The widescreen, Wifi, Internet-in-your-pocket iPod.

There are several stories surfacing (for example, here and here) about how to kill the AT&T service and just use the WiFi functionality of the iPhone along with the coolest iPod Apple’s ever made.

This is an interesting intellectual exercise, and its kind of fun to see what can be done and what you can get away with. Deep down perhaps all of us like to see how we can “cheat the system,” as it were.

Still, this immediately brings a few things to my mind:

  • Will Apple try to stop this? Ultimately they may have to, due to contractual obligations with AT&T. Otherwise, I wonder how much they’d care. After all, hardware sales are what it’s all about. Of course, if Apple is getting a piece of the AT&T contract then Apple suffers. I wonder how far Apple can go to lock this down?
  • Will AT&T try to stop this? Well, certainly, but other than complain to Apple I wonder what they can do.
  • No EDGE, only WiFi. Critics of EDGE tend to blow off WiFi, saying that it’s not available in enough locations, yet here is a portable device that’s WiFi only, and apparently enough for some people. As I said in a previous article : “Just as people who bought SUVs as they rose in popularity may have talked about ‘off-roading,’ but never took it off the road, the fact is the iPhone is going to be used in Starbuck’s a lot more often than the jungle.”
  • What’s the usefulness of this thing? I mean, now you have to carry a separate phone. So you paid $600 for an internet device and an iPod. Is the Internet and new iPod interface worth that much to you? Especially since the new interface is almost certainly coming to the iPod soon (see next entry).
  • That is one expensive iPod! I’m sure the Sixth Generation (6G) iPod will have the touchscreen interface, and also sure it will contain a hard drive. You’d get the great interface and lots of storage (though probably no internet) for less money. The 6G iPod will likely be released in the September/October timeframe (in plenty of time for Christmas).
  • And speaking of expense, since you still presumably have a separate cell phone and plan, aren’t you really only saving the $20 each month for the unlimited data plan? I don’t exactly burn $20 bills, but that’s not really a whole lot a month for someone who can spend the initial $600 for this (plus a separate phone!) in the first place.

This whole exercise is interesting, if only to show it can be done, but I wonder how many people will actually do it? It may be that Apple and AT&T realize the number will be insignificant (though I’m sure it’s all the press will talk about) and not worth the trouble or expense to stop it any further. I’m just not sure how many people will buy three devices in one, and then immediately disable one of those devices so they can carry it separately. I’m curious to see if a significant number of iPhone users cancel their accounts without returning their phones.

The other question, of course, is if you can activate the phone’s functionality via another carrier’s SIM card. I think Apple’s tried to lock this one down. But even if you could, so you wouldn’t be carrying a separate phone, some questions still remain. On another carrier you’re only saving the $20 per month for unlimited data, and you lose visual voice-mail in the process. Do you hate AT&T that much? Remember, if it was up to Verizon we’d have an iPhone nothing like the cool one we have now. I can see if you live in an area with no AT&T coverage, but beyond that it seems an extreme exercise to “cheat” one of the two companies that actually made the iPhone happen.

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3 thoughts on “The widescreen, Wifi, Internet-in-your-pocket iPod.

  1. RE: The next iPod, good thoughts but we’ll have to agree to disagree here.

    If they implement cover flow flicking and a virtual scroll wheel, then they have to use Multi-Touch to do it. Why implement MT and not use the new interface they’ve already developed and that, by all accounts, is a huge hit?

    If Apple uses their NEW technology (MT) to simply implement a virtual version of their OLD technology (scroll wheel), I think they’ll be laughed at.

  2. I doubt the coverage is an issue any more with AT&T’s purchase of Dobson wireless AND the fact that you can roam freely on Vodafone and TMobile.

    I agree on the “few” who do this are … well … just a few. BUT – that doesn’t mean that that’s something a lot of people would go for.

    I’m not so sure that we will see multitouch in the next iPod. Coverflow flicking (YES) Virtual scroll wheel (YES) but not multitouch, just something dumbed down or derivitive of it.

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