Relative #iPhone 4 value: connectivity

I’m back from a weekend visit at the countryside with my folks and friends. The only reliable Internet source there was mobile connection; the bad news is my operator offers only crappy EDGE in that region.

I’ve just discovered some minutes ago, coming back home (full 1 Gbps fiber over wifi + full HSPA coverage) the value of a mobile / portable device is so much dependent on its connectivity.

3 quarters of all my apps require Internet connection. None of my highly important apps worked properly at the countryside, under 20-21 Kbps conditions: Reeder was loading 1000 new articles in about 10 mins, Pandora was unable to create a reasonable buffer, AccuWeather was displaying 24 hours delayed updates, Twitter was not syncing properly, all my cloud storages (ReaddleDocs, iDisk, Dropbox, SugarSync etc) were absolutely useless, PixelPipe was unable to upload in decent time any of the hundreds of pictures I’ve been taken, Skype was dropping some 5-10%, Analytics Pro was loading data in 5-6 mins, emails were coming in bits an pieces, showing huge delays.

Even playing was a pain: Archetype was unable to connect to multiplayer server leaving me with the training mode only.

The good part is I only went there for leisure. But if it were necessary for me to see a 50 MB power point, to edit a doc and upload it back or to edit some exchange appointment, well, that would have been impossible and frustrating.

I’m not going to say here anything against operator’s coverage and sales strategies.

The strong idea is a mobile or a portable device is structurally highly dependent on Internet speed. I know it sounds like a truism, but it’s not: my 500 pounds never locked iPhone 4 was down to some 20-30 bucks for 3 days just because of constant poor Internet connection.

I see this the other way around: it’s not (only) a carrier problem, but most important – your mobile device worth is relative to your Internet premisses.

Two iPhone 4 owners, residing in two opposite location from connectivity point of view – do not have the same device at all. Their devices may look the same, cost the same, share the same features and issues, but the Internet accessibility and speed separate them into “good device” and “bad device”, into “much too expensive” and “worths-all-the-money device”.

The Internet enabled phone will let you do your urgent remote office job, while the offline one will become a frustrating toy.

I would say that a pace of Internet speed decrease of 1 Kbps worths 1 dollar in phone price. A 600$ phone is valued so under very good Internet conditions, while it’s price may get as low as 30$ under poor connectivity.

Now think about what my iPad has become this weekend!

Under poor Internet premisses, three quarters of the apps requiring sync, update, publishing or sharing were becoming sluggish; the overall iOS speed could be subjectively perceived as down to 30%, these 30 percents relying exclusively on smart GUI structure, fast app switching and very good input responsiveness. Nothing more.

A good mobile device is just like a plug into Internet: the bigger its mouth, the better the user experience, the higher its ranking.

Therefore, if you wanna dodge the frustration buying “an expensive toy”, don’t even think about it unless you’re covered with at least 500 Kbps mobile Internet AND at least 10 Mbps wifi most of the time. Otherwise it simply won’t worth it.

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