No Cingular, no iPhone

If Apple Inc.'s newly announced, highly anticipated iPhone is as groundbreaking as the company and industry analysts suggest, this is one revolution some Americans will have to observe from the sidelines.

Apple signed an exclusive, multiyear deal with AT&T's Cingular Wireless to distribute the handset, and the bottom line is this: No Cingular service, no iPhone.

That's cruel calculus for technology lovers and Apple enthusiasts who have been anticipating the product for more than two years. The iPhone combines an iPod music player, cell phone and full-featured Internet browser in a sleek, svelte device.

As with all cool new tech devices, young people are a target market. Interviews with a random sampling of students at Rye High School showed there's a lot of buzz about the product, but also a lot of concern about the cost and the lack of availability to those who do not have Cingular service.

"It's sick!" senior Evan Mintz, 17, said when asked about the iPhone. (That's teen-speak for really, really cool.)

But he said he's in a bit of a bind because his contract with Verizon Wireless LLC has 18 months left and he likes the service.

"I wish they weren't linked with a provider and you could get it through any service," he said.

Yajaira Gonzalez, also a 17-year-old senior, said she has Cingular service and would love to get the iPhone as a gift. "All the kids are going to want that," she said.

Emi Katsuta, 18 and a senior, said she gets her cellular service from T-Mobile but likes the iPhone. "It has a lot of cool gadgets," she said.

Cell phone users in many rural areas around the nation will not be able to get the service. Cingular, like most other wireless service providers, allows users to "roam" on other carriers' networks, but requires new customers to live in communities the company serves directly.

Blog Archive