I predict the iPhone won't be nearly as successful as the iPod because, at least for the moment, it is only available on AT&T's wireless service, which has a less than stellar record (I can't think of a single person who has said anything positive about AT&T Wireless, but that's just me). Lauren Hackett alerted me to Consumer Reports assessment of AT&T Wireless:
"AT&T Wireless???formerly known as Cingular???has been among the least satisfying service providers, according to Consumer Reports??? annual customer satisfaction surveys. In fact, in our latest report, from January of this year, AT&T had ???middling to low??? customer satisfaction, with static and busy circuits pegged as widespread problems (as they???ve been in our previous surveys). Frequent service-related problems were compounded by the company???s relatively low marks for helpfulness in handling customer questions and complaints."
Consumer Reports goes on to say, "In addition, the iPhone will run on AT&T???s "2.5G" EDGE network, rather than one of the faster "3G" networks available from the major carriers, such as Verizon or Sprint???s EVDO or even AT&T???s own UMTS/HSDPA network (don???t worry about the acronyms; the upshot is that EDGE has much lower bandwidth than true 3G networks)." [emphasis added] But I do worry about the acronyms because they aren't just a bunch of crazy character strings, they limit my choice as a consumer.
1G, 2.5G, 3G, EVDO, UMTS/HSDPA, VoFI, E-I-E-I-O???none of these standards interoperate and phones often only use one or two of them. Even moving a phone from one wireless network to another using the same technology is often difficult if not impossible. The situation with wireless service is not unlike the early land-line days. You leased a phone from your telco, and until MA Bell was given a monopoly, you could take a phone from one telco to another and be guaranteed that it would work.