The following article is reprinted from PC World’s Techlog at PCWorld.com.
As nifty as the current iPhone is, there are muliple reasons not to buy it: It’s got a slow data connection, it doesn’t yet run third-party applications…and at $399 with no subsidy from AT&T, it’s kinda pricey. We know that a 3G iPhone is on its way, and that Apple’s upcoming iPhone SDK will make the phone into a first-rate platform for apps of all kinds. And now it looks like that 3G iPhone might be downright affordable.
In theory, at least. A Fortune blog is reporting that a source has told it that AT&T will offer a $200 subsidy for iPhone buyers who sign up for a two-year contact, bringing the price of the hip handset down to $199. That would also address one of the most irritating things about the first-generation iPhone: The fact that AT&T currently makes you sign up for a two-year contract and doesn’t offer any sort of price break in recognition of that commitment.
Read iPhone Central’s analysis of the Fortune report
(I hate phone contracts myself, so I’m assuming and hoping that you’ll also be able to pay the full-freight $399 for the iPhone without a contract.)
I don’t have any reason to think that Fortune’s report is false, but it always pays to be extremely cautious about accepting any fact about an upcoming Apple product as gospel until Steve Jobs himself declares it to be so. And the New York Times’ Saul Hansell points out that it seems implausible that an iPhone sold at an AT&T store could be had for $200 less than one sold at an Apple Store, especially since Apple-Store iPhones must be activated on AT&T’s network anyhow. The bottom line is that I wouldn’t be the least bit amazed if the $199 iPhone turns out to be fantasy.
And speaking of being suspicious of Apple rumors, the Fortune story says that the 3G iPhone will be 2.5mm thinner than the current model. Just a few days ago, Engadget was reporting that the new phone would be a tad thicker than its predecessor. Somebody’s got it wrong. (My money’s on Fortune being right; it’s hard to imagine Steve Jobs ever releasing a next-generation product that’s even a nanometer thicker than the one it replaces.)
As I’ve mentioned before, I passed on the first-gen iPhone, for all the reasons I outlined at the top of this post. But if I can snag the 3G model for $399 with no contract, I’ll be tempted.