Hey Apple and AT&T, does a jar of Vaseline come with that iPhone 3GS?

So it’s the day after every Apple fanboy’s moment of tech nirvana and we get to start hearing the realistic version of what was said to all those adulating attendees of Apple’s keynote speech. Central to all the news of course was the announcement that the iPhone 3GS would be shipping on June 19th and that it would have a bunch of new goodies to go along with the new shafting prices.

While there were no fluffy bunnies they did tack on that letter ‘S’ to the 3G which apparently is suppose to stand for Speed. Mind you I could think of a few other words the ‘S’ could stand for (stupid, sucker) given AT&T’s small print when you buy the new iPhone.

It is the price point that is starting to piss off even the most loyal iPhone users looking to upgrade their crack older version of the phone. They might have had prices like $199 and $299 in nice large print up on the screen but that dastardly small print on the apple iPhone sales pitch page told a different story. As they tell it over at the iPong blog

It started when someone spotted the fine print at the bottom of Apple’s iPhone sales pitch page about “unqualified” iPhone 3G customers having to pay $499, $599, or even $699 for the new iPhone 3GS. But what initially appeared to be an absurd typo was quickly confirmed – sort of – when customers started looking up the upgrade pricing for their individual accounts and found that a 32 GB iPhone 3GS would indeed cost them $699, according to wireless.att.com. Or perhaps $499, if you believe apple.com. No matter. Word simply spread that existing iPhone 3G users were about to fall victim to the screw job of the decade, and those 3G users who’d been following the day’s news on Twitter suddenly shifted their tone from an excited “I can’t wait to upgrade to an iPhone 3GS!” to a cynical “nah, I can live with my iPhone 3G just fine” along with an outraged “when did Apple suddenly decide to let AT&T rape half the iPhone user base?”

While Apple might have priced the rebooted 3G at $99 in order some think to deal some sort of death blow to the good press that the Palm Pre was getting, the news about things like tethering and MMS coming to everywhere that the iPhone is sold – except the US – only proved the failing of AT&T as a iPhone ‘partner’.

This comes at a time that AT&T is also getting slapped around by a growing number of reports about how its service is degrading rather than getting better.

People like Louis Gray might be willing to give AT&T a bit of break but the fact is that a lot of diehard Apple iPhone users are more than just a little mad and for them it isn’t just a matter of AT&T being the culprit here as Apple – in the case of the iPhone – has the stronger hand and should have been able to cut some awesome deals with AT&T. Like the gang at iPong said in their post today

So just what was Apple thinking when they agreed to this nonsense? It’s been widely documented that AT&T is a mess overall and that its iPhone exclusivity in the U.S. is the only thing that’s been propping it up. And even the least capable of businesspeople knows that when you’re in a position of strength, when you’re the one propping up your sagging partner, when your partner needs you a lot more than you need them, you either leave things they way they are out of benevolence and future goodwill or else you renegotiate things so they’re more slanted in your favor. But Apple has instead managed to end up with the shorter end of the stick this time, left with significantly lower sales of the iPhone 3GS and an upcoming public relations nightmare that will overshadow the half a dozen positive things Apple rolled out this week, wiping out the untold millions in free advertising that the company is typically able to milk the media for in a cycle like this one.

As for the people who either don’t read the fine print or decide that they just can’t do without that newest Apple bauble I can only say – I sure hope you got a smoke to puff on after signing on the dotted line because you are getting shafted royally but both companies.

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