hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

September 06, 2007

Apple iPhone rebate: A hypothesis

[Full disclosure: I have been an Apple Macintosh user since the late eighties and I bought an Apple iPhone the day it was released.]

For those of you who know me or for those of you who read hypocritical, you realize there is an evil, evil marketer buried within me. One with whom I have to battle. One I have to keep at bay.

I'm a Darth Vader in the making, if you will. Even if you won't.

So when I see the whole Apple iPhone price-drop-rebate thing? The evil marketer cackles with morbid cacophony.

It's the same kind of cackle that erupts when people say things like "How did Prince get to play the Superbowl halftime show?"

And then, it changes into a sad, sad headshake. Pawns we are. All of us, pawns. P0wned.

Oh, I'm sorry. What Apple iPhone thing?

Well, in case you didn't hear, Apple recently cut the price of the iPhone by $200. And then, all of the early adopters whined. And then Steve Jobs became Mr. Magnanimous and gave us all $100.

Wow. What a heartwarming story.

If only it hadn't been planned from the beginning.

Here's my hypothesis about what really happened:

The Apple rebate? It's all marketing, people. Marketing.

And I'm willing to bet the price-reduction-rebate tango has been part of the product launch plan since day 1. Or at least day 2.

Apple wanted... nay needed to hit a certain number for the financial community. That number was based on the "new" price of the iPhone ($399). That number was not based on the "original" price of the iPhone ($599).

The original price provided Apple with a good deal of float. So that, if they could sell more than they expected, it was all gravy.

They were pocketing $200 above and beyond the required price of the product.

$200.

Because most of us iPhone buyers? We were going to buy it anyway. Price be damned.

But not everyone is as rabid as we.

They were planning to drop the price all along. And they knew people would squawk.

They have to drop the price to make it through the holiday season. No one is going to shell out those kind of funds for gifts. It had to be done. Well, Apple users will. But the general AT&T customer?

So, I guess the point, more correctly, is that Apple didn't need to drop the price. AT&T did.

So, to get more folks, they have to make it appear that they have "substantially lowered the price" of the iPhone.

Mind you, Apple is just moving the iPhone price to the required price now. (And I'm not even going to mention how the new iPod Touch has bolstered Apple's buying and production power, allowing them to make the iPhone at an even cheaper price than they could previously. Let's just ignore that thread for now.)

But they still have $200 extra for every iPhone that has been sold.

So now, as if by script, Steve Jobs comes out and says he's going to give us early adopters a $100 rebate.

They dropped the price, waited patiently for the public outcry that they knew would come, and then provided the gift that they had always planned to give.

Winning hearts and friends.

$200 - $100 = Apple is still $100 up.

What's more? That $100 rebate is a store credit. It's not cash folks. It's a gift certificate.

You know what happens if you don't use a gift certificate, right? The company gets to realize that revenue after a set amount of time.

And if we do use the gift certificate? They get that revenue back and move more product.

And they're still $100 up.

Genius. Marketing genius. Evil, but genius.

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Apple iPhone rebate: A hypothesis

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July 06, 2007

How To: iPhone emulator

Want to send terse, typo-ridden emails to your colleagues, just like us schmucks who shelled out cash for the iPhone? This simple, but effective, iPhone emulator will have folks thinking you waited in line all day on June 29, 2007.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Open your email program
  2. Navigate to your settings
  3. Choose to edit your signature file
  4. Replace the existing signature with the following (spelling must be exact!):
    Sent from my iPhone
  5. Done!
What's that? iPhone not your cup-of-tea, but you still want to appear to be among the digerati? Try this simple Blackberry emulator:

  1. Open your email program
  2. Navigate to your settings
  3. Choose to edit your signature file
  4. Replace the existing signature with the following:
    Sent from my Blackberry
  5. Done!
Either way, gentle reader, you're soon to be basking in the glory of geekdom. Just don't ever run into these folks, whom you're emailing, in person.

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How To: iPhone emulator

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July 03, 2007

iPhone after the afterglow

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm extremely happy that I fell for all of the iHype about the Apple iPhone. And it is, without a doubt, more impressive than the first color Mac LCIII I owned, or my first iPod, or my MacBook Pro.

I mean, really, would you expect any less of me? Falling for all the hype and running out to buy one on the first day? I thought not. After all, I'm the guy who wants Apple everywhere, remember?

After all, I'm not the only one. Word around the campfire is that there were more iPhones sold in three days, than HD radios sold in last three years. Which reminds me... Oh wait. That's not this post. That's a story for another time.

Where were we? Oh yes.

After a few days of using it, there are a couple of foibles I've noticed. A few things that seem not-quite-there yet with this little technological marvel.

So, for those of you who took the plunge or for those of you who may, I thought I would list a couple of should-be, could-be requests. (Caveat: It's quite possible that these are things that I have been too stupid or uncool to find as of yet):
  1. Using the rest of the iPhone while on a call?
    Let's say you're chatting with someone and they say, "Are you available for lunch, next Thursday?" You're talking on an iPhone, so you give the requester a rather smug, "Let me check my schedule on my iPhone, on which I am speaking to you currently, forthwith." You go to check your schedule. What the...? No dice. You can navigate to contacts, start some conference calls, hang up. But no other functions while the call is active. Seems like I should be able to check my schedule while on a call, doesn't it? Watch a movie while I'm on a really boring call? Something?

    [Update July 17, 2007: Um, duh. Push the "home" button. Problem solved. Check that one off the list.]

  2. IM client?
    I know SMS is all the rage with the hip kids. But me? I kick it old school with IM. Why isn't iChat on this thing? Or at least something else? I could IM all day on my old Samsung, but not on my iPhone? Sniff sniff. And the iPhone has a better keyboard, so my IM messages would actually be intelligible. Unlike my previous phone, where I would send things like "wamt tm mddt md fmp a bddr?"

  3. iTunes?
    I would really, really, really like some iTunes on this bad boy. I mean, sure, it's an iPod. But why can't I run iTunes on this mother? If I had iTunes, I could listen to the music I'm sharing over my home wireless network. Just like a Walkman before they had tape players. Talk about old school. I mean, why download all the music when I just want to listen within wireless range? Better yet? When I'm wandering around my neighborhood, why not let other people browse the music sitting on my iPhone. I mean, in addition to me getting to obsess about "what kind of music I need to carry to seem uberhip," they would get to listen to my tunes, or vice versa. How cool would that be? You can't tell me this isn't on the road map. If it's not, it should be. Because if it's got iTunes, I could buy that music, right then and there, too. Hmmm. Interesting.

    [Update July 20, 2007: Hallelujah!]

Short list. I know. That's it. Those are the only complaints that come to mind, so far. I'm sure I'll come up with more, but the relationship is still young.

I mean, sure, a few iCal issues and whatnot, but that's not huge. And some other weirdness, here and there. But that's to be expected with new technology.

I'm still smitten.

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iPhone after the afterglow

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