Monday, July 16, 2007

An AT&T view on the iPhone

The AT&T-Apple partnership on the iPhone is decidely one-sided: Apple gets all the credit for the product and, if things go wrong, AT&T is invariably blamed. Here's a note sent to me by a friend in Missouri who works for AT&T:

Buying an iPhone, whether it is an Apple Store or an AT&T store is very easy. Once you make the decision to buy, you should be out of the store--once you speak with a sales person--in five minutes. It's that fast. Of course, that's because the activation process takes place via the iTunes site. There is no other way.

Now, you're going to be excited--like a five year-old on Christmas morning--with your iPhone purchase. That's fine--up to a point. Many of the activation problems have resulted from new owners who hook up to the device, click realize than rather keeping their same number--whether they're a current AT&T Mobility customer or they want to "port" their number to AT&T--they've accidentally signed up for service with a brand new phone number.

So slow down!

There is no way to "unlock" an iPhone, that is, to deprogram it so it can work on another GSM carrier's network, whether in the United States or overseas.

If you try to mess with it, or hand it over to an "expert," you've not only voided the warranty, but the phone probably won't work again. But you've got a unique paperweight on your hands.

Don't be a cheapskate with your iPhone--by a leather case for it. Would you buy a car without a bumper? Accidents happen, and over the next 24 months---you cannot buy an iPhone without a two year contract--your device will be dropped.

Outside of billing issues, Apple handles all iPhone problems. If your device is defective, call 1-800-MYIPHONE, or go to an Apple retail outlet. AT&T staff are unable to help you--don't travel to a AT&T store, and demand to see the manager and try to "work the system." The system is as simple as this: You'll be dealing with Apple. Besides, very few AT&T employees---and only the top executives--have an iPhone, or have handled one other than the demo units in the store.

Whether it's an Apple or AT&T store--and you arrive and find out their out of iPhones, direct fulfillment--having the handset shipped to you, works fabulously. Currently, purchasers are receiving their iPhones five business days after ordering it.

The handset works great. The negative, is that multimedia messaging, that is picturing messaging doesn't work on the iPhone. Pictures can be sent via e-mail though.

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