Friday, September 07, 2007

iGreed


It was heralded at a press conference months before its arrival, this thing, this gadget that would surely change the world. The Wizard of Apple, Steve Jobs, appeared before a giant media screen in a setting Hollywood might use to satirize a super-chic, self-important company and foretold of this gadget’s wonders. Oh, the capability you’ll have: the hours of Internet surfing, video games, movies, music and the ability to receive emails in the middle of cocktail parties and dinners with friends. And just think of the texting possibilities! It was coming he told us, so be prepared. It was coming and the dawn of a new day was upon us. And then, before God and all humanity, he revealed to us the future: the iPhone.

The months of anticipation that followed were heady times indeed. There was a constant buzz heard round water coolers across America; endless speculation of how lives would change, battles would be won and strides for the good of all humanity would be made. But alas, this thing, this iPhone, came with a price. And how to pay for it? Sacrifices would have to be made, credit cards maxed out, lattes rationed for emergencies only and hopes for little Billy’s college education dashed. After all, revolution doesn't come cheap. Advancements for humanity cannot be found rummaging through bins in bargain basements. When the countdown for the new arrival reached single digits, the most staunch followers of Apple, the ones who learned to compute on a Macintosh, stood by it through the dark days of PC domination, saw the light at the end of the tunnel with the introduction of the iMac with its retro design, were among the first to own an iPod and with no apparent job security to worry about, began camping out on street corners outside Apple stores, well stocked with provisions and lawn chairs to brave the elements and be among the first recipients of this gift from the future, this iPhone.

When it finally arrived, there was much joy in the land! Except for those who waited in ques and still went home empty handed, and some who did manage to get their hands on one of the precious gizmos ended up selling them on Ebay for twice the price. Oh, and didn't we tell you that the $600 price tag doesn't include any kind of service agreement. Yeah, so, if you want to actually use your iPhone, it’s going to cost you extra, not to mention the fees you’ll probably have to pay for canceling your old service agreement. Sorry about that. So, many friends I know and Apple die-hards postponed their purchase of the iPhone until their cell service runs out or until the price comes down a little or they start making more money.

And then, in the worst marketing decision since New Coke, Apple reduced the price of their precious iPhone by $200 just months after introducing the product prompting thousands of angry emails and customer outrage from those who paid full price. It adversely affected the company’s stock and cost them thousands in refunds and rebates and an apology from the man himself, Steve Jobs. Also, with this stunt they may have sacrificed one of Apple’s most bankable assets: customer loyalty. If the iPhone had been priced correctly to begin with instead of so out of line with other PDAs, they might not be in this mess now. Also, aren't we tired of being jerked around by this kind of "gotta have it" marketing with new generations of a product planned out ahead of with the goal of rendering the original device obsolete with a year or two? Come on. Aren't we smarter than this?

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9 Comments:

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

I almost wrote you right before this post showed up to see if you were all right. You've been gone for so long. It's good to have you back and bitchin'.

BTW, I agree with everything you've written here.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Matt said...

I've never quite understood the "gotta have it" mentality. If it's REALLY all that great, then it will still be all that great and worthy of considering its' purchase in a year.

But then, I'm always behind the times. I'm not very fashionable, either.

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger Dave said...

While I agree that it seems odd to drop the price after just a couple of months, I also think there's more at work here than just greed and marketing. Frankly, here in the Midwest, I didn't see a lot of advertising hype about the iPhone; most of the hype I read/saw/heard was from media. (There was, of course, a lot on Apple's website, but I'd exclude that, since the only people seeing it are techies and loyal Mac users anyway.)

But regardless of the reason these people went out and spent $600 on it, the fact is, these are people who KNOW the nature of technology (and consumerism, for that matter), and they know that things get cheaper (and updated with better memory and features) after they've been on the market a while. If you're willing to spend $600 on ANYTHING the day it comes out, I think you have to be willing to take the risk that a better price (or better value) might come along later.

Yes, I'm a Mac fan, but several PC users have approached me about this, and almost all have shared similar thoughts.

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

I was a PC product manager at a company that was in the top 10 back in the 1990s. You'd think I would have always had the latest and greatest given that I also got a nice company discount.

But, I was in charge of the product roadmap. I knew what the future products were and I could never bring myself to buy anything because I knew that a faster, better, cheaper version was just around the corner. Of course, once we started shipping that product the cycle continued because I knew of the next best thing.

It's the nature of technology and we should all be used to it by now. I haven't bought a big screen TV yet because I know things will get bigger and cheaper. In the meantime, I watch my little 27" set!

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Donnie said...

I'm not an Apple fanatic (though their stuff is mighty cool), but I just think they've fallen too hard for the "planned obsolescence" business model.

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Palm Springs Savant said...

I really want an iphone but not for the phone. I just want the awesome internet access!

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger BigAssBelle said...

yes we are smarter than this. i guess i'm probably one of the last holdouts on cell phones. only because of my dad's poor health have i been willing to get one to have when i'm traveling. it stays off 7 weeks at a time, on for 1, off for 7. i refuse refuse refuse to be attached to a phone 24/7. and this thing. the hype was insane. the reality a disappointment. classic consumer letdown. maybe we can focus on something real for a change?

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Ming_the_Merciless said...

I admit, I wanted an iPhone when it first came out but I knew it would be risky to adopt a new "technology" before they can sort out the kinks. Well, this is a whole new kind of kink, if you ask me, kinda like S&M, figuratively speaking, of course.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger T said...

I like Apple products but their hype was like information overload, and then I just stopped caring, and if anything, it turned me off Mac products, and now I could care less when new things come out.

But I agree. It was pretty dispicable to drop the price by $200 after only a few months.

 

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