Rotting Apple Sales?

Published by • December 3rd, 2007 RSS News Feed

First, this drama-queen says the “network you can trust is a fraud“, AT&T can’t be trusted, woe-is-me! Now, the self-proclaimed iPhone experts are claiming that AT&T screwed Apple sales over the holidays with a recent announcement. Who the heck can you trust, is this the case of a CEO’s error in judgment or are the apple fans and haters overreacting to a non-issue and as a result making this into a serious publicity scandal for Apple, Inc?

Recently, AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson announced that there would be a 3G iPhone from Apple released sometime in 2008. Everyone knew that 3G IPhones were inevitable. After all, more than any other feature, the slow browsing capability of the IPhone on AT&T’s sluggish Edge network has garnered numerous complaints. Apple initially chose not to make the IPhone 3G capable because the 3G chipsets at the time were battery hogs and would have rendered a user intensive phone such as the IPhone a hassle to maintain. Now, it’s only a matter of time before the IPhone goes 3G as battery effecincies have improved. In fact, Steve Jobs himself has alluded to this!

So what does AT&T do? They announce to the public what many have already been aware of. Oddly enough, what shouldn’t have been a particularly newsworthy story has spawned an avalanche of animosity claiming that AT&T has pulled a fast one on Apple because their holiday IPhone sales are going to take a hit as a result. The argument is that a number of people looking to buy IPhones this holiday season will instead hold off until a 3G IPhone is released sometime in 2008.

Some have suggested that this will cost Apple millions in sales. This seemingly logical mental leap doesn’t hold any weight, however, when scrutinized closely. Potential iPhone customers can be categorized into two groups. First, you have the tech-savvy consumers who read articles like this one and get all wound up by any news (good or bad) related to apple and their products. Then you have your average holiday shoppers who has no interest in nonsensical terms such as 3G. Okay, are you with me? Good! Tech-savvy consumers would likely already be aware that a 3G phone is in the works. So if they were planning to wait for a faster iteration of the IPhone from the get go, then they weren’t going to be making any IPhone purchases this holiday season to begin with.

Any techie who was willing to endure the Edge network this holiday season would have been willing to endure it last June (when the IPhone came out) and probably owns one regardless of that fact. Average mainstream consumers tend to be entranced by the “coolness” factor and features the iPhone has to offer. This is definitely the case with AT&T’s Edge Network — which may as well be undecipherable code as far as the average consumer is concerned.

Your average consumer is probably familiar with wi-fi and that is probably how most will browse the web on first generation iPhones. Further, Apple has been continuously updating and revamping one of their most profitable products for years — the iPod. Apple will always have “the next best thing” in the works and the lifespan of any iPod is finite, duh! Does the fact that a ‘better’ ipod is always just around the corner impede iPod sales in the interim? Nope. The sales figures from Apple can back me up on that one.

In fact, analysts are predicting this current quarter will be Apple’s most sucessfull iPod quarter in HISTORY. The fact remains that the iPhone is technologically superior to any other phone on the market and people will be lining up in droves to purchase them for themselves and as gifts for family and friends. Is it 3G? Who cares! It has a touch screen. Google Maps. Photos. A WideScreen IPod. The list can go on an on.

3G gets lost in the shuffle as a “geek” term that will have no bearing on the decision making process of the masses. In short, anyone (for the most part) waiting for a 3G iPhone wouldn’t have been contemplating an iPhone purchase to begin with. So did AT&T “give a smackdown” to Apple? Nah.

Did AT&T just cost Apple millions in holiday sales? Not a chance.

Itola Author

is a business / tax attorney from the windy city. Yoni is also a gadget enthusiast who enjoys writing in the third person.
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