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July 05, 2007

Is the iPhone hype leaving out some important details?

Richard Kuper
The Kuper Report

I've been randomly monitoring several different groups, some containing absolute early adopters, others containing a wider cross-section of business-minded folks. The early adopters love it, but still have some gripes, similar to those expressed by the major technology columnists in the print media. Others already have some issues. I am on a different cell network and am also no longer an early hardware adopter, having spent big bucks for things that either were replaced within a short period of time or disappeared entirely from the marketplace.

In any event, the most interesting detail I've learned so far is that, like the iPod, the battery in the iPhone is not consumer replaceable. You cannot get a spare battery or change it yourself. If the battery needs replacing, you need to send the iPhone to Apple for a replacement, leaving you without a phone/pda for an unknown period of time, unless you opt to rent one in the meantime or, perhaps in time, pay extra for some kind of coverage that will provide a loaner phone in the interim.

As far as I know, with iPods, you don't get back the same one you sent in, you get a refurbished replacement. I wonder if that will be the same model for the iPhone. I suspect that will cause some issues for folks who will first need to remember to back up everything on their iPhone before the battery dies, such as phone numbers and music and any customized preferences and whatever else they've chosen to store on it, and then when the replacement arrives reverse the process before being able to use the iPhone in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

It also seems that, except for the cool looking interface, most of the touted features are already available on other similar devices, and the software choices for other pda-type devices are extensive, while there are few or none for the iPhone.

I think I'll wait and see what the competition comes up with. And, hopefully, they won't follow the Apple model and make phones with non-replaceable batteries and then charge a small fortune for the phone and the battery replacement and leave you without a phone in the meantime.

The other unknown at the moment, if indeed you would get back a different iPhone than the one you sent in for a battery replacement, is what happens to the iPhone you send in for replacement and all of your data that is on it?

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