Monday, November 12, 2007

iPhone - a Ferrari which can only be used to power your lawnmower

More deliberations on the iPhone. I am a long term reader of John Naughton, who writes brilliantly and very readably on IT in the Observer Businesss section each week.

On the one hand, Naughton praises the iPhone as "the most powerful computer ever shoehorned into such a small and elegant package."

On the other hand, he points out that its operation is severly restricted by the constraints placed on its network operation:

Proud owners of its powerful new micro-computers can use them only on a single network - O2. Anyone who hacks an iPhone to liberate it from that stranglehold is likely to find the device disabled ('bricked' is the colourful term) the next time they synchronise it with their PC. This is because Apple has a deal with O2 that ensures a tidy payment (the US equivalent is rumoured to be $11 a month) for every iPhone registered with it. So Apple has deliberately crippled the iPhone to ensure a cosy revenue stream, and the hapless consumer - who has paid £269 plus an 18-month contract - is barred from harnessing its full potential.

...Having an iPhone locked to a network which doesn't provide 3G connectivity, and is unable to make VoIP calls despite having good wireless networking built in, is like buying a Ferrari and finding that the only thing you can do with it is power your lawnmower. It's nuts - and our regulators have allowed it to happen.

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