New rumors have been suggesting that AT&T might start charging for the new feature on iOS 6 that allows Face Time without the assistance of WIFI. While Face Time may not be a feature that most of us use consistently, the idea of charging for it while not tethered to a WIFI network is infuriating. I wish I could say this was the first time I’ve heard of Wireless Providers crippling phone functionality for profit, but that’s far from true. This annoying provider habit is a big reason why many of us fell in love with the iPhone to begin with.
Apple started a good thing with the introduction of the first iPhone. Previously wireless networks were crippling the functions of good phones in order to capitalize on stupid little things such as ring tones or web browsing. I can recall a phone I once owned that had the ability to play MP3’s. The phone also had a mini SD card. Unfortunately the network blocked my ability to play MP3’s I already owned and had put on the mini SD card. The network would only allow me to play MP3’s downloaded from their networks. This was the world before iPhone. Apple broke the rules by offering it’s phone exclusively through Apple stores. This policy allowed Apple to keep total control over the software and opened up the phone to unrestricted and better functionality. Apple rewrote the rules for the better and changed the way we all use our phones. Now it seems the trend of crippling phone features is reemerging.
Apple really disappointed me when it allowed AT&T to charge more to enable the tethering feature when it came out. After all, Data is Data, How I choose to use it should be my choice. If the new rumors regarding fees for Face Time over 3G are true, Many of us will once again be very disappointed.The fact that Apple is not making more of a stand against the crippling their phone functionality is disappointing to say the least. Apple thrives on good functionality and innovation. Letting providers have too much control will ruin the iPhone. Once the ball gets rolling, there’s no telling where it will stop. Tim Cook would be wise not to make a habit of allowing networks to cripple phone functionality.
The provider should do one thing. provide service. What would the internet be like today if internet providers wanted to charge you for the use of every new invention that came along. How would it feel to pay extra in order to use instant messaging, email or have your computer software crippled. Fortunately, that’s not how the internet works and it shouldn’t be how wireless internet works either. Cell phone manufacturers should make good products and providers should provide us with service. The provider should not have any involvement with the technology that connects to their service. Just my two cents.
So what do you think about the trend, will it hurt Apple? Will it happen at all? We would love to see what you think.Joe Hoffman