee to a more customer-centric carrier.
Verdict: iPhone 3.0 rocks! AT&T sucks!