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The rough ride of Apple's iPhone is exciting Verizon and others, but Apple fans are unmoved

Apple's iPhone went 3G and was met with great enthusiasm from Apple's fans.  Within a week of its launch, it had hit a million units sold.  The frantic pace of sales, began to slow, but still Apple managed to reach the 2 million mark, not long after, according to analysts.

Since, complaints about call quality, dropped calls, and defects have created somewhat of a public relations nightmare for AT&T and Apple.  For the signal related problems, Apple and AT&T have rolled out a fix, the details of which were finally leaked by an AT&T employee.  However, that has not stopped Verizon from seizing on public ill-will towards the iPhone and running new advertising campaigns specifically attacking it.

"A phone is only as good as the network it’s on," Verizon's ad blasts, and in an email to Wall Street analysts, a Verizon executive chided, "So much for a ‘new’ way of doing business at the old AT&T — your father’s phone company."

Part of what has left Apple and AT&T so vulnerable to such attacks is that they have done little to explain what is causing the problems.  This has created an air of uncertainty around the iPhone that is perhaps unjustified, but largely the fault of the pair's silence.

Aside from the technical details of the problem, one additional aspect may simply be logistics.  AT&T's 3G network covers only 310 cities of 100,000 people or more, though it plans to add 40 more cities by the end of 2008. 

Phil Marshall, of the research firm the Yankee Group, believes this lack of network coverage and the pair's corporate tendencies are wreaking havoc on the iPhone.  He states, "It’s hard to launch an iconic device like the iPhone on a network that it is not yet fully deployed.  As they build these networks they will need to make more improvements or the complaints will persist.  Both companies are accustomed to controlling all aspects of the delivery of its products.  It illustrates the culture clash, when you create an environment where you share the responsibilities between them. Then you have problems."

Marshall is equally sick of the almost daily emails from Verizon's management blasting the iPhone.  He bemoans, "I get almost one a day.  It’s almost like, hey, quit spamming me."

However, for all the bad news for Apple and AT&T, one piece of good news is that reports are indicating that through thick and thin Apple's fans are staying loyal to the company.  Peter Fader, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania describes the phenomena stating, "The objective reality is that Apple does plenty of wrong.  Very few companies have this kind of iconic status where anything they do, even if it is mediocre, will automatically have a halo around it."

Kern Bruce, a 25-year-old Web designer in Boston, Massachusetts, was among those die-hard Apple fans who waited all night in line to be among the first to receive a 3G iPhone.  He's had lots of problems with it since -- overheating, program crashes, and such poor 3G that he has turned the feature off.  It's not his first problem with an Apple product either.  He had to return an overheating MacBook Air and his Apple cinema display monitor is failing, having image burn-in.  Still he says he would never turn his back on Apple.

He states, "They're skimping on materials, on testing things to gain market share, but they're kind of pushing away people who have been with the brand even when [it was] struggling.  (However, Macs are) a lot better than the alternative in terms of stability, viruses, being able to do high-end graphics work.  I wouldn't tell people to stop getting Apple products. They make very good products."

Baba Shiv, a professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business says that such business phenomena are not unusual.  He argues that most Harley Davidson bikes are inferior to their Asian competitors in terms of price and quality, but they still sell well in America.  He states, "In the public domain, the coolness factor matters.  (Once loyalty forms) the transgression has to be so egregious for someone to completely change the narrative.  If something like this had happened to Microsoft, the long-term impact would be much more for Microsoft than for Apple."

Apple and partner AT&T have their fingers crossed that Apple's fans stick with it, through thick and thin as they silently try to resolve the iPhone's problems.

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Bloom coming off the apple tree
By Bucky Beaver on 8/31/2008 10:30:52 AM , Rating: 5
I don't think even Apple fans will stay loyal forever if Apple keeps screwing up new releases or doesn't fix the problems on the existing stuff. Mystique will only get you so far before you become a joke. Just a few cracks on Leno, etc and the downhill slide will start..

Why they chose AT&T is beyond me - guess they got a better kickback deal from them. Apple would have done much better with Verizon. I went through hell trying to dump AT&T about 4 years ago, finally had to sic the FCC on them before they stopped trying to bill me on an expired contract, despite numerous written notices and phone calls.

RE: Bloom coming off the apple tree
By michael2k on 8/31/2008 10:49:27 AM , Rating: 3
Uh, that's easy.
AT&T has the same network infrastructure as most of the world. If Apple had chosen Verizon, they STILL would have had to develop an AT&T compatible phone in order to sell to Japan, Europe, et al.

So this way they only need to develop a single architecture first, as opposed to dual architectures. Imagine how much WORSE the problems would be if Apple had to deal with problems on two networks instead of one!

RE: Bloom coming off the apple tree
By cocoviper on 8/31/2008 11:04:23 AM , Rating: 4
That's not why they chose AT&T although it's a secondary benefit.

Apple came to Verizon and then Sprint first; both carriers turned them down because their management wasn't willing to give up as much control as Apple wanted (with the device launch, software, pricing, etc.) AT&T was willing and in a lot of ways it payed off for them. But I can guarentee you a GSM network was not the primary reason Apple went AT&T- I mean the company does not care about targeting the largest demographic, that has never been their strategy. Apple's biggest concern is being able to have control over every aspect of their product, that's always been the company's primary philosophy.

If it wasn't, then why not simply release MacOS to anyone who wants to pay $500 to install it on their PC? Because they know they would suddenly be faced with a support nightmare of having to maintain quality on millions of hardware combinations, and they would quickly loose their Teflon status.

RE: Bloom coming off the apple tree
By EntreHoras on 8/31/2008 11:45:00 AM , Rating: 1
It's not about demographics, It's about availability. Of course Apple could design an iPhone for Verizon or Sprint, but that particular model would only work in the US and Canada. If you want to SELL your phone in the rest of the world (except Japan) you must go GSM, and GSM is AT&T.

RE: Bloom coming off the apple tree
By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 1:10:02 PM , Rating: 3
If you actually do some research on the subject, you will find the person who you are responding to is absolutely correct. Apple tried to release the phone to Verizon first and was turned down because Verizon wasn't willing to bend over to Apple like AT&T did. Maybe, before you respond to something as if you know what you are talking about, you should try doing a bit of research first....

By FITCamaro on 8/31/2008 1:44:50 PM , Rating: 3
Not only were Verizon and Sprint not willing to give up control, they weren't willing to give Apple a cut of the monthly service fees as AT&T did.

The guy is correct. AT&T was Apple's third choice.

RE: Bloom coming off the apple tree
By EntreHoras on 8/31/2008 2:01:34 PM , Rating: 1
I humbly ask for your forgiveness.

I'm really sorry to comment in a subject so important like this without a profound research on the matter.

I'm terribly sorry that the logic that Apple used for choosing carriers had nothing to do with global sales.

By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 2:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
I might be able to forgive you..... but I must consult the Flying Spaghetti Monster for guidance before I can forgive you (he hates Apple products).

By Solandri on 8/31/2008 4:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's not that difficult to make GSM and CDMA versions of a phone. It's even easier for a 3G phone since 3G on GSM and its successor (HDSPA and UMTS) are based on CDMA and wideband CDMA respectively.

The reason Apple went to Verizon and Sprint first is probably because their 3G service was mature. CDMA networks switched to 3G first because the way CDMA shares bandwidth makes 3G speeds trivial - just handle data the same way you do voice. GSM's underlying technology (TDMA) relies on timeslices so by definition can't share bandwidth. They had to graft on a CDMA standard (HDSPA) to attain 3G speeds. It took them several years longer than the CDMA carriers, and they're still trying to work all the kinks out.

Also T-Mobile also provides GSM service in the U.S. (T-Mobile is actually Deutsche Telecom.) And Korea and China are CDMA. Basically, CDMA won the wireless transmission standard war because of its bandwidth sharing advantage. GSM's successor (UMTS) is based on CDMA (but they're keeping the SIM card, which I think is a really smart thing).

By sprockkets on 8/31/2008 6:55:53 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, like having OSX work on my old AMD Athlon 64 nforce4 board with nvidia graphics. I had to add an intel network card to finalize the setup. Talk about support nightmares. When's the last time you called Microsoft for support anyhow?

Apple does not was OSX to be a commodity, working on cheap PCs, so they can charge you tooth and nail for style on their equipment, plain and simple.

Saying its the network is BS. You don't talk on EVDO, you talk on CDMA; its not a fair comparison. Likewise, if AT&T/Apple was smart, they would set the phone to use GSM for voice and 3G for data by default. Switching from 3G to GSM for calls is the most common problem facing AT&T now.

and this is coming from a pc user
By Eboku01 on 8/31/2008 11:25:30 AM , Rating: 5
This is seriously the fox news of tech sites.

By EntreHoras on 8/31/2008 11:51:56 AM , Rating: 4

Please keep this site expletive free.

By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 1:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
How so?

RE: and this is coming from a pc user
By FITCamaro on 8/31/2008 1:48:04 PM , Rating: 1
Ummm....Jason Mick is a huge Apple fan.

But good you know what the hell you're talking about.

Besides. What does cell phones have to do with computers? Even if Apple computers were completely flawless (which they aren't), if their phone has problems, should they get a free pass?

RE: and this is coming from a pc user
By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 1:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, apparently telling the truth=bad when it comes to Apple, if that truth is all candy canes and lolly pops.

By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 3:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
*UNLESS that truth, not IF that truth

By robinthakur on 9/1/2008 6:17:43 AM , Rating: 3
Erm, quite a few of Jason's articles recently have bashed Apple relentlessly, so I think he's shed his Mac-fan status a while ago. Maybe he's dropping calls on his iPhone lol

Look out iPhone...
By mrdeez on 8/31/2008 1:18:01 PM , Rating: 1
I tried the iPhone at my local att store and was very impressed by the looks...after further investigation i realized that the phone was too dainty for everyday use and good luck texting while driving with it. So, I settled or should say I chose the Moto q...I am very happy with it and have 0 complaints. I do wish MS would get off thier ass and give the people what they want...and that is a basic stripped down OS with no AV or Internet browser and let the people choose what they want.Heck they could bundle 5 different browsers in thier OS and charge Firefox and Opera a distro fee. Then do the same with your Mobile apps...dont be like Apple and force people to become sheep to your design. Anyway, the Iphone is for kids not business users and it has nothing to do with ATT. Look at this though...

The 5g model takes a sim card!!!!

RE: Look out iPhone...
By Chaser on 8/31/2008 1:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
Thats right. Some Apple thugs pulled up in an AT&T cargo van at 2am and dragged me off to an Apple store and said, "sign zee contract young man. Resistance is futile, Yyou will use Safari".

And now this assimilated sheep I can't text while he drives.

RE: Look out iPhone...
By Chaser on 8/31/2008 1:32:58 PM , Rating: 2
Archos rocks with its innovations. But a 5 inch screen? Where do you get to the point where something is too big to carry in your pocket but you don't want to carry around a laptop either? Its nice on a flight I guess but I can enjoy a movie on my Iphone, stick it in my pocket and answer a phone call on it too without having this giant square cube to put somewhere when i am moving :)

RE: Look out iPhone...
By mrdeez on 8/31/2008 1:39:00 PM , Rating: 2

Actually this link is better.....I am pre-ordering a 5 right now!!

RE: Look out iPhone...
By FITCamaro on 8/31/2008 1:50:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yes because you should be sending a text message while driving to begin with jack @ss.

I just hope when you cause an accident you don't kill someone.

RE: Look out iPhone...
By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 2:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing. You are complaining about not being able to text and drive. Hmmm... maybe you shouldn't text and drive in the first place. Every morning, on the way to work, I have to be soooo careful because of all the people on the highway that are doing so many other things than driving. One chick the other day was doing 75-80 down the freeway, with her drivers visor down, applying makeup (or farding as some would say). Anyway, back on topic, you should not be trying to text and drive at the same time anyway..... it's just stupid.

RE: Look out iPhone...
By Runiteshark on 8/31/2008 2:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
I hope the guy dies in a car wreck. I've seen so many wrecks because some idiot was dicking around with their phone while going 70.

RE: Look out iPhone...
By mrdeez on 8/31/2008 3:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
Hoping anyone dies is assinine and ignorant. In the US of A we spend many hours(unfortuntely)in stop and go traffic. That is when i would text someone. My original post stands....I have no allegiance to any company I just want the best product out there...the iPhone is not is flashy and stylish but forcefeeding me your apps and software...idont think so!!! Also, when will these companies who make big screen smartphones make them with replaceable screen guards?

RE: Look out iPhone...
By robinthakur on 9/1/2008 6:27:20 AM , Rating: 2
If you're content with a Q, the iPhone is clearly not for you. Personally the very idea of going back to a wimo phone makes me cry a little. The apps architecture of the iPhone is actually one of its stronger features in my opinion, it works almost as well as the free installer app used to on the jailbroken 2G :)

The iPhone feels like form over function until you start to really make use of it. Trying it for 5 mins in a store is unlikely to sell it to most people beyond the whizzy graphics. The iphone is a wonderful synergy where GPS, mapping, apps mail and geotagging all work together flawlessly. But not MMS. Or phone calls. I joke, I joke (about the phone calls, mine works perfectly) Seriously, I think 3G phones are always pretty flakey in my experience, so I don't know why people are that surprised that it doesn't work all that well in the US. If I were Apple, I'd find a new network partner.

1st Gen iPhone user
By sixth on 8/31/2008 11:13:07 AM , Rating: 2
....Ever since the launch of FW 2.0 and 3G iPhones my AT&T call quality, data speed, reliability and just plain use of the PHONE has been so degraded that its not funny. I have two iPhones one for my wife and one for me. THe network performance has gone DOWN the TUBES. ll the fan boys can stick by apple and at&t as much as they want...plain and simple fact is...AT&T's network SUCKS. My contract is up in 5 months and I will waving BYE BYE.

RE: 1st Gen iPhone user
By Chaser on 8/31/2008 1:15:31 PM , Rating: 1
I travel from city to city. I live in a medium sized city in the SE. I have no problems with this phone besides the same usual limitations I have experienced with all phones with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and Nextel.

Verizon has not a single phone can that come even close to the functionality, capabilities and interface that the Iphone has. All while they watch 10 million Iphones and new contracts go to AT&T. My Iphone works nearly flawlessly. and I press mine to the limit.

I really don't think this uproar the article is trying to suggest or that Verizon is throwing millions of ad campaign dollars into is the view from Iphone (sorry not Apple, nice try) "loyalists". There is a lot to love on this phone. Read reviews of the Iphone for yourself. And then if you don't like the phone or the network vote loudly with your wallet instead of coming here and trumpeting anecdotal opinions because you have some axe to grind with a product you "hate".

RE: 1st Gen iPhone user
By Chaser on 8/31/2008 1:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
Sixth. I should have made that a new post. Mine wasn't meant to be contrasting yours.

RE: 1st Gen iPhone user
By weskurtz0081 on 8/31/2008 1:21:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I am an I-Phone owner, but I am contemplating making a move away from AT&T and the iphone. It was "cool" for a while, but still lacks functionality that many of the enterprise style phone have and just a number of other things that are rather annoying like EXTREMELY slow browsing speed, the phone is glitchy and locks up at least once a day..... I could go on, but there is no point really. I am going to start looking into possible upgrades from my iphone to a different maker, and a different network.

RE: 1st Gen iPhone user
By ilkhan on 9/1/2008 3:16:12 AM , Rating: 2
The iPOS is nothing but flash.

I voted with my wallet, bought a mogul and buying a touch diamond as soon as its available.

Unlike Harley Davidson however...
By michael2k on 8/31/2008 10:54:04 AM , Rating: 1
Apple's kit isn't inferior. The base hardware is at worst the same and at best superior to the average.

And on top of that the OS is unique while capable of being compatible.

By Trisagion on 8/31/2008 10:59:18 AM , Rating: 5
Whoever compared Harleys to Apple products should be shot. At least Harley Davidson doesn't require that you pump gas at the stations they choose...

Personnal message to the guys at Verizon.
By Oralen on 8/31/2008 1:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ok. I have never been a fan of Apple.
And I will never buy an Iphone.


Sending emails to trash a competitor's product?

Have you no pride?
Get a grip on yourselves, men!

And if you feel so threatened by the Iphone, get a phone that can compete with it! I don't know, call Taiwan or something!

Whining morons...

By mrdeez on 8/31/2008 3:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
+1...if you dont like it dont buy it!!

By Rebel44 on 8/31/2008 3:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is doing same thing in their PC vs. MAC jokes.

By archcommus on 8/31/2008 1:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
Kind of off topic, but I don't know why the author of these articles always capitalizes the i in iPhone. It's clearly not that way.

By Dark Legion on 8/31/2008 9:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
Even though this is a quite pointless thing to talk about, he does in fact write it "iPhone". Titles, as well as the first word of a sentence, are always capitalized. If you had read beyond the title before you posted then you would've seen that.

By Awax on 8/31/2008 11:00:02 AM , Rating: 3
"Part of what has left Apple and AT&T so vulnerable to such attacks is that they have done little to explain what is causing the problems."
The problem here is that AT&T can't explain that their 3G network is run by underpowered towers and at the same time tell anyone that they have a brilliant 3G network.

What about abroad?
By Segerstein on 9/1/2008 4:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
Whose fault is it? Is it Apple's or AT&T's?

How does it work abroad, where it is sold? UK, DE, FR...

Apple myths
By PascalT on 9/2/2008 11:15:22 AM , Rating: 2
"(However, Macs are) a lot better than the alternative in terms of stability, viruses, being able to do high-end graphics work."

What a bunch of bs. I've been a graphic designer for 10 yrs and there's absolutely no reason to pay 3x the price to use a Mac. The myth that Apples are somehow better for design has been perpetuated for so long by Mac fanboys that a lot of people even believe it.

I challenge anyone to tell me why someone should pay 3k for an overpriced computer to do design on, as opposed to paying a lot less for something much more versatile, upgradeable, and even more powerful.

p.s. Macs do crash a lot, and I've never ever had problems with XP or Vista.

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