Not as much as you think, according to a new report by an IT research and consulting firm.
I’ve been pretty excited about the new BlackBerry Curve 8900 that my office handed me to replace a prehistoric 8800-series machine. Now there’s a new BlackBerry device, the Tour, which is making its debut this summer. So naturally, I rushed to check out the specs on the web to see what I missed.
Apple fans whooped it up yesterday when the company announced its first sub-$100 iPhone and a pair of faster, improved iPhone models.******But if you’re an existing AT&T customer and you’re looking to get your mitts on Apple’s newest gizmo, you might not be so excited by the fine print.******It turns out that the $99 iPhone is actually $499 for many existing AT&T customers. The new 16GB iPhone 3GS -0 the one that features video capture, faster throughput and a digital compass — which Apple unveiled for $199, will cost AT&T customers $599. And the new 32GB version is available to AT&T customers for the very special price of $699, which is significantly more expensive than the $299 price tag that anyone else can buy it for when they walk into an AT&T store for the first time.******The higher prices require renewing a 2-year contract with AT&T.******Update: AT&T said on Thursday that existing AT&T customers who renew their two-year contract can purchase the iPhones for $299 (for the 8GB model), $399 (16GB) and $499 (32GB), rather than the $499, $599 and $699 prices listed on Apple’s Web site. The higher prices are to purchase phones without any contract.******And the folks at AT&T also throw in an $18 activation fee. This activation fee applies to all AT&T customers who get a new device, whether it’s an iPhone or a more basic gadget. The problem is that the iPhone is such a high profile device that it brings everything from the carrier’s network quality to its contract fine print right into the forefront.******In fairness, it isn’t unusual for a carrier to hold off on selling its existing customers heavily subsidized phones until they’ve been a customer long enough to have repaid the debt. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel explained:***
The key here is that the iPhone and our other devices are subsidized. The consumer is paying much less than the cost we will typically pay for devices.
The audience at Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ conference seemed pumped about the new high speed iPhone — and the price cuts. So, too, do everyday consumers, at least the ones I’ve spoken to. Bloggers? They also seemed pleased, for the most part. Silicon Alley Insider said that compared with the new iPhone, “the competition is nowhere in sight.”
Among all the limelight-hogging features and rock-bottom prices unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers’ conference on Monday, two underscored the potential for the consumer electronics giant to sidle up and get up-close and personal with users – whether they like it or not.******For the hundreds gathered in San Francisco for the company’s annual developers’ pow-wow, Apple previewed a new iPhone feature that will allow users to remotely locate their device if they ever get separated from it. Executives highlighted another application that, eerily, can directly monitor a person’s vital signs.******In this day and age, when millions advertise not just their location but what they had for dessert via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s unclear how consumers will respond to functions that monitor their movements or their inner workings. Favorably, judging from the applause and hooting when those features were expounded upon.******Find My iPhone allows users to remotely locate their device via the Web. Logging onto Apple’s MobileMe, users can locate their phone on a map; send a text message to the phone, asking that it be returned; or play a strdient alert or alarm. The feature is intended to aid finding a phone left unattended at a restaurant or hidden under a couch cushion, developers said.******The new software also has a feature that allows users to remotely “wipe” the device of all data if it is truly lost or stolen – but allows users to reload the wiped data via Apple’s iTunes Web site — which usually offers music, applications and even video for sale — if the phone is then found, meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account.******Besides additional uses of the phone’s GPS capability, Apple on Monday highlighted a third party app that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely - accessing real-time heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and other data collected by hospital devices on their iPhones – clearly helpful for on-call doctors but also very private information.******The app would allow doctors to zoom in and out, measure different parts of the data, and scroll through historical data.******The Critical Care app from AirStrip Technologies has yet to be approved by the FDA, but the company said it was in advanced testing and expects the app will soon be available.******(By Clare Baldwin)
The verdict is in: The Pre smartphone from Palm is a hit, at least with the reviewers. Sure, there are dissenters and everyone noted some problems with the device, including battery life, limited applications, and the fact that some programs simply loaded too slowly.