The other day I made a post about how Apple (and consumer technology for the most part) are great at selling the notion of rip and replace as a positive thing.
Now, it seems that people are starting to see that Apple is not only good at getting people to dump their iPod for the latest version, but are also one of the few companies that can work an effective lock-in model in an increasingly open technology world.
As referenced here, the lower price of the iPhone also comes with a hitch – a two-year contract from AT&T. This is surprising in a lot of ways, namely because many companies – Verizon was one of the first – are allowing consumers to activate any phone on their network.
The cool factor of the iPhone makes it a little easier to slip the lock-in portion of the deal past consumers. And also, there are really only a handful of viable national carriers that Apple could conceivably partner with – plus AT&T is coming to the plate to subsidize the price of the iPhone. So, there is a trade-off – a much cheaper phone with lots of cool features, but a contract along with it. And most mobile users are fine with contracts – they’ve dealt with them from day one.
But on the other hand…I would not be surprised to see Apple also offer a full pried unlocked version, to which they can market (to what I expect to be eager) buyers who want an open-ended mobile scenario.