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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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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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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