IPhone a 'big letdown' for some in Northeast

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermonters and some residents in Maine and other rural states won't be able to take advantage of Apple's hot new iPhone because it will be offered by a wireless carrier that doesn't maintain network in the states.

The iPhone, which combines an iPod music player, cell phone and full-featured Internet browser, is due to go on sale in June, but only in areas served by AT&T's Cingular Wireless. Apple has an exclusive distribution deal with the company.

The iPhone service won't be available in all or large portions of Maine, Alaska, Colorado, the Dakotas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, upstate New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming, among other places. According to Cingular's online coverage viewer at www.cingular.com/coverageviewer, the company has good coverage in southern Maine and in more urban areas of the state. It has no coverage at all in large swaths of western and northern Maine, however.

"It was a pretty big letdown," said Don Mayer, CEO of Small Dog Electronics, an Apple dealer in Waitsfield, Vt. "I would have much rather seen them come out with a variety of carriers so places like Vermont won't be left out in the cold."

Cingular customers can roam on other networks or other carriers, but new customers must live in communities the company serves. The iPhone was unveiled earlier this month during the annual Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. The device is a cross between another of Apple's industry-changing devices, the iPod, and a cell phone.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined comment on the iPhone's geographic availability

Blog Archive