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Apple, iPhone 3G, and Honesty in Marketing

As you no-doubt have heard, there’s a newer, faster, cheaper iPhone on the way. Not just “faster” and “cheaper”, in fact, but says Apple: “Twice as fast. Half the price.”

This, friends, is a big fat lie — it may well be twice as fast, but the iPhone 3G is not half the price of the original iPhone. This is not a point I intend to argue — it is not news. The up-front purchase cost of an 8 GB iPhone 3G is $200 lower than that of an 8 GB original iPhone, but AT&T will be hiking the cost of the data plan and (supposedly) making us pay for formerly included text messages, the upshot being that the Total Cost of Ownership (purchase price plus monthly fee times term of contract) of an 8 GB iPhone just increased by $160.

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that Steve Jobs got up there on stage and said “half the price”. The big deal is that Apple’s tagline for the new iPhone says “half the price”. The big deal is that none other than the New York Times says “Apple Aims for the Masses With a Cheaper iPhone”. And it’s a lie: the money gets paid out differently, sure, but someone who could not afford the original iPhone can’t afford this one either, and Apple is trying to fool them into buying it anyway.

I don’t care that the new iPhone is more expensive (OK, I care a little); I don’t care if AT&T’s 2x charge for 3G vs. EDGE data is justified; and I don’t care if the total cost of an iPhone 3G is now more in-line with other 3G smartphones. What I care about is that Apple won’t stand up and admit it. Why do they insist on selling the iPhone 3G as cheaper when it’s obviously not, and why is everyone OK with this?

Let’s just face it, Apple: this whole thing is sleazy, and we expect better.

Update: AT&T has officially announced rate plans for the iPhone 3G. No surprises: $10 price increase from the 2G data plan, and text messages are no longer included. Also, they used the word “iReady”. For real.