Tech Check

Apple iPhone: Should You Buy It? Q&A To Help You Decide

Boy in front of Apple Store

So, here we are a day away now from Apple Inc.'s iPhone release, and after months of hype and endless coverage, consumers still have some questions, like the day-to-day issues that could determine whether this phone is right for you. So, here are some questions and answers that may help you make up your mind.

1. How easy will it be to get email on the iphone?
The iPhone will sync up with Yahoo Mail, Google's   gMail and even Microsoft's Outlook. But it won't work with your company's email system if it runs on BlackBerry software. Good for consumers. Not so good for professionals. So, Blackberry users are out of luck. There are rumors of workarounds, but no one knows how or when.

2. What would make me want to get it?
Consumers who want a big chunk of their music and video on the go will want this. But since storage is limited (4 gigs and 8 gigs with no memory card slot to expand storage) you won't be able to carry all of it. The iPhone will also be good for "true" internet content in your pocket, rather than the stripped-down websites we're all used to. And, iPhone will also be good for consumers who don't mind re-learning how to type on a new touch-screen keypad, or remembering to re-charge every night since there's no removable battery you can swap out.

3. What is the difference between the iPhone and BlackBerry?
The iPhone will play downloaded music and videos with a coolness factor BlackBerry just can't match. But, BlackBerry's been on the market for some time, and users are familiar with the keypad. Don't underestimate the power of a headstart and familiarity.

4. How well does it work everywhere I go?
AT&T offers a map showing coverage throughout the U.S. Lots of dead space West of the Mississippi, but major cities enjoy good coverage. For voice. Data might be another story, especially on what many complain is an inferior data network, AT&T's "edge" network. And surprisingly, iPhone is only a 2.5G phone when so much of the industry is migrating to higher-capable 3G.

5. How much it is going to cost to service the phone?
The 8-gig iPhone will run $599, plus tax. About $600 here in California. AT&T is offering the bare minimum pkg of 450 all-you-can-eat minutes for $60. But most people will opt for the 1,350 minutes at about $100 a month. Figure on about $2,000 that first year.

"Apple will fundamentally sell every one that they can sell, just because the demand will be so high," says Creative Strategies' Tim Bajarin.

Meaning iPhone won't be right for everyone, at that cost. Just tens of millions of you.

Look for "investor" questions and answers coming up in a later post today.

Questions?  Comments?