19 September, 2007

IPhone: the price drop and Doing the Right Thing

Okay, I know. There are a lot of angry iPhone customers out there. For those of you that don't know me personally, I'm not made of money either. I bought the iPhone because it addresses a very specific problem for me. There is no way I could use any other cell phone on the market without great difficulty. I have cerebral palsy and therefore, I also have coordination problems. The touch screen means that I don't need to dial any numbers to get help immediately. I tap a name and that's it. I don't need to remember long phone numbers anymore because with the iPhone, they don't exist. I keep phone numbers with my addresses in my e-mail contacts. I can then sync my iPhone via iTunes with my address book on my PC. So all I have to do to make a call is tap a name. That's the power of the iPhone. It's a huge step forward for someone like me because it means that I don't have to deal with small buttons. I have a 4 GB iPhone. Recently when Apple announced the new iPod lineup, something strange happened. After Mr. Jobs introduced the new iPod nano, shuffle, and, the iPod classic, he introduced the iPod touch. What is the iPod touch? The iPod touch is the iPod component of the iPhone and nothing else. That's right, it's an iPod that looks like an iPhone and utilizes the exact same touch screen interface. Steve Jobs also announced that Apple was dropping the price of the 8 GB iPhone by $200, bringing it to $399.

This friends, is where all the trouble began. But let's look at the circumstances surrounding this announcement. The iPod touch will come in two models (8 GB & 16 GB). So why are they dropping the price of the iPhone? It's simple. Jobs and company can hear the sound of sleigh bells. That's right, Christmas is coming. The iPod touch is priced at $299 for the 8 GB model. If Apple can say, "wait, for just an extra hundred dollars, you can have the easiest cell phone you've ever used" , that's a very attractive proposition. Since Apple has discontinued the 4 GB iPhone, it is also logical to assume that very shortly the company will be introducing a 16 GB phone that will most likely sell for between $499 and $599. Do I think it was a big price drop? Yes, of course I do. I can however, see what Apple is doing. And I think that as computer users, we are use to new product cycles every six months and frankly, that's not how the cell phone industry works at all. Their cell phone models do usually come out about every two months. Would I like to have a larger capacity iPhone? Naturally I would. Given time, I will but this does not detract from the fact that my current iPhone is fulfilling the purpose for which I bought it. Yes, I love the iPod in the iPhone and I would love to be able to import more songs and movies on to it but ultimately, I need the phone as a phone. The last time I checked, my home phone does not have a 4 GB iPod attached to it. Does yours? If it does, I want to hear about that :-)! Perhaps one of the reasons that Apple's announcement caught people off guard is that we seem to have a rather odd perception of this company. We think that because they're smaller than Microsoft, they must be "on our side". Let's be clear. Choice drives innovation. It is therefore; good that Apple does things differently than Microsoft. In the end though, they are a company and like all companies, they need to make a profit to stay in business. Apple is doing the right thing by offering a $100 Apple store gift certificate to early adopters.

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