Monday, August 13, 2007

The iBill is a New Kind of iBook, In a Way

Now that the iPhone has been out for a bit over a month, people are starting to get their first bills for the new service...and evidently, they're huge--not necessarily in price (though that could be the case as well), but in sheer volume. Ben at Ars Technica posts that his bill was 52 pages in length:
As you enjoy your weekend, ponder this bit of humor: while the iPhone may be master of the digital mobile experience (for now), dead trees come in for a flogging, as AT&T's iPhone bills are quite impressive in their own right. We're starting to get bills for the iPhone here at Ars, and while many of us have had smartphones for some time, we've never seen a bill like this.

One of our bills is a whopping 52 pages long, and my own bill is 34 pages long. They're printed on both sides, too. What gives?

The AT&T bill itemizes your data usage whenever you surf the Internet via EDGE, even if you're signed up for the unlimited data plan. AT&T also goes into an incredible amount of detail to tell you—well, almost nothing. For instance, I know that on July 27 at 3:21 p.m. I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as "Data Transfer." The Type of file? "Data." My total charge? $0.00.

This mind-numbing detail goes on for 52 double-sided pages (for 104 printed pages!) with absolutely no variance except the size of the files.
Read the whole thing; there are pictures.

As I've said before, I'm in no hurry to get one of these things, though I'm sure it'll happen sometime down the road. And when it does, I'd have to think seriously about taking the plunge into e-billing if they're going to mail me War and Peace every month. (My reasons for not doing e-billing thus far? Among other things, I would be nervous about somehow missing a bill; I have a separate email address for "commercial" concerns, and it gets more than its share of spam. I'd also have to figure out a different system besides the old-fashioned bill holder--with its numbered slots for each day of the month--that sits above me on the computer desk, and I'd have to print the e-bills out using my own paper and [overpriced] toner. For now, I'll kick it old-school on this one.)

I'd hate to see the printout for this one: Meanwhile, in Malaysia, a wireless company sent a dead guy a bill for $218 trillion dollars--this despite the fact that the man's son had gotten the service disconnected in January.

No comments: