So you bought your heavily subsidised iPhone 3G with a two-year contract and now you are upset because AT&T wants to charge you full price for the new iPhone 3GS, right? Well, stop whining. You have no arguments.
I have the iPhone 3G—by the way, I paid an extra $US500 deposit on top of the price tag because I didn't have US credit history back then—and I don't qualify for a subsidised upgrade. I have to finish my contract first.
But I am not whining. Not because I am a fanboy, but because there are no arguments to support the whining.
Sure, it sucks to be me and pay almost-full price for the iPhone 3GS, but that's how life is. You don't get a reduced price on your new notebook just because you bought the old model a year ago. You don't get reduced price on cars, or anything else.
The fact is that the $US199/$US299 price tag for the iPhone is the result of AT&T's (or any other carrier, since the situation is the same all around the world) subsidy. Without subsidy—and tying you to a new two year contract—the iPhone is not different from something like the Nokia N97, which is $US700 unlocked. Or the contract-free, unsubsidised iPhone 3G itself: The original iPhone costs $US770 and $US877 for 8 and 16GB versions.
I hate to defend AT&T or any other carrier. I hate their guts. All of them. Their monthly fees are highway robbery, yes. You may think you are entitled to a discount because of those fees, but that doesn't make much sense either. I'm afraid that, this time, they are right. And on top of that, your carrier is actually giving you a discount already. Tiny, but compared to the full price of the unsubsidised iPhone.
You better get used to this too. These things are computers. And as applications get more and more complex—specially games—you will want to have the latest and fastest, whether is iPhone, Android, Palm, Windows Mobile, or Blackberry. And with all of these, the situation will be exactly the same. Without a subsidy, you will keep paying full price for these tiny and wonderful computers. All of them. And that price will stay at around $US600 for a long time to come. It's not going to change.
Drive through, people. Nothing to see here.