On Thursday morning, many consumers will get their first taste of a ritual that some of us have been performing since time immemorial—or 2007, at any rate. They’ll line up outside their local Apple Store or Verizon Wireless outlet and wait patiently for their chance to buy the latest technological gadget.
I will not be among them.
I know: I’m crazy. Last year I moved half a mile to a new apartment, and while all my belongings seem to have made the trip, I lost one thing: a decent AT&T signal. Whereas my previous domicile had rarely dropped below five bars, I now found myself unable to get more than two at my new stomping grounds—and most of the time it hovers around one or zero. In the last ten months, I’ve missed and dropped more calls than a butterfingered outfielder with the sun in his eyes.
So why the heck wouldn’t I already be camped outside my local Apple Store with an “I <3 Verizon” t-shirt and a song in my heart? What possible reason could I have for holding back?
So glad you asked.
Reason number 1: Frugality
As someone who’s ended up with a new iPhone every year for the last four years, I’m perpetually tied to AT&T by a contract signed in blood. Even prorated, the early termination fee for escaping out of my AT&T contract before the term is up is still more than $250, meaning that the cost of purchasing even the 16GB Verizon iPhone 4 jumps to $450. As the old adage goes, “Don’t change horses midstream…because it will cost you an extra $250. Or you might drown.”
Reason number 2: It’s an iPhone 4
I’ve had an iPhone 4 for almost eight months now, and I’m quite happy with it: it’s speedy, holds my media, and even lets me access the Internet on the go. In fact, I’m happy enough that I have very little impetus to swap it out…for another iPhone 4. Of course, there’s really only one reason to switch from an AT&T iPhone to a Verizon iPhone…
Reason number 3: What’s a phone?
Sure, my AT&T iPhone 4 doesn’t exactly make or receive phone calls in my apartment as reliably as I would prefer, but by and large I don’t really use it for that: I use it for surfing the Web, checking my e-mail, and even—on occasion—for sending text messages. In the increasingly rare cases where I do need a phone, I turn to my digital voice service from Comcast—which I’ve also hooked up a Google Voice number—and it’s worked just dandy for the last ten months. (It doesn’t hurt that the bundle package of Internet and digital voice makes my monthly service bill lower than subscribing to Internet alone.)
Reason number 4: The iPhone 5
I have no inside information on the iPhone 5—not even the hint of a whisper of a rumor. And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway. But as sure as I am that Fox and ABC will cancel most every show I’m interested in next season, I’m equally certain that an iPhone 5 will appear this summer, as it has every year since the original iPhone’s debut in 2007. No doubt it will sport some earth-shattering new feature that will have me salivating uncontrollably (an unfortunate medical condition). And that phone of phones will almost certainly be available on AT&T and Verizon. So why not wait? I’ve made it this far—what’s another four months?
Make no mistake, though: when the iPhone 5 surfaces, I’ll be thinking very hard about exactly which cart I want to hitch my horse to for the next year or more. And while the ability to make phone calls in my apartment might be icing on the cake, well, I really like icing.
[Dan Moren is a senior associate editor at Macworld. Don’t call him, he’ll call you. (No, seriously, he doesn’t get calls.)]