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Is the iPhone really worth it?

November 21, 2009

There is an interesting article on PCMag.com about how much cells phones actually cost.  Most of us just focus on the sticker number when deciding which phone to buy.  After all, that’s the money we have to shell over immediately.  However, we should really think about the long run costs associated with the nifty device.

Cell phone companies need to make money — people need cell phones.  Even with the oligarchy of service providers, we are pretty much at their mercy.  The open networks and free phones are pretty appealing, but its kind of like how a doughnut is appealing, its fleeting.

In the article, Segan points out that the iPhone and the HTC Hero cost nearly the same amount, around $200.  However, the talk plan will cost $1,200 more on the iPhone over two years.  (Note:  he doesn’t give his sources for this information, so I am not sure how he came up with this number. )  We can all agree that the iPhone is a pretty neat and powerful machine, but is it really worth that price tag?

This summer, I was buying a new phone and faced the monster that is AT&T.  My previous phone was spotty and wasn’t acting reliably, and living in the city, I felt that I need a phone I could count on.  So I desperately headed over to the nearest store and was at the mercy of the sales person.

I had wanted to get off the family plan so were weren’t locked in for another two years.  I also wasn’t set on any phone when I walked in the store, but wanted some real advice.  I didn’t get either.  I ended up with a phone that I had don a fair amount of research on, but the sale person clearly had sale objectives and did not give me any real guidance.  I also thought that I had created my own plan, turns out, I was still on the family plan — and so will my family, for the next two years.

Whatever, I can deal with all that.  At least I was getting a rebate, right?  The purchase was a large one, but I told myself it was okay because I would be getting $100 back soon.  Nope.

I filled out the rebate exactly how I was supposed to and mailed it in before the deadline.  I even received a text saying that my rebated had been received and was being processed.  But then I didn’t hear anything.  I waited and waited, but nothing.  Finally, over two months later, I called the company and it turns out that my rebate had been rejected!  Why!?

I pushed the woman further and she disclosed that someone had accidentally marked the wrong box and that I did deserve the rebate.  Well, it’s been about six weeks since then, and still no rebate.

Finally, I received a text this morning, at 6:30 AM (icing on the cake, AT&T), saying that my rebate has shipped.  Awesome.

Apparently, my persistence was worth $100 and I will take that.  Now, what should I spend it on?

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