Published on September 7th, 2007 | by Tom1
iPhone Rebate Fiasco, Whiners Cheapen Apple’s Brand
In Palo Alto, there were lines around the building. In San Francisco, hundreds of people queued up to be the first to own one (and if my friend’s son is an example, many in line were paid by others to wait in the midday sun). All this hoopla just to be the first on the block to own the coveted iPhone.
For my part, I waited–and risked being tagged a laggard–because I need a 3G phone and an iPhone 3G version was slated for Christmas. In the meantime, friends and colleagues who early adopted have been lording over me and everyone else they run into with an air of superiority. They have, for months, been the center of attention where ever phone calling is permitted. And they have enjoyed being special. The high price of the iPhone? A non-issue, as the phone is in a league by itself, they argued, not fair to compare.
So, after months of enjoying these rich psychic rewards (in an age, mind you, when a day’s lead time over others should be considered a luxury) these self-same technorati turn out to be just a pack of price-sensitive whiners after all. For shame. And worse, Steve Jobs bit, turning the technically-compelling, sensually-pleasing iPhone into a blue-light special commodity. Bad move.
Look, everyone knew the price of the iPhone would come down–certainly by Christmas and folks, if you didn’t know, this is the start of the Christmas season. Besides, Apple aficionados have always been willing to go where the beige crowd fears to tread. Sure, the cost is a little higher, but the value is too–and it;s fun to be different. Why the hand-wringing now? The fact is, the iPhone has brought to Apple a lot of non-traditional Apple consumers. Entering the bloodied theater of mobile phones was a big boy move, but it has had its consequences: Apple must now learn to deal with a whole new crop of customers–and in a highly price-sensitive market. No, Apple is not used to whiners. But, Steve Jobs blinked and this is a harbinger of bad things to come. We’ve entered the "price" phase of competition months before it was necessary. These are holiday ill-tidings indeed.