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Published on February 23rd, 2007 | by Tom


Why The Apple iPhone Will Disappoint You

dis·ap·point –verb (used with object)

  1. to fail to fulfill the expectations or wishes of:
  2. to defeat the fulfillment of (hopes, plans, etc.); thwart; frustrate

It’ll be like driving a Porsche in a hospital zone. 

Here’s the problem: today you and I accept a phone system with "3 nine" reliability.  That means the phone works correctly 99.9 percent of the time.  The other fraction of the time we get dropped calls, line dissonance (can you hear me now?) and signal issues.  This we have come to grumpily accept as our lot in life for living in this primitive age.  3 nine service will not, however, be good enough for the mobile TV era and the elevated expectations of Apple’s multimedia iPhone.  The current 3 nine level of service would mean jumpy, unstable video, scrambled live feeds, and constant redialing to recover lost connections.  Imagine watching a football game that suddenly goes dead in the final seconds of the final drive.  You will be disappointed at best.

What is required is 5 nine (99.999 percent) or even 7 nine (99.99999 percent) reliability.  No carrier can yet provide that level of always-on integrity.  They are urgently working on it though, because everything depends on a better backbone.  All early studies show that consumers begrudgingly accept the occasional dropped voice call without canceling their phone service, but they will cancel a video plan that does the same thing.  That reality puts a lot of risk into the trillion dollar build out of the Third Screen age: dissonance on the line and dissonance among the paying public who can’t understand and have no sympathy for less than expected service. 

Yes, the iPhone will disappoint you in the early days, perhaps not due to any fault of its own, but rather because the infrastructure it is running on can’t yet allow Steve Jobs’ vision to open up and push the pedal to the metal.  The key is how patient early adopters will be; if they fail to pay the freight, the wheels could come off of Apple’s Third Screen rally. 

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4 Responses to Why The Apple iPhone Will Disappoint You

  1. John says:

    i’m waiting a year before i get one!

  2. wayne thompson says:

    I do not understand how people can write about any phone that they have not used. If what you say is true about all cell phone why pick iphone out they all have problem with droped calls. video and music will be done by way of itunes. personaly I will wait till the reviews for the n95 and iphone have been used for a couple of months.

  3. Corey says:

    Your Porsche analogy is even more relevant when you consider that the iPhone doesn’t have 3G. I have a Samsung BlackJack w/ 3G and most of the time I just don’t even try to do anything besides email when I’m in an EDGE area (non 3G).

  4. matthew says:

    the product itself may not be as good as it could be, but i think the company’s giving away free iphones to every employee says more about it’s visionary leadership and innovation than any positive review that comes out:
    –matthew from the technology desk at

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