Thursday, September 06, 2007

Color me one of "the stupid"

Charlie Demerjian goes off on a typical Charlie rant about how stupid Apple fanbois are. He points to the $200 drop in price of the iPhone and the subsequent silence of the iLambs as just the latest evidence of gross stupidity amount Apple supporters. I just wanted to assure Charlie that such shenanigans aren't limited to Apple. It's a problem all over. That it was so glaring when Apple pulled the stunt is because of Apple's extremely high visibility. Let me offer the following examples of a lack of common sense when it comes to shiny shiny new technology from my own personal life:
  • In March 2006 I purchase for $380 a brand new Nokia 770 Web tablet. And I did this in spite of reading many a warning story about how sluggish its performance and how applications such as the Opera web browser crashed repeatedly. Not only did I eventually find the 770 a complete and total waste of money, but I got to watch my investment get hammered deeper into the ground a mere 10 months later, when in January of this year, Nokia released the successor, the N800, for the same price. Oh, and at the same time they announced no more upgrades to the software load on the 770 (which they eventually relented on in February). My only satisfaction, such as it is, was the realization that the N800 has met with thundering silence since its January 2007 release. This contrasts with the near-rock-star status that many a Linux publication feted upon the 770 when it was first released.

  • In February of this year I went back to my local T-Mobile store and picked up, for a measly $99, a new Nokia 6133 cell phone. The clamshell phone came with a 1.3 Mega-pixel camera, two crisp color displays, and mediocre battery life compared to the Nokia 3195 it replaced. Six months later, in August, when I went back to pick up a new charger for my daughter, I look over to find that the 6133 had been cut in half to $49. Oh well. At least It only dropped by $50.
Charlie goes on to explain why he thinks the price was cut by 1/3. He thinks it was lackluster sales performance, which seems to fly in the face of iSuppli's latest iPhone report for sales in July:
During its first full month of sales, Apple's highly anticipated smart phone grabbed 1.8 percent of the U.S. consumer mobile-handset market, according to iSuppli. The research firm's survey of more than 2 million U.S. consumers indicated sales of 220,000 iPhones in July. In its first 30 hours, before its fiscal third quarter ended on June 30, Apple sold 270,000 iPhones.

"While iSuppli has not collected historical information on this topic, it's likely that the speed of the iPhone's rise to competitive dominance in its segment is unprecedented in the history of the mobile-handset market," iSuppli noted in its report.
Those are interesting statistics there. Adding the sales in the first 30 hours to the sales in July, you get 490,000 sales up through July. Now, granted that the first 270,000 sales were a spike, it's still interesting that 220,000 were sold during a summer month. If Apple could just keep selling 200,000 iPhones/month for the next 12 months, then they'd hit 2.4 million sales, which is not too shabby. In fact that's half of iSuppli's 4.5 million prediction for the rest of this year, which I find somewhat unsustainable at $600 a pop.

Which probably explains the $200 drop. Charlie gently suggests that the sales of the iPhone are close to zero, but I believe that regardless of where they currently are they haven't hit internal sales projections at Apple, and I think that AT&T is also not very happy either, since they can't sell service contracts if they don't sell iPhones. That, and the fact that there is a wave of similar phones coming from China in the next 12-18 months that are really going to put pressure on Apple in the market. So, they cut the price by 1/3rd on the high end iPhone and dropped the low-end version with only 8GB of flash.

Will I get one? After all the babbling I did over how wonderful I thought the iPhone was when it was first introduced, the only things stopping me from rushing right out and purchasing one is a lack of sufficiently loose cash and an abiding hatred of AT&T Wireless (which I share with Charlie). Rest assured, with two children firmly planted at Florida State University and AT&T still the only wireless provider, that I will not be dropping $400 on a new iPhone or anything like it for years to come. If I'm going to get screwed (technically speaking of course), then it's going to have to be a cheap screw. And in that category Nokia is just good enough for me.

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