I propose the following as a new form of punctuation, to be used exclusively when transcribing iPhone calls on AT&T Wireless: The "?^?"
The "?^? stands for "Are you still there?" Because every f--king sentence I've ever completed on an iPhone sounded as follows: "Hello, are you still there? I'm leaving to pick up Brisa. Are you still there? You need me to pick up what? Are You still there?
500 Horses on Sh-tty Roads.
Imagine if Ford decided to sell it's flagship sports car, the 500HP Monster Shelby Mustang GT500 to anyone who wants it, as long as they buy it in, and only use the roads in, Staten Island, NY.
You'd still want the GT500, but you'd hate driving it, because you were limited by a travel network that is ill-equipped to handle it. (I just drove through Staten Island today, and I lost my right rear tire and two of my children to potholes.)
Ridiculous, of course, but that is exactly what Apple does with its iPhone: A powerful device hamstrung by a third-rate cell phone network.
And believe that Apple knew, or should have known, what AT&T's limitations were in this regard. So why do you think that AT&T was selected?
It's All About The Net Sum Gross Benjamins, Baby.
I'd bet my left nut that there is a series of emails that read as follows:
"What's our margin if we cut Apple in for 35% of the net sum gross dollars earned on each iPhone contract?"
"Not much; it'd be our least profitable-per-unit phone."
"That's fine, 35% is the number that'll give us the exclusive contract over Verizon. We'll make our money in volume, and increased exposure."
So, here is what is going to happen, and you can write it on a rock: Apple will praise the day its exclusivity deal with CingulAT&T lapses, and jog over to Verizon.
Get ready to drive that GT500 on an autobahnesque freeway labeled VTE.
Let's follow the bouncing ball: What is the biggest complaint heard about the iPhone? MP3 playback? Availability of quality apps? Nope. Dropped calls and god-awful download speed, both of which can be laid at the feet of AT&T Wireless.
Problem 1: AT&T Wireless' cell network is not nearly as all-encompassing as Verizon. Sure, you may be able to place the occasional call, but unless you stick a passive repeater antenna up your ass and wear rabbit ears as a hat, you will be using the "?^?", sooner rather than later.
Problem #2: 3G usually means 2.5G. Sure, 3G can be blazingly fast. with AT&T, it seems, unless you are sitting in the parking lot of their home office, your phone'll default back to 2.5 EDGE network, and then you might as well be downloading Metallica songs via Napster on your AOL dial-up account.
"Your complaints are being heard. There's just no reason to fix it.""
AT&T's chief technology officer, John Donovan, said that despite what people might be saying about problems on AT&T's network, his company is focused on providing customers with an excellent wireless experience.
"I'm not ignoring the criticism of our network," he said. "I'm well aware of what's being said in the press, in blogs, and on Twitter, by every single human whoever had to use our network. I just couldn't care less. You're still using it, right? Why should we invest a dollar more? Look, no one has more ability to f--k up the wireless data customer experience than AT&T."
Blah, blah, blah, John. Now listen up:
Verizon's about to launch its LTE 4G data network, and it's testing at 8.5 Mbps (Megabits per second download) speeds, and that's the sh-t we want! We'll demand that we get our way, and the 13 million-strong iPhone users will stand together on this.
By the way, John, we know that AT&T will have a LTE network set up a few months after Verizon, but it's like an ex girlfriend who gets breast implants after you've broken up with her: It would have been nice if they were available before I threw your Train CDs and hair-gel in the trash and starting banging your best friend.
So you'll be back to peddling Nokia phones the size of cordless drills in re-branded Cingular showrooms in sh-tty third rate mall kiosks before the ink is dry on my 2 year Verizon iPhone contract. And I'll lovingly trace the little red Verizon checkmark that shows up when a call actually finds its way to my iPhone, and I'll remember how f--king much I hated writing a check for my AT&T bill, knowing how much I loathed the service for which I was paying.
I'd tell you this to your face, but every time I call your iPhone, it goes right to voicemail.