iPhone created buzz, but are hardware defects inevitable?

Rabeeah Patail

Months before the iPhone was even released, the buzz created by the new gadget was felt nationwide. Everyone and their mother knew what the iPhone was.

Apple did such an amazing job advertising the product that once the phone was released on June 29, thousands of people nationwide stood in line for hours just to get their hands dirty with the iPhone.

I don’t own an iPhone myself, but I will still say that the phone is an example of how far and improved technology has become. However, there are many things about the iPhone that people should think about before paying the hefty price of $500 to $600.

First of all, the iPhone is a firstgeneration product, which means it’s more likely to have hardware defects. Like any first-generation Apple product, such as the iPod, there is a possibility that Apple will create revised versions of the iPhone that may operate better. So buyers who just spent $500 to $600 may be in for a loss.

Another appetizing feature of the iPhone is its touch-screen interface. Sure, it is fun typing on a visual keyboard, however, there is no way it will work as well as a physical keyboard which can be found on the Samsung Blackjack, the BlackBerry or the Palm Treo. Owners and users of the iPhone have already complained about having trouble with the e-mail function because they are unable to use their fingers correctly for typing. Plus, over time the touch-screen will lose its sensitivity and begin to malfunction.

Additional problems with the touch-screen interface are the smudges from the user’s fingers. Because they have to use their fingers to type, there is no doubt that their polished iPhone screen will have fingerprint stains.

Furthermore, the iPhone, as revolutionized as it is, does not have the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) technology. This means that users cannot send or receive pictures through text messaging. Now any user who has had the MMS capability understands the fun and usefulness of such a feature. Without it, the iPhone loses the amusement of using the phone’s camera. Nonetheless, this feature may be introduced in future version of the iPhone.

One of the many reasons people are disappointed with the iPhone is because of its service plan. Both iPhone models, four GB for $499 and the eight GB for $599, will require a two-year contract with AT’T.

“AT’T has the largest voice and data network in America, the largest mobile-to-mobile calling community and the fewest dropped calls,” said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT’T in Apple’s press release for the iPhone.

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs further added in the same press release the reasons for choosing such a network — “We want to make choosing a service plan simple and easy, so every plan includes unlimited data with direct Internet access, along with Visual Voicemail and a host of other goodies.” Despite its good intentions, several users are more than satisfied with other services, such as Verizon or T-Mobile, and some just are not ready to switch over to a new network.

Regardless of the few problems the iPhone will or has faced, I think it is a gadget I would love to get my hands on…without paying the couple hundreds it is worth. I have no doubt that the iPhone will revolutionize communication the way iPods revolutionized music.