Guess it’s time to eat my own words. Didn’t even make it a year.
As much as I loved having a cheapskate cell phone plan, I’ve graduated to an iPhone.
It’s an early birthday present from Abby, and I love it. My favorite part is actually the way it mashes multiple things together and simplifies my life. I’m still not much of a cell phone talker, but I take way too many pictures, I need my calendar and address book, and while I don’t always get lost, having directions and maps handy is a huge plus.
So being able to call for help when the car dies (one of these days it will) is nice, but having my computer in my pocket is what’s worthwhile.
Abby and I have been cell phone shopping (for her, not me—I still can’t justify it), and surprise, surprise—it’s delivering great marketing lessons.
We’re comparing Android phones on Virgin Mobile’s no-contract plan, and the way they pitch the phones is pathetic. They’re talking about features instead of benefits. They tell you all the phones features, but they don’t talk about how those features actually benefit you. And most of the time in their rush to tell you features, they just keep telling you more and more features to the point that they’re completely useless.
- A clock? Seriously? That’s the feature you’re going to brag about?
- I can send email on the phone? Wow. Every smartphone you sell does that. And it’s not like we’re looking at smartphones and non-smartphones side by side where the ability to send email would be worth pointing out.
- RAM: 512 MB. What does that mean? Later on we get “Internal Memory Size Limit: *ROM 512MB,” followed by the asterisk explanation: “* Usable ROM is less than usable RAM by 152MB” I’m a pretty tech savvy guy, but I’m still lost.
- Access to the Android app store? No.
Those are all features the company keeps lining up like they’re aiming for bragging rights. What they don’t realize is that they’re making it harder and harder for a customer to choose a phone.
Instead, they should talk about benefits. A feature is that you can access the Android app store. A benefit is that I can find an app to do anything I want, whether it’s track my budget or calculate tip.
Wait, that sounds familiar. How does Apple advertise its app store? Oh yeah: “There’s an app for that.”
Give people benefits instead of features. Apple figured that out and it’s why the iPhone is everywhere.
Last year we gave up our monthly minute cell phone plan and went the pay as you go route. We went from 700 minutes per month to about 2,000 minutes per year. And we went from paying roughly $800 a year to about $300.
It helps that we don’t text that often, have a phone at home (VOIP actually) and I just don’t use a cell phone much. The savings seem like a no-brainer.
But now the iPhone is looking more and more tempting. I may not use a cell phone much, but the idea of having the Internet at my fingertips is pretty tempting. I refuse to become one of those obnoxious people who checks Twitter in the middle of a real life conversation, but I still think I could make good use of an iPhone. Even more so now that the Table Project has released their iPhone app.
Yet every time I’m tempted by an iPhone I crunch the numbers and try not to choke. Two-year cost for my current, cheapo, pay-as-you-go plan? About $600. Two-year cost for an iPhone with minimal minutes and middle-of-the-road data? About $3,000. (That’s two phones, by the way. My wife would kill me if I got an iPhone and left her with the cheapo phone.) That’s a $2,400 difference.
Now when I’m tempted I think about what I could do with $2,400.
(The funny thing is I’ll probably find some work-related reason why I need an iPhone and I’ll look back at this post and feel embarrassed. Kind of like when I blogged about returning my Wii in 2008, only to buy one in 2011 and play it nearly every day. Or like when I blogged about how much I hate public speaking, only to agree to more public speaking.)