iPhone monthly plan details revealed

How much is it gonna cost you per month to use all those cool features in Apple’s upcoming drool-inducing iPhone? Turns out it’s not too much:

Essentially you are paying an additional $20 over AT&T’s regular plans and getting unlimited data, 200 SMS messages, and the visual voicemail feature. AT&T’s SmartPhone Connect, which includes unlimited data, doesn’t provide you with text messaging and costs the same — tack on an additional $5 for the 200-message package and the iPhone package is a bit cheaper. Assuming you wanted the data plan if you got a smart phone, you’d save $120 by going with the iPhone over the two years of the contract, which oughta make that initial higher cost slightly easier to take.

EDIT–ADDITION BY JAY JOHNSON– I didn’t really think this warranted a new topic, and don’t want to step on David’s toes, but I found something else about the iPhone monthly plan pricing that could be important to possible consumers. If you are already an existing AT&T customer (as I am, and unlike some, I’ve been very pleased with the service), the rates to add an iPhone to your package is even less than the chart posted above. In fact, it’s a LOT less. The three packages, from left to right above are $20, $30, and $40 respectively. There are also discounted rates available for customers with a “family plan” with multiple iPhones. Effectively, if you’re an AT&T customer already, it’s almost a no-brainer, if you can swing the $499-$599 for the unit. With what the machine can do (iPod, mobile internet/email machine, phone, camera), I think the price is not heinous. Especially, if it’s only going to cost me another $30 a month in service.

36 Responses to “iPhone monthly plan details revealed”

  1. Brendan Loy says:

    Hey, that’s not bad. I thought it would be more.

    But can it be used as a wireless modem, like I use my old crappy-ass Sprint phone? Apparently not: “One thing Apple did tell us is that you won’t be able to use the iPhone as a wireless Bluetooth modem for a laptop on the road, for example (at least that’s the current plan).”

    If that’s correct, and if the “current plan” as of January hasn’t changed, that’s head-smackingly stupid. Why on earth would Apple not include a feature that should be easy to enable, and that exists on the “smartphones” it compares the iPhone to (as well as plenty of less-advanced phones, like mine)? Lame.

  2. marty west says:

    Only 200 SMS messages? That is pretty weak.

    Plus it’s a two year contract? F that. Considering Apple is already working on the iPhone 2.0 this is a ripoff.

    So you spend $600 on the phone, at least $60 a month on the plan (not including taxes, insurance etc.) you are looking at at LEAST $2000 for 2 years? No thanks!

  3. Jay Johnson says:

    The biggest holdup for me on the iPhone (now that I know the service plan prices) is not the cost.

    It’s the fact that they didn’t just go ahead an use 3G instead of EDGE. I’m guessing it was simply a cost thing to AT&T and Apple re putting it into the initial product. (Just spoke with my former neighbor who’s a cell tower tech for AT&T), and he says that AT&T is beefing up it’s 2.5G EDGE product, too, so hopefully that’ll at least help out on the speed (he was at a tower doing this when I called him).

    As far as bloy’s point re the use of it as a modem, I can understand that, but it doesn’t matter to me personally. Besides, the iPhone is about as much portable computer as I really want to carry around with me with any frequency.

    I’m not entirely hung up on the EDGE/3G issue, because I suspect that most of the time I’ll want to use the iPhone for any web/email apps, I’ll be in proximity to some WiFi source or another to glom onto.

    It’s a cool product, but not cheap. However, it’s like anything else, and if people want it at the price it’s being offered, they’ll buy it. If not, then it’ll flop (or they’ll drop the price).

  4. David K. says:

    To be fair marty, thats no different than current smart phones. I’ve done comparison charts showing that other than the lack of 3G data capabilities in this generation that some other smart phone plans, the iPhone blows away the competition in a lot of areas, including talk time, memory (most smart phones come with 64MB by default, the iphone comes with 4/8 GB. That means all other smart phones come with 1.5% of the memory of the iPhone by default. The BlackBerry Pearl before rebates costs $399, add in an addtional $50 for 4GB compact flash card and you are up to $449, the iPhone costs what, $50 more? Now for the consumer its a tad different as you can get a discount on the BlackBerry because of the previous arrangements with the carriers/handset makers, but you only get that discount if you go with the 2 year plan.

    Considering Apple is already working on the iPhone 2.0 this is a ripoff.

    And they are going to be working on iPhone 3.0 after that. Welcome to the world of technology, what you have is obselte pretty fast, but its a stupid argument because most people buy something to do what they want it to do, its not like there is a magical switch that Apple will flip that suddenly makes the iPhone 1.0 suddenly stop working, it will still do every single thing it was advertised to do. If thats not enough for you then fine, don’t get it, its the wise choice. But its absolutely idiotic to bitch and moan like the iPhone is so vastly over priced/underpowered compared to its competitors when its clearly not.

  5. David K. says:

    If that’s correct, and if the “current plan” as of January hasn’t changed, that’s head-smackingly stupid. Why on earth would Apple not include a feature that should be easy to enable, and that exists on the “smartphones” it compares the iPhone to (as well as plenty of less-advanced phones, like mine)? Lame.

    Easty to enable…heh, let me tell you sometime how adding one new feature is “easy” in software :P Regardless Apple has shown from the very beggining that despite the iPhones varried capabilities its not meant to be a swiss army knife. It does a couple things and it does them very very well (or thats the idea) but like the iPod before it (and the Mac in general) the idea is not to cram every feature you possibly can to appeal to every edge demographic in the universe into their product. Thats called feature bloat and it makes products clunky, buggy, and a pain in the ass.

    What does a bluetooth modem support enable you to do? Safe to say that the primary reason anyone would use that feature is for web and e-mail connectivity. Guess what? The iPhone is BUILT to do that. The whole point, as Jay alludes to is that its designed to remove the NEED to carry around your whole computer.

    Now for a gadget freak like you, sure its tough because you stretch the limit of any technology given to you and use it for very niche reasons. ANd i’ve tried to point that out to other uber-nerds and power users who bitch and moan about the iPhone not including everything + kitchen sink. There is a vastly larger market of users out there than the small % who are uber nerds/buisness users (the ones who are claiming it will fail since it doesn’t have Exchange support, etc). Nintendo has done the same thing in the console market that Apple is trying to do in the high end phone market. Target your product at people who want more from a phone but aren’t uber-nerds. Let Blackberry and Palm and Windows Mobile continue to duke it out for that small segment and try and take over the vast consumer base, the same one it captured when it released the iPod.

    No, the iPhone isn’t for everyone, it doesn’t have a million niche features, but its not supposed to! You can’t judge the iPhone like a regular cellphone or the current gen smart phones, its completely different! It may fail because its different or it may succeed because its different, but you have to first acknowledge that it IS different so judging it by other standards is rather pointless.

  6. marty west says:

    Also…the lack of a qwerty keyboard is going to get old fast…and the screen is glass. scratch and crack city.

  7. David K. says:

    OK, last comment then i gotta get back to work, this ones for Jay:

    “It’s the fact that they didn’t just go ahead an use 3G instead of EDGE.”

    This is largely for the same reason I alluded to in my post to Brendan. Apple isn’t targetting the uber-nerd/uber-buisness user blackberry addict here. This is going to be a high end consumer product. By going with EDGE first Apple is going to provide incredibly wide data network support, and the slower speed of edge will be offset by the ability to use WiFi. Add to that the fact that 3G is only available in select markets, and in those markets i’d bet that a fraction of the people with cell phones actually use it or use it to its full potential. The same people who are having a heart attack over apple not including 3G are the same ones who complain about not being able to check their corporate exchange e-mail accounts, and the same people who criticize the Mac Mini for not have 73 200Ghz processors. These uber-nerds really believe that the gadget world has to revolve around them, ignoring the simple reality that they make up a small fraction of the user base, and not even the user base Apple is targetting. When they complain about this or that feature missing my response is always the same, That’s because its not AIMED at you.

    I really trully believe that the lack of 3G in this generation of the iPhone is not going to be an issue for the vast majority of users, short of perhaps the fact that it will make them WANT to use the iPhone for more internet and actually DRIVE a desire for more 3G coverage.

  8. David K. says:

    Also…the lack of a qwerty keyboard is going to get old fast…and the screen is glass. scratch and crack city.

    Again the whole POINT is not to have a dedicated qwerty keyboard. If you are that addicted to texting you should be using a crackberry, the iPhone is NOT aimed at you. And the fact that its using glass and not plastic means it will scratch less, as for cracking, glass doesn’t mean its going to be like what you are drinking water out of, there are a lot of things they can do to glass to make it strong and durable.

  9. marty west says:

    Does David work for Apple?

    God forbid we express our opinions.

    I just feel that the “vanity” of having a touchscreen will get old.

    If Apple isn’t aiming the iPhone at smartphone users why are the pricing points pretty much identical? It’s even going to be able to run word and excel docs? Why would the “niche” market you speak about need these?

    The points I am raising are the same points that hundreds of Apple fanboys are raising on the forums of Macrumors and various other sites. They are completely valid.

  10. Mindsurfer says:

    “Does David work for Apple?”

    Heh! This conversation has provided a lot of useful information. Thanks all.

    IMO uber-nerds do not make up the sweet spot of early adopters. They tend to nick-pick too much.
    Apple learned that lesson with the LISA Project.
    I think David K’s on to something here.

  11. dcl says:

    Hmm, nope, David dose not work for Apple… He does work for another large computer company though.

  12. David K. says:

    Does David work for Apple?
    No.

    God forbid we express our opinions.
    Express all you want, but welcome to the real world where if you express an opinion people disagree with or think is stupid, they also get to call you on it.

    I just feel that the “vanity” of having a touchscreen will get old.
    “Vanity” of the touchscreen? Same thing they said about the Nintendo DS when it came out… Lets see, it lets you type on a keyboard using the same two fingers you type on a fixed keyboard on a blackberry, etc, but is only there when you need it. Less mechanical parts involved, cleaner inteface that offers more options, if you see this only as a vanity its because you are stuck in the rut of thinking that eveyr product needs to be like what we allready have.

    If Apple isn’t aiming the iPhone at smartphone users why are the pricing points pretty much identical?
    Because the parts cost similar amounts? Are you arguing that two similarly priced products are always aimed at the same group? So if i take a luxury sedan and a 4×4 truck that are priced similarly you are telling me that they are aimed at the same user?

    It’s even going to be able to run word and excel docs? Why would the “niche” market you speak about need these?
    The niche market i’m talking about are uber-nerds/smartphone users who as it stands now are primarilly buisness users. They use word and excel because, well its buisness. The iPhone will ALSO be able to read word and excel documents because those are common e-mail and web formats. However on a smart phone you can edit them, which is what buisness users apparently want, the iPhone just offers viewing, my bet being that most people aren’t looking to edit a word doc or spreadsheet on a the iPhone.

    The points I am raising are the same points that hundreds of Apple fanboys are raising on the forums of Macrumors and various other sites. They are completely valid.
    So just because other uber-nerds are raising them means they are valid? Sorry thats the whole problem with the arguments int he first place. These people are power users and just like Apple has shown with the iPod, NOT the majority of the demographic that Apple is targeting.

  13. I R A Darth Aggie says:

    Assuming you wanted the data plan if you got a smart phone, you’d save $120 by going with the iPhone over the two years of the contract, which oughta make that initial higher cost slightly easier to take.

    Right up until you drop your iPhone in the Crapper. How much is the insurance policy?

  14. Nadine says:

    NYT’s Pogue has a fun new video showing the iPhone’s various features:
    http://video.on.nytimes.com/index.jsp?fr_story=caed76f16c6132710db58210df3940afb8a3f7c8

  15. Melissa says:

    So, I am clearly behind the times, but based on the above comments am I correct that the iPhone will not be able to link up to your Outlook inbox for work?

    I am certainly no expert on what customers Apple is trying to get with this phone, but not having that feature seems to eliminate a huge potential market. Especially because these are people who can actually afford to drop $500 on a phone/gadget (or convince their company to buy them). I am sure plenty of people could care less about this feature too, but all things being equal, I don’t really see why they don’t throw this particular feature in. Is there a reason this would be difficult?

    Another question: does “unlimited data” refer to unlimited internet time or will users have to pay attention to how much time they spend online?

  16. Brendan Loy says:

    God forbid we express our opinions.

    Um, this was the dumbest comment of the whole thread, Marty. Did David try to delete or edit one of your comments or something? Because if not, I have no idea what you’re complaining about. I thought he was just responding with opinions of his own. Your opinions were strongly worded; so were his. What’s your beef? If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    That said, while I understand where David is coming from, and I get that Apple doesn’t want to cram every possible feature into its phone, I still think it should be able to operate as a modem… dammit. :)

  17. Brendan Loy says:

    Oh, and Melissa, I believe “unlimited data” means unlimited Internet time. Which is precisely why it would be AWESOME if it could be used as a modem… b/c then you’d have unlimited modem time! But alas.

  18. David K. says:

    So, I am clearly behind the times, but based on the above comments am I correct that the iPhone will not be able to link up to your Outlook inbox for work?

    That depends on what type of e-mail setup you have. The iPhones e-mail client will support both POP and IMAP accounts, standard for consumer e-mail, and may have built in support for GMail, i wasn’t quite clear on that from the info i’ve read. So far there is no mention of support for Exchange servers which are what a lot of companies use for their e-mail access. That said Exchange DOES work on Mac OS X, Entourage, the mac version of Outlook supports Exchange servers, and since the iPhone is running on the same core OS its not that it will be impossible to support, however this doesn’t appear to be a feature Apple is targetting for the V1 release of the iPhone. Then Apple hasn’t ever really targetted the enterprise market anyhow so i wasn’t too surprised personally.

    I do know some people for whom mobile e-mail is a necessity and for them, blackberry or windows mobile are going to be the way to go for now. Personally, as much as i like my job and what i do, when i walk out the door at the end of the day, thats it, no e-mail, no work related stuff til i come in the next morning except in very very rare circumstances. Work/life balance is important, i’d rather not burn out early.

  19. marty west says:

    I’m not going to be a consumer whore and shell out over 2K for 2 years a glorified iPod.

    I will stick to my cell phone and iPod shuffle for now.

    Mayyyybe if it’s storage capacity was realistic (most movies are between 1-3gbs, and my 1gb shuffle is fully loaded), had 3G, zoom for the camera, doubled as a (bluetooth) modem, then maybe…just maybe I would be interested.

    But hey…you can watch YOUTUBE!! WOWZORZ!!! And it has google maps! WOWOWOWOWOW! My free t-mobile phone has that too! But it has a touch screen!!! Smudge city! Don’t forget your charger either…because the battery is going to die if you use wifi!

    You can take your $2000 and buy a crappy ipod that you can call people from…I’m going to save my money.

  20. David K. says:

    Mayyyybe if it’s storage capacity was realistic (most movies are between 1-3gbs, and my 1gb shuffle is fully loaded), had 3G, zoom for the camera, doubled as a (bluetooth) modem, then maybe…just maybe I would be interested.

    And it should cure cancer too!!!!

    You can take your $2000 and buy a crappy ipod that you can call people from…I’m going to save my money.
    Congratulations, you have proved that you completely and utterly don’t get it. You bitch and moan above about how it compares to other smart phones (which it beats out in some areas, and doesn’t in others) but you call this overpriced without admitting that there are many many phones in this price range that are quite succesful. If you don’t want it, fine, but calling it a crappy iPod when the reviews are all calling it the BEST iPod ever? Well I’d trust the opinions of people who have actually USED it over someone who hasn’t a clue what they are talking about. You are free to express your opinion, as Brendan and I have both pointed out, but don’t complain when your ininformed and verifiable wrong opinions are pointed out.

    WSJ review highlights

    The iPhone’s most controversial feature, the omission of a physical keyboard in favor of a virtual keyboard on the screen, turned out in our tests to be a nonissue, despite our deep initial skepticism. After five days of use, Walt — who did most of the testing for this review — was able to type on it as quickly and accurately as he could on the Palm Treo he has used for years. This was partly because of smart software that corrects typing errors on the fly.

    The display is made of a sturdy glass, not plastic, and while it did pick up smudges, it didn’t acquire a single scratch, even though it was tossed into Walt’s pocket or briefcase, or Katie’s purse, without any protective case or holster. No scratches appeared on the rest of the body either.

    Battery life: Like the iPod, but unlike most cellphones, the iPhone lacks a removable battery. So you can’t carry a spare. But its battery life is excellent. In our tests, it got seven hours and 18 minutes of continuous talk time, while the Wi-Fi was on and email was constantly being fetched in the background. That’s close to Apple’s claim of a maximum of eight hours, and far exceeds the talk time claims of other smart phones, which usually top out at five and a half hours.

    For continuous music playback, again with Wi-Fi on and email being fetched, we got over 22 hours, shy of Apple’s claim of up to 24 hours, but still huge. For video playback, under the same conditions, we got just under Apple’s claim of seven hours, enough to watch four average-length movies. And, for Web browsing and other Internet functions, including sending and receiving emails, viewing Google maps and YouTube videos, we got over nine hours, well above Apple’s claim of up to six hours.

    They mention some things like the slower speed of EDGE and the lack of some features in other smart phones, they also point out that Apple has said they will include new features as FREE downloads as time goes by.

    Yeah, this thing will definitely be a flop… (/sarcasm)

  21. marty west says:

    David…

    I can express an opinion and disagree with you. But stop crying. Maybe your iPhone will dry your tears,

  22. David K. says:

    haha, nice try marty, better luck next time if thats the best you’ve got

  23. David K. says:

    Melissa, it appears that Apple is indeed going to include support for Exchange, although it might require a configuration setting on the server to support it:

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=534

  24. kcatnd says:

    David, Marty, don’t make me pull this comment page over! I don’t care who started it, neither of you are getting dessert tonight.

    Brendan, you taking notes?

  25. anon says:

    According to ATL, law firm associates are making big pushes at their offices for iPhone capability as a replacement for the more common Crackberry/Treos. I have to say I don’t see it happening, particularly if the iPhone doesn’t offer editing capabilities on Word documents. And the compatability nightmares when some people retain their PC-based PDAs and other (presumably younger) associates get iPhones? Let alone the syncing?

    I don’t use a PDA for work, but I’m waiting until the iPhone is at least in its second generation before taking a look. Then again, my first iPod was a 3rd gen. I’m not exactly one to get sucked into the miasma of wanting to be the first person on the block with a particular thing.

  26. marty west says:

    At least David argues back. Sometimes I just like to push buttons…but I am PRO Apple (just ask my macbook)…just anti-Iphone.

  27. David K. says:

    I have to say I don’t see it happening, particularly if the iPhone doesn’t offer editing capabilities on Word documents. And the compatability nightmares when some people retain their PC-based PDAs and other (presumably younger) associates get iPhones? Let alone the syncing?

    I’ve always wondered how much people ACTUALLY edit things like spreadsheets or word docs on a mobile phone, i would think it would be a royal pain in the butt to try and do so, but thats just me.

    As for the compatability nightmares, what precisely are you worried about? If the reports are right the iPhone will be able to sync to normal Exchange servers and syncing the phone is done through iTunes which is free for Mac’s and PC’s and has worked well enough for the iPod, what kind of problems are you worried about?

  28. David K. says:

    but I am PRO Apple (just ask my macbook)…just anti-Iphone

    See, its ok to not like something or to think its not the right product for YOU, but what your biggest problem here is (and this is entirely true of many people on gadget blogs, tech forums, etc) is that once you decide that product A won’t do X, Y, and Z and therefore YOU don’t want it, that therefore no one wants it, regardless of the fact that the target market for the product might not really care about X, Y, or Z. Add to that the fact that this is a first gen product which Apple has allready said will gain more capabilities as they are able for FREE, and the fact that some of the things you complain about are proveable false, well it makes what few legitimate complaints you have a little hard to take seriously.

  29. David K. says:

    Sometimes I just like to push buttons

    Gabe’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory lives again!
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

  30. marty west says:

    I’ve never posted anon.

    I’ve used my real name and expressed what I agree and/or disagree with your thoughts on the iPhone. I posted a simple response to your original post…you were the one who took it upon yourself to pick apart my comments line by line for your own personal justification.

    I would say that makes you the “fuckwad.”

    What is a fuckwad anyway?

  31. David K. says:

    marty, the fact that you have admitted that you intentionally like to push peoples buttons is the reason i pointed that out, not that you disagree about the iPhone.

    You posted your opinion, i disagreed with them and explained why, sorry if you don’t like the fact that i picked your original comments apart, but if you don’t want people to disagree with you your better off not posting in a public forum like this. First you accuse me of not wanting to let you express your opinion, something that is patently false, now you complain that i picked apart your comments for my “own personal justification”, or um how about because you were wrong in some cases and i disagreed in others? Seriously if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen, and for someone who, again, has admitted you intentionally like to provoke people (and hey maybe thats what you are doing now, but that would just prove my point even further) you seem incredibly thin skinned.

  32. David K. says:

    Yes Marty, that would in fact apply to your arugments here, not sure why you felt the need to look up a phrase in urban dictionary for it, but whatever floats your boat i guess…

  33. anon says:

    When I questioned the syncing capability, it was mostly a comment on the apparent lack of support for Microsoft Exchange (which was also the root of my skepticism about the interface between PC-based units and iPhones).

    I don’t know how much actual editing people do on their PDA, but my understanding of the reason that firm lawyers rely so heavily on them is that they can make changes to documents while traveling or at home. I could be wrong, though.

  34. David K. says:

    I don’t doubt there are SOME people who edit their documents, i just wish there was a source or a study or something that told us how much people actually DO edit their documents. Its my understanding that that ability is rather a recent one in Windows Mobile in any case.