Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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June 30, 2009 • Editorials

Is the iPhone 3G REALLY a Good Deal??

iPhone - Apple Store (U.S.)

TechCrunch has an excellent post up answering the question “Should you get an iPhone 3GS” from a number of perspectives. Overall it is a fantastic piece that looks at a wide range of variables and offers answers to the question based upon each, and I must say I agree with the authors conclusions. Well, that’s not COMPLETELY true. He had me at “Hello” but lost me at the end when he wrote…

Overall? Maybe.

As I said, there’s really no clear-cut answer as to if you should get the device. You really need to look at the functionality above, and determine how badly you want all of those things. If you think a bunch of stuff is missing, you’re probably thinking about features that are a part of the iPhone 3.0 software. Most of those work on the older iPhones as well. If something like cut, copy & paste is most important to you, that works on the iPhone 3G, so I would either stick with that device, or if you don’t have one, consider paying $99 to get one — that seems like a hell of a deal.

(emphasis mine)

I just can’t but think this is awful advice. Here’s why…

Let’s break down the cost of getting a new iPhone 3G versus getting an iPhone 3GS, assuming you are new to AT&T and can get their BEST pricing…

Here’s the package required for the $99 8GB iPhone 3G

Apple iPhone 3G - 8 GB Cell Phone Package - | Wireless from AT&T, formerly Cingular-1

Here’s the package required for the $199 16GB iPhone 3GS

Apple iPhone 3G S - 16 GB Cell Phone Package - | Wireless from AT&T, formerly Cingular-3

Notice anything about the two? Right they are EXACTLY THE SAME. That means EITHER phone will cost you, on average, assuming the least expensive voice package and unlimited SMS, $90 plus tax etc. over the contract; that is more than $2400 once tax and fees are included.

THAT means the only difference here is in the actual price of the phone, and that difference works out to $4.20 per month.

So what do you get for that $4.20 per month? Double the storage (16GB vs 8GB), far better speed, video, compass, slightly better battery life and more. All that and hardware DESIGNED for this OS rather than having it added later.

Having used my iPhone 3GS for over a week now it is clear that the difference between the devices is HUGE, while the difference in REAL cost is relatively low. In other words, unless you simply CANNOT afford the additional $100 you should be buying the iPhone 3GS. Moreover, if you can’t afford the additional $100 you might want to wait a while until you can or  look for a device that has a lower total cost of ownership to begin with. The difference, in my opinion, is that significant.

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