What a shock. Another BS (Baltimore Sun?) list of reasons to avoid the iPhone.

As I’ve said before, the iPhone FUD circus is in town. If I tried to report on all the horrible articles with “reasons” to avoid the iPhone, or alleged “problems” it has (most of which effect any electronic device) I’d be glued to my keyboard for the next nine days until the iPhone launch.

Since I have better things to do, I’ll just pick the occasional piece to remind everyone that these articles are predominantly crap, written by people who believe that saying negative things about the iPhone makes them appear fair and balanced. (Never mind that with the FUD campaign in high gear there’s currently not a lot of fair reporting on the iPhone.)

Today’s selection is an article in the Baltimore Sun by Mike Himowitz. Mike wants to make sure we don’t join the “stampede” to the iPhone just yet, and has five reasons why.

Since first impressions mean a lot, how does the article begin? Well, the first nine words are this:

“In just eight days, armies of breathless Apple fanatics…”

So, you see, Mike, we can already tell you’re not fair and balanced at all. Rather, you’re writing an anti-Apple piece. Mike’s not the only one who does this, but as I said he’s my selection of the day. Mike also uses the term “Macolytes” more than once in the article. This is amusing because what Mike and his ilk don’t get is that the iPod’s over 100 million users were overwhelmingly non-Apple users before their iPod purchase, and are certainly still non-Mac users. It just shows how these pieces are the same re-treaded tripe we usually get. No analysis, no critical thinking, just the usual FUD and BS. Oh well, I guess getting a fair and balanced article is not in the stars.

OK, let’s move on to Mike’s five reasons to avoid the iPhone…

“Reason one: Do you want a single gadget to manage all the loose ends of your life?”

Mike explains that this would be a “single point of failure” in your digital life. Therefore you should carry an iPod, cell phone, and PDA everywhere you go, even though it will mean more “juggling”.

Tell me, what is it with these lists where even their first reason is silly? I mean, couldn’t they at least open with something that might be worth discussing, so as to give the impression there might be reasonable analysis in the article? I guess not. Let’s face it, when you don’t have a single good reason you have to start with a bad one any way you look at it.

So, Mike, we shouldn’t simplify our lives? Tell me, Mike, how many is too few? What if I want to combine, say, the PDA and cell phone? Now I’d have two points of failure. Is that too risky? Come to think of it, how did you decide that three points of failure is acceptable? And did you consider the fact that it triples the chance that you may forget, or lose, or break, part of your digital life? Or that the three may not adequately communicate or share information with each other? Or that I’ll probably have three differing software products to manage it all? Or that I’ll have to learn three different devices that don’t work the same? Or that the three devices will certainly be more expensive than the one (see point #4)?

Face it, Mike, your first reason is pretty bad.

“Reason two: If you’re a music buff, you’ll still need your old iPod.”

Mike says that since some iPods offer 80GB of capacity, the iPhone won’t hold everything. I own an 80GB iPhone and understand that. But what I also understand, and what Mike does not, is that the 4GB iPod nano is the most popular iPod. Apple also sells a slew of 2GB nanos and 1GB Shuffles. According to Steve Jobs, the average number of songs on an iPod is just under 1,000. In other words, 4GB is enough for most people, and there’s an 8GB model for those who need more. Yes, I would get an 8GB model and put a subset of music and videos on it. But it would be a very large subset, and iTunes makes syncing those 8GB with lots of variety (if I want it) a snap.

If Mike is implying that Apple needs an 80GB iPhone, he’s wrong (much bigger, heavier, and more expensive). If he’s implying that I would carry my 80GB iPod as well as my iPhone, he’s also wrong.

“Reason three: Too much new technology at once.”

Oh please. Cell phones are not new, the iPod is not new, OS X is not new, Safari is not new, web apps are not new, WiFi is not new, the AT&T network is not new, email, text messaging, cover flow, and numerous other items on the iPhone are not new. I grant that their implementation in the iPhone is new. Radically so, but that’s what Apple has a genius for. And, to be sure, the front-end Multi-touch interface is new, but touchscreens themselves are not, having proven themselves in the field with rugged use at ATMs, grocery checkouts, gas pumps, etc.

From where did Mike get his fear of technology? And, since he has it, why is he writing on tech issues?

He also tries to imply that iPods break a lot, so the iPhone will. the iPod’s failure rate is in line with other electronic devices, but that doesn’t stop Mike from using hard evidence like “have your kids check”. Wow.

“Reason four: Money.”

Mike probably should have started with this one, since it’s the only one worth discussing. The problem here is that, for anyone considering an iPhone, the money issue is already sorted out. Panic cries about the iPhone being too expensive — while Nokia is selling their N95 for $749 — are kind of silly anyway. Smartphones (any smartphone) require a data plan as well as voice. The two typically combine for at least $80 a month, so that’s nearly $2K over the two-year life of the contract (yes, subsidized smartphones require contracts). So, over two years the $199 smartphone is $2,200 while the iPhone is, say, $2,500. A $300 difference over two years is not that much. But that’s only the 4GB iPhone, you say? Big deal, that 4GB is a heck of a lot more storage than the $199 smartphone has.

Sure, there will be a few consumers who don’t look at the two-year haul (these are the consumers phone companies love), but anyone who does — and with this type of purchase many people will — can see that over the course of the contract the iPhone is not radically more expensive. And after the contract, it’s a wash.

“Reason five: Will your call go through?”

Well, Duh! Jeez, Mike, be serious. This is simply a shot at AT&T. Let me get this off the plate right now: If you live in an area where AT&T’s coverage is not so good, then you don’t want to get an AT&T phone. Did anyone not know this?

By the way, if you live in an area where Verizon’s coverage is not so good (or T-Mobile’s, or Nextel’s, etc.) then you don’t want to get one of their phones either. Not every phone is available from every carrier, and exclusivity for a time is nothing new.

This was nothing more than a reason to take a shot at AT&T while also assuming your readership is too dumb to know that if they don’t live in an area of one provider’s coverage they should avoid phones from that provider. Your readers aren’t that stupid, Mike, though I admit to feeling a little light-headed after slogging through your article.

Now Mike sums it all up for us:

“Bottom line: If you want to avoid the potential arrows that come with being a pioneer, see how the Macolytes fare with their new gadgets and wait for iPhone 2.0.”

Aside from using the word “Macolytes”, again betraying this as a buzzword-compliant piece to get the Baltimore Sun more page-hits than its had all year, the conclusion itself is ridiculous.

Tell me, Mike, how will “iPhone 2.0” address points 1, 2, and 5? I decided to be generous and spot you numbers 3 and 4, based on “iPhone 2.0” being somehow “proven” in your eyes and assuming a round of price cuts (though still likely pricier than subsidized smart phones). It will still be a single gadget (#1), still not have an 80GB hard drive (#2), and still be on AT&T’s network (#5).

In other words, at minimum this mythical “iPhone 2.0” will not even address 60% of your points, yet it’s your conclusion to wait for it? It’s my conclusion you don’t know what you’re talking about. Unlike your conclusion, I have reasoned analysis and thinking in mine.

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