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iPhone Users Angry Over AT&T Upgrade Policy 789

Posted by kdawson
from the fair's-fair-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder dept.
All is not sweetness and light in the wake of the Apple WWDC kickoff announcements, especially concerning the evolution of the iPhone. Reader Hugh Pickens writes: "AT&T will offer the new iPhone 3G S when it debuts later this month at a cost of $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, but only to new customers and those who qualify for the discounted price. AT&T subscribers with an iPhone 3G who are not eligible for an upgrade — those not near the end of their two-year contracts — will have to pay $200 more — $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB model. 'This is ridiculous and slap in the face to long-time loyal iPhone customers like me who switched from T-Mobile and the only reason was the iPhone,' writes one unhappy iPhone customer. 'We have to mount a vigorous campaign to change this policy. Call your local AT&T and ask for the manager and complain. Send e-mails and post in forums everywhere.' The issue is spurring heavy debate on support discussion forums, with some customers supporting AT&T. 'The option you have is to honor the contract you freely committed yourself to,' says one forum member. 'If you want to upgrade early then you will have to pay full price with no subsidy discount. You can't blame anyone but yourself for your predicament.'"
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iPhone Users Angry Over AT&T Upgrade Policy

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  • BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:32PM (#28259197)
    You know Apple releases a new phone every year, and you know AT&T makes you sign a 2-year contract. Either pay the higher price for the upgrade or live through the horror of not having the latest shiny product until your contract runs out.
    • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Informative)

      by puck01 (207782) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:44PM (#28259325)

      I have to agree. I'm not a cell phone guru by any measure, but only offering the discount rate every two years seems to be a fairly standard term in my experience.

      • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Forge (2456) <kevinforge@gmail. c o m> on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:35PM (#28259849) Homepage Journal
        A mere price doubling? These people should consider themselves fortunate.

        I remember nearly a decade ago when our then only phone company sold it's top end cellular to staff at a 30% discount with a 2 year interest free payment plan. They thought it was really a great deal, ontil 18 months later when a new phone matching or exceeding all features of that model started selling for less than the monthly installments.

        As for myself, I have never bought a cellphone costing more than 2X the absolute cheapest phone on the local market. But, that's just because I am not rich.

        Here is a more general rule of thumb: If your phone is crushed by a car 15 minutes after your last backup and those backups are safe, you should only be upset over the inconvenience of being out of touch for a few hours and having to restore on the new phone. If the loss of the phone instrument itself is a cause for concern, you payed too much.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          What is it about a some iPhone users that makes them think that the general rule of lending and new product pricing doesn't apply to them? When a new product comes out, its costs more. Borrowing at interest or signing payment contracts sometimes offsets that new product price so you an get that new product smell. Getting it at new user price requires a two year contract, and a new customer opp for ATNT. When a new car comes out, you can get 5000 back for signing a 60 month lease to 8% interest. It happens w
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CubicleView (910143)
          I agree, you know you've spent too much on the phone if you're more concerned about the car having crushed your phone than anything else in the proximity to your pocket... That being said, shiny things do not last forever, they wear out and or become obsolete quite quickly. Generally speaking you get better value for money with last generation technology, ie stuff that was new last year. But if you want new stuff as it becomes available then you pay the premium. This has always been the case and is not new
    • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skye16 (685048) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:46PM (#28259349)

      Or you could boycott the particularly onerous terms of your contract by paying your ETF and not giving AT&T your money any longer. You and I both know it doesn't cost them even remotely close to 95$ a month for your service - their profit margins are obscene. It's absolutely their right to request you pay that amount each month, and if you were suckered into a contract, that's a blow to you. Learn by your mistake by terminating the contract in the legal manner (and if that means waiting until they change the terms of the contract, so be it) and don't fucking enter another one like it again. Until you tell them you're not interesting in paying obscene costs or entering into their service with any contract (even forgoing your precious ball and chain for a while), they'll keep bending you over and blasting your asshole repeatedly. If you want to just lay there and take it, that's your prerogative, but kindly have the decency to shut the fuck up about how you're not receiving a perceived fair bargain from the entity you willfully signed your custom away to.

      • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:58PM (#28259497)

        All well and good to posture, but those having an iPhone under the only contract terms available have sunk costs and can't do a thing to recover them.

        The phone is locked to ATT.

        ATT subsidized the iPhone heavily and wants to recover their costs. Its understandable.

        Yes, ATT should allow you to pay off your ETF (which by the way should ONLY include what they owe Apple for the phone) and let you start a new contract with a new phone.

        What could be more fair?

        • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated&ema,il> on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:23PM (#28259735) Journal
          You know what's somewhat ironic about all of this? At this point, the iPhone is probably the easiest phone to unlock EVAR, and is also the poster child for phones chained to tailored calling plans.

          Education goes a long way...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MikeBabcock (65886)

          What kills me is that people still get into these plans willingly. Its been years since most of them started doing the cell phone game, and they should know better by now. I looked at the three year plan one cell company wanted me to enter into years ago and decided to buy the phone for full price instead.

          Of course, our short attention spans allow us to both sign a two year contract and expect a new phone the next year on that same plan, and be confused why we have to pay more when the phone is worth what

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by anagama (611277)

            I looked at the three year plan one cell company wanted me to enter into years ago and decided to buy the phone for full price instead.

            Of course, our short attention spans allow us to both sign a two year contract and expect a new phone the next year on that same plan ...

            I bought my phone 7 years ago this month. Paid $180, did have to replace the keypad at some point with one from a different phone of the same model I bought off Ebay for $3. The thing still works great, but sadly, Qwest is going out of

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by rirugrat (255768)
        ...and don't fucking enter another one like it again.

        I didn't know Ballmer owned an iPhone.
      • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gumbi west (610122) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:21PM (#28259715) Journal
        AT&T has a profit margin of 10%. If you think that is insanely high... I'd rather not be in business with you.
        • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Funny)

          by cencithomas (721581) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:31PM (#28259831)

          AT&T has a profit margin of 10%. If you think that is insanely high... I'd rather not be in business with you.

          [citation needed]

          • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Insightful)

            by drsquare (530038) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:38PM (#28259883)

            Right here:
            |
            |
            |
            |
            V

          • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:55PM (#28260033)
            You use a wikipedia reference when wikipedia would answer you? Just go to the AT&T article and look at the little numbers on the right. Looks like $119 billion in revenue and $10 billion in net income so it's so about 1/12 it's in the ballpark.

            Sometimes I wonder how you spend $100 billion in one year. Where can you go and say "I have $100 billion to spend"? Delay upgrading your corporate phones one 6-month cycle, that's what an odd billion? That will feed me for 500,000 years. Fire all the sites' maintenance guys who work on the southwest middle lawn. Get the other guys at each site to cover for him. In return, 500,000 years of the warm fuzzy feeling commoners get knowing that while they starve their taxes are making their adored queen comfortable and happy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the_humeister (922869)

        What exactly do you consider "obscene" profit margins? If you look at AT&T's income statement [yahoo.com], their profit margin is on the order of 10%. That's not anywhere close to "obscene." For comparison, Microsoft's margins are closer to 30% [yahoo.com].

        • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday June 08, 2009 @09:15PM (#28260249)
          Probably because Microsoft's developed expensive products but after that they just have to pay people to stick CDs in boxes and direct the incoming dump trucks full of gold coins. I'm not surprised to see such a high margin if they're in the "sit on our successful product and let it sell for awhile" phase of its operations.

          I bet any sales of product based business model will generally have a higher margin than continuous providing a servic
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bertoelcon (1557907)

            I bet any sales of product based business model will generally have a higher margin than continuous providing a servic

            And thats why the Media Industries won't change with the times.

        • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mysidia (191772) on Monday June 08, 2009 @10:01PM (#28260829)

          They could have a 10000% profit margin in their text messaging and cellular plans business.

          While having massive losses or only modest profit in other businesses. It just depends on how much of their business is cellular.

          A lot of the business ATT has in phone companies it acquired is not cellular. Think plain old telephone service.

          Long distance, and other carrier services...

          Recall that in the areas where they are ILEC, they have build-out requirements imposed on them.... highly massive infrastructure costs to deploy certain telco services to all residences..

          And "tarrifed" services, which are price-regulated, so they can't charge person A and person B in the same community different prices for their basic phone line (just because it's 100x as expensive to reach person B due to geography, doesn't mean they can charge person B $200/month instead of the normal $15/month, in order to recover costs).

          Yes, it can be expensive to deploy hundreds of antennas in a county to provide wireless connectivity. I won't say mobile services are dirt cheap.

          But compared to the costs of providing land line service to millions of homes, it could be just plain tiny......

          And i'm sure ATT has other businesses.

        • If you honestly think that you can take an income statement from the whole of AT&T and extrapolate the iPhone profit margins you are out of your mind. For all we know they are losing money hand-over-fist in one area and are compensating with obscene markups on iPhones.

          Instead, let's go with what we know. We know the unsubsidized price of the phone is $200 more than the new contract price. So we can safely assume that $8.33 a month of your bill is going towards paying off your "loan".

          I really wish tha

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MikeBabcock (65886)

            Bad question -- Prius purchasers are almost implicitly looking to save on and minimize gas usage.

            What if you could buy a Corvette for just $10,000 but had to gas it up at GM dealerships for twice the price per litre? I bet a number of people would go for that option. Those same people would want the new Corvette model next year when it comes out too.

      • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Informative)

        by cgenman (325138) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:40PM (#28259907) Homepage

        According to AT&T's announcement [att.com] from 2008, their current early termination fee is 175 dollars minus 5 dollars per month that the contract was completed. For half-way through a 2-year contract, that's 115 dollars.

        So if you are thinking of paying the extra money and upgrading your phone, first pay the 115 bucks and cancel your account. Then apply for a new account with the no-contract discount. Instead of paying 399 for the phone, you'll only pay 314, or a savings of 85 dollars.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by natemc (860276)
          You do have to wait 90 days to open a new account with them. I had an overzealous AT&T manager cancel my phone service after my 3rd Sony Ericsson broke in less than a week. I went to another store to open an account to only be told the above. So just be warned that you will be without for 3 months, at least.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by triceice (1046486)
        I agree with you. I have been a smart phone user for over 10 years and I knew that after using my wife's iPhone that I wanted one. I also knew that means I would have to get back under contract. I had been an Cingular user without a contract for over 7 years (coverage in my area was better from them then from the others). I only bought unlocked phones and paid the full price for them. I know that I am under a 2 year and went in to it with eye wide open. AND SO DID EVERYBODY ELSE. Simply put it's your money
    • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:52PM (#28259413)

      You know Apple releases a new phone every year, and you know AT&T makes you sign a 2-year contract. Either pay the higher price for the upgrade or live through the horror of not having the latest shiny product until your contract runs out.

      Absolutely. Besides, early adopters always get the shaft. That's the price you pay for being an early adopter.

      Me, I bought a G1 a few months ago, and the G2 is coming out this month, I understand. I'll have to wait to see if I do, in fact, end up feeling screwed. If so ... I screwed myself and I did it willingly because I didn't want to wait.

      Bunch of crybabies.

      • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:20PM (#28259701) Journal
        Bunch of crybabies.

        No, its a bunch of rabid apple fanboys who want to piss away more money to apple, but can't stand the idea of paying AT&T a little extra cash for the contract they willingly accepted.

        I'd be upset too, if I didn't know that apple released new products yearly with their masterplan of planned obsolescence.
        • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:34PM (#28259845)

          Bunch of crybabies. No, its a bunch of rabid apple fanboys who want to piss away more money to apple, but can't stand the idea of paying AT&T a little extra cash for the contract they willingly accepted. I'd be upset too, if I didn't know that apple released new products yearly with their masterplan of planned obsolescence.

          No argument from me.

      • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Insightful)

        by malchus842 (741252) <stephen@adamsemail.net> on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:29PM (#28259797) Homepage

        But it's not being screwed. You and I willingly bought G1 phones, and have used them. Nobody forced us to buy them, nor enter into the contract. So when the G2 hits, if I really want it that bad, I'll pay the price. If not, I can wait out the 2 years and get the discount(*).

        (*)I have 5 lines on the family plan, so in the end, I can pretty much upgrade any time I like. My kids love getting the hand-me-down cool phones, and my wife isn't into technology. :-)

        • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:33PM (#28259839)

          But it's not being screwed.

          Yes, I agree. That was precisely my point. I meant screwed as in "aw, damn, this new model is like, way cooler than my old piece of junk". I didn't mean to imply that the vendor or cell phone company were in any way to blame for my impatience.

      • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Funny)

        by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday June 08, 2009 @09:24PM (#28260381)
        I don't even want to touch Kindle until I see "Kindle Final - We Will Never Upgrade This Product Again". Every time there's a new kindle I'm like whew I barely didn't buy the last one and now there's a thousand must-have features yay but WAIT WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT ONE.

        Similarly, I'm never upgrading from my 4 year old laptop, ever. If I spend the money then 2 months later people will be floating past my window on flying scooters with 8-socket quad core xeons on their wrists. I'm terrified of the day I realize I'm counting memory in gigs the same way I count in megs (64 128 256 512 1024 range).
    • Re:BooHoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:01PM (#28259523) Journal

      This is genius.

      1) Apple culture heavily weighted towards having latest shiny object

      2) AT&T contract requires 2 year ownership or pay $200 penalty

      3) Apple maintains 1 year design cycle

      4) Profit!!

    • Re:BooHoo (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated&ema,il> on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:19PM (#28259693) Journal
      Exactly. I guess with a phone this popular, inane complaints will always rise to the surface.

      This is the case with every mobile provider, at least here in the United States. You sign a contract, get a subsidized phone, and in a few years, provided that the phone qualifies, a customer can apply for a discounted upgrade. It's worked nicely for T-Mobile, Sprint and VZW customers since it's conception.

      HTFU.
      • usury. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, the terms were *always* onerous and unfair. It's just that there was never a phone available that really made people say "i want that" often enough to notice that they were getting shafted.

        Now the iPhone is out and it's become the banner to rally behind.

        Frankly, I think it's too much for the phone companies to be allowed to sell the phones. They've shown they can't play fair when they have that ball. Twice. Once with the regular phone market, and now with the cellular phone market.

        They probabl

  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:32PM (#28259199) Journal

    This is totally out of left field. It's a good thing the US is chock-a-block with better wireless carriers and the iPhone is portable between them.

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:32PM (#28259201) Journal
    So the issue is that a new model has been released and only people who are eligible for a new phone can get it at a discount? Apple never should have caved on the iphone price change retroactivity, now they can't improve anything without the existing users demanding free upgrades for life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Yeah, I don't really get the complaint here. I've complained before when cell phone carriers wouldn't give me the same deal as "new customers" even after I've completed my contract-- not so much because I think that they're obligated to offer me those deals, but more because I think it's stupid and it's caused me to switch from a carrier I was otherwise happy with in order to get a better "free" phone.

      However, the $199/$299 prices for the iPhones are their subsidized prices. The real prices are $200 more

    • So the issue is that a new model has been released and only people who are eligible for a new phone can get it at a discount? Apple never should have caved on the iphone price change retroactivity, now they can't improve anything without the existing users demanding free upgrades for life.

      Yup. All you get by caving in to pressure is more pressure. I'd expound, but I'd fail at Godwin. ;)

      I know the iPhone crowd is somewhat enriched in whiny emos and self-entitled types (before anyone flames, I said *enr

  • Or.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wovel (964431) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:33PM (#28259203) Homepage

    How every other carrier and every other phone works. Just because they were generous when the 3G came out, does not obligate them to do so again.

    • Bingo! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by King_TJ (85913) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:00PM (#28259511) Journal

      Honestly, given the current state of our economy, I'm surprised more people aren't ashamed to post such nonsense.... Even though we don't yet know exactly what will be in the latest revision of the iPhone, all indications point to a few relatively minor tweaks, like a built in compass and ability to use the faster tier of 3G cellular data network. Oh, and likely a faster graphics processor, which is nice -- but did anyone honestly have issues with it updating too slowly before? This will only matter for some games that want to push the envelope a little further with how much you can do on a phone. FAR from a necessity, especially for those of us who'd rather play "real" games on a home computer or console system anyway!

      Heck, I bought one of the very early 1st. gen. iPhones, and I didn't WANT to go to the 3G model. The version using the slower EDGE network was about $10 cheaper per month to keep a contract on, and I thought it had a more "solid" feel to it than the plastic-backed, sloped wedge shape of the current model. But finally, when mine started acting up, outside the warranty period, it just made more sense to buy a new phone.

      If you can get past the pointless "keeping up with the Jones'" attitude for a minute, I fail to see why a 3G iPhone owner would be that compelled to rush out and upgrade at all? Those that have that irrational need to "show off" by having one first? Well, let them pay full retail price!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thejynxed (831517)

        Here's why:

        iPhone 3G-S

        (Currently, the processor is assumed to be an ARM, but unknown version and clock speed, Apple makes vague claims about being twice as fast on average as the ARM 11 in the previous iPhone 3G)

        Camera: 3.0 megapixel autofocus with macro mode and auto white balance. -- You mean I can finally take outdoor shots at the Audubon and have them look somewhat decent? AND be able to send them back to my PC remotely? AND not have to lug along my laptop? HELL YES.

        Video: 30fps VGA with on-device editi

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SwabTheDeck (1030520)

      Just because they were generous when the 3G came out, does not obligate them to do so again.

      It wasn't really that they were "generous" about the 3G. It was more that the original iPhone wasn't subsidized at all. Basically, they were giving a subsidy to people who had never really received one previously. Either way, this complaint is stupid. Every other US carrier and phone manufacturer has these exact same terms. Can someone explain to me why it is that when it's Apple + AT&T, it becomes an unbearable outrage?

  • iPhone Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sthomas (132075) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:33PM (#28259213)

    Looks like only one user was upset in that forum. The rest all saw the logic and understood what a subsidy is used for.

    • Re:iPhone Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:38PM (#28259269)

      Really, I just bought an iPhone in February, and will be amazed if I can get a discount beginning February 2010 or even August 2010, and I understand completely. I could sell my phone right now for $400 easy, so it wouldn't make any sense for AT&T to sell me the better version of my phone for $200.

      Stuff like this makes Slashdot look silly too, a massive jump to conclusions over a small minority shouldn't be news.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by icebike (68054)

        No, you can't sell your iPhone right now for $400.

        Sorry, take a look at the current prices for locked iPhones on Ebay. Falling like rocks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ziwcam (766621)
        Protip: Dial *NEW# then hit send. It will tell you when you'll be eligible again.
    • You'll have to excuse them, the people who are freaking out about this are all in the midst of the Five Stages of Acquisition [memory-alpha.org]. They've long since reached Infatuation, and are now having trouble with the Justification step. Swing a piece of gold-pressed latinum in front of their faces, and like any Ferengi they'll get over it.
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:34PM (#28259229)

    'We have to mount a vigorous campaign to change this policy.'

    A vigorous campaign? Really? I'm sorry, but in this context, the author simply sounds pathetic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wovel (964431)

      It does seem a tad late to mount a vigorous campaign against the entire US Cell Phone Industry.... What are we wll going to do, switch to Boost?

    • Pathetic? definitely. On Slashdot? Unfortunately.
    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Funny)

      by sthomas (132075) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:02PM (#28259541)

      "vigorous" made me laugh. For once I'd like to see someone launch a lackadaisical campaign. In fact, this is a call to arms - let's launch a lethargic campaign to create a new era of de-energized campaigns!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:35PM (#28259237)

    Things I'm also upset about:

    No more free lunches.
    Gas costing more than $0.05 a gallon.
    Having to walk more than three feet from my car to my local superstore.
    The fact that I wasn't born in a time where peace was on earth, everything is free, and we're all immortal.

    I'm so angry that I'm punching a wall and hoping someone will pay for its repair as we speak.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:36PM (#28259253)
    AT&T and Apple are trying to get new customers by lowering the initial cost and subsidizing the remainder on a 2 yr plan. If you already have an iPhone, you don't qualify, plain and simple. Why is this a slap in the face? When did we as a society get our collective sense of entitlement?
  • They have a policy that says that if you're a new customer, you get a discount...

    They also have a policy that allows you to upgrade your phone at a discounted price after a certain amount of time.

    If I'm not mistaken, they've done this for a while, now... and so does Verizon. How does the iPhone have anything to do over this? Sounds to me like someone is just mad that they'll have to wait for their upgrade.

    Not saying that longtime customers shouldn't get a discount or anything... just that this shouldn't sur

  • You sign a contract for 24 months to receive a reduced price on your handset. You're not eligible for a discount until a good portion of that commitment has passed (usually 18 months). Owners of the first Gen iPhone got a discount because they bought their phone at full price. 2nd gen iPhone owners who paid full non-contract price are eligible for a discount. People who got a handset (ANY handset) at a discount and are within their contract time won't see one until their time expires. I just bought a n
  • This is nothing new. (Score:5, Informative)

    by JimXugle (921609) <{Jim} {at} {xugle.com}> on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:37PM (#28259265)

    If you had an Original Motorola RAZR and you wanted a new one, you had to pay full price.

    I fail to see the issue here.

  • So you have an iPhone, and you loaded some apps on it, and you text your friends, and sit in Starbucks and look cool... and AT&T comes out with a cooler one, and you want a freebie or discount upgrade, because ...... why ?

  • Seriously. The oldest iphone out there is just now turning 2 years old. This new ones an improvement, but not a world changing compared to last years.

    People have so little patience, plus they may change the policy anyway.
     

  • I don't understand what the issue is. The great majority of new features can be had by flashing your current iphone to 3.0, and then opening the little door and putting in a bigger...micro...sd...card... Oh, I forgot. Never mind.

  • The U.S. market is dominated by subsidized phones. Get $200 off a phone, agree to a contract (2 years in US, 3 in Canada) where you pay back a lot more than the $200 credit you were given. From a business standpoint, of course they are not going to subsidize you faster, at least not as a rule.

    However, this system has hurt the phone market. It creates higher margins in cell phone retailing (that's why you see so many cell phone stores everywhere) and for handset vendors, but it also requires that phone

  • Holy Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yerktoader (413167) on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:49PM (#28259381) Homepage
    The general consensus here on Slashdot so far:

    1)"tsfroggy"(RTA) agreed to his/her terms in a contract and has to deal with the pricing like everyone else.

    2)A past discount is not an obligation for a future discount.

    3)"tsfroggy" is a whiner.

    4)AT&T is clearly in the right on this, even if the pricing is too high.

    I must say, Congrats gentlemen. I'll be interested in seeing how long this lasts in this particular thread.
  • Cry me a river (Score:2, Insightful)

    by L4m3rthanyou (1015323)

    Stop the presses, customers are being price-gouged by AT&T and Apple! Oh, the horror!

    Who is going to expect sympathy over the fact that they have to pay $200 more to upgrade their iPhone?

    Why is this even on the front page? Does Slashdot really worship the iPhone this much?

  • Customers? (Score:4, Informative)

    by aaandre (526056) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:07PM (#28259593)

    The shareholders are the customers. Service subscribers (you) are the product. Your only power is to vote with your dollar, by the numbers.

    Know your place, know your options.

    Oh, and apple product update cycles are pretty predictable.

  • For 500$ (Score:3, Funny)

    by Korbeau (913903) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:23PM (#28259739)

    I'd rather have 2 very nice escorts, I'd least I'd get screwed right!

  • Me too (Score:5, Funny)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:47PM (#28259955)
    I have a similar problem. I got married a few years ago, but now thr old lady is looking a little worse for wear, and there are much younger and hotter models avaailable now! But my lawyer tells me I have an implicit "contract", and that upgrading will cost me big bucks! WTF! This is so unfair! They should have warned mme in advance how expensive it would be to trade up! Or maybe they did, but I wwas so excited with my shiny new toy to notice... either way, I'm mad as hell and I' going to bitch and moan until I get my way!
  • Half subsidy (Score:5, Informative)

    by cybereal (621599) on Monday June 08, 2009 @08:48PM (#28259963) Homepage

    Actually what is being offered is a compromise. The full retail value of the 32 GB model is $699 not $499. AT&T is offering those iPhone owners who purchased their 3G upgrade last year, under the terms of a 2 year subsidization contract, the opportunity for a special upgrade at half the subsidization cost. So, for example, when I bought my iPhone 3G last year on day 1, even though I promised to complete an entire two year contract to cover the major discount offered at the time, I will still be able to restart a new two year contract and be rewarded with a $200 discount.

    So even though those with no further contract obligations (actually, in many cases you can upgrade at full discount after only 18 months of your 24 month contract) and those new purchasers will get a nice $400 discount, I think I'm getting a pretty honest deal with a half discount halfway through the obligation.

    However, many people are clearly confused for various reasons. One cause is likely that many of these iPhone customers were never smartphone customers before. These people had no idea just how much money smartphones cost MSRP. The other part of it is original iPhone (Edge) buyers were not subsidized at all, and when the 3G came around, the offer was presented as though it was a special situation allowing for an early upgrade. Well that is partly factual, if you wanted to upgrade to any other phone you would not have been able to at only one year. I find this aspect to be particularly disgusting on AT&T's part, but it's all part of the contract... At any rate, since there was no subsidization in the original two year contracts for AT&T to cover, it was a no-brainer for them to offer full subsidization to 3G purchasers.

    So ultimately, many people are expecting to get exactly the same full subsidization "special" offer they got with the 3G but there has never once been any promise that they would.

    So I say: If you're not happy with the pricing, don't buy the new phone. If you feel bad about the whole situation, at least try to fully comprehend what happened and why the 3G's subsidization was not nearly as special as it seemed (AT&T sacrificed zero subsidization from your original contract whereas now they are offering to sacrifice half of the one from the 3G). It's understandable to be dissatisfied with an offer regardless of the terms, but not understandable for people to go all emo over the terms as though they were somehow owed or promised something else when they obviously weren't.

    For the record, I intend to pick up a 32gb upgrade for $500 because frankly, I was happy to buy the original 8gb for the full original price. To me it's valuable for the added space alone. Everyone has to make this decision for themselves obviously but at least have the character to realize you are not being ripped off, and you are not somehow owed a better offer just because you really want the phone.

    Fandom does not make you special.

  • by afabbro (33948) on Monday June 08, 2009 @09:03PM (#28260115) Homepage

    'This is ridiculous and slap in the face to long-time loyal iPhone customers like me who switched from T-Mobile and the only reason was the iPhone,' writes one unhappy iPhone customer.

    Long-time? Even if you bought an iPhone the day it was released (June 29, 2007), you are not yet at the end of your initial 2-year contract. How "long-time loyal" can you be?

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Monday June 08, 2009 @09:11PM (#28260197) Journal

    I refuse to pay the idiot premium on high fashion items, and that is exactly what Apple's products are.

    Someone that the actual value of the 32GB is $699 so you're still getting a deal. I bought my Thinkpad Z61e that I'm posting this comment with for $650. I don't think there is a phone on the planet worth $700. To even make that excuse is lame.

    I'll stick with whatever device does what I want it too without spending laptop money on it.

  • by spoonboy42 (146048) on Monday June 08, 2009 @10:08PM (#28260895)

    Of course, it would be lovely if we could dispense with the entire status quo wherein mobile carriers subsidize the cost of phones to lock people in to long-term contracts. I'd gladly pay more for unlocked smartphones if it meant I could pay less for service (you'd better believe the cost of all those handsets is built into your bill) and switch at-will.

    Now, it's true that you can buy some unlocked phones today, but it's far from the ideal situation for several reasons:
    1. The price of unlocked phones is substantially above the wholesale price which phones are sold to the carriers for (I don't expect a volume discount like they get, but a few hundred dollars markup is a bit steep).
    2. Some phones simply aren't available unlocked without going to the grey market, including the iPhone. That's because a lot of the most appealing phones (I'm debating an iPhone 3GS or an HTC Magic for my next) are offered as "exclusives" for a single carrier. That means that, in my region, if I want a particular phone, I'm stuck with AT&T or T-Mobile, respectively, for service.
    3. No price break on service. If you bring your own phone to play, you're still paying the extra that would cover the cost of a carrier-provided phone, which in this case is pure extra profit for the carrier.

    Now, just imagine if a similar situation existed with TVs: you only get a cool new TV when you sign up for an extended cable or satellite contract, and you're then locked into using that TV with that provider. You'd also have to consider the tradeoff between the features you want in a TV and the coverage and quality of service you get. In other words, it would be an intolerable, fragmented mess.

    But the service providers love vendor lock-in, and the phone manufacturers are only to happy to collude with them. It would probably take regulatory action to cut this particular knot. It's not impossible (remember when the FCC finally forced the mobile carriers to implement cell number portability, then they all advertised it as a great new feature), but I certainly wouldn't hold my breath for it.

  • by davmoo (63521) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:02AM (#28263501)

    What the hell, I've got Karma to burn...

    Apple/AT&T release a new phone and only new customers and customers with contracts about to end get it for upgrade pricing. Others are crying.

    Guess what, cry babies...that's just like every other carrier in the US does. Its the industry standard here. Why did you expect different from AT&T and His Holiness Lord Steve? Contrary to what you think, you are not better than everyone else. Welcome to the real world.

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

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