1. Despite Steve not-quite-answering the question about whether they would make hardware changes by sort-of-but-not-really saying “no,” I’m not convinced that if I buy an iPhone today it would be identical to the one I would buy in a month. And since they obviously won’t acknowledge a change in the hardware, I would have no recourse if I later found out the phone I bought was inferior to the later ones.
2. They seem to think they’ve fixed the problem. Giving people a free case and full satisfaction guarantee is an appropriate response to the situation, and I appreciate that. But putting a case over the phone is not the same thing as fixing the PHONE, and I find that a little unsettling that at once they say there is no problem and never was any problem, but also they have now fixed it. By giving away a $30 case, and making no change to the $700 phone itself.
3. As a prospective buyer, I like that they are giving an option of various cases. I posted somewhere on the interwebs a few days ago that if they did indeed give out free cases, I hoped it would be in a selection of colors, as being forced to use a case was bad enough, but it would be nice to at least have some basic options of personal style.
4. My desire to purchase the phone from Radio Shack to get the trade-in on the 3GS complicates the situation. The 30-day guarantee is great. They say most people don’t have a problem with the phone at all — now you can find out for yourself and be under no obligation if you are one of the minority with the problem. Great. Except if I trade in my 3GS, and my iPhone 4 doesn’t work, I don’t expect Radio Shack to give me my old phone back. If Apple was willing to replace the iPhone 4 with a 3GS instead of a refund, I would feel fine about the situation. Except that they apparently no longer sell 3GS’s with 32GB. A refurb would be fine, but I’m skeptical. And they don’t really say how the refund will work if you bought the phone from a third party store. I’m curious to hear what those kinds of policies will be, once the other retailers catch up to what Apple just announced.
5. For me personally, the 30-day return period doesn’t help me now. I’m currently in an area with pretty good AT&T coverage, and will be for about the next 35 days. I want to use it in Manhattan (and in Fargo, for that matter, although that’s more impractical) before I decide if it works or not.
I still really want the phone, but money is tight, even with a job, after just barely being able to pay off my Macbook Pro, and I’ll be unemployed for most of September. Buying it without trading the 3GS would be irresponsible. For a number of reasons, I don’t think I should make a move for at least a month — to see if a minor change is made in manufacturing, to test the phone in NYC, and so that by the time the credit card bill is due, I’ll have gotten at least one check from The Acting Company!
I am still really enjoying iOS4 on my 3GS, especially now that Google Apps has fixed a settings problem that caused all Standard users to be forced to use a 1-minute auto-lock on the phone (just delete and recreate your account on the phone if you’re experiencing it).
There are a number of purchases valued between $100-300 I’ve wanted to make in the months since I had to replace my Macbook Pro, and a few of them are actually things I would rather have sooner than a new iPhone. If I can only afford just one in the near future, the iPhone would not be my first choice.
I’m very curious to see what the reaction is to all this in the coming days and weeks, though.