John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple: Wham, Bam, Thank You Fanboi

iphonepricecut.jpg“I feel like a $200 whore.”

That was one iPhone early adopter’s crass assessment of his feelings of self-worth, after Apple unexpectedly cut the price of the device by a third–just two months after it arrived at market. At an unveiling of a new line of iPod music and video players in San Francisco yesterday, CEO Steve Jobs said Apple was dropping the price of its 8-gigabyte iPhone from $599 to $399 to drive sales of the device over the crucial holiday selling period. “The customer-satisfaction numbers for the iPhone are off the charts,” Jobs said. “The customer-sat[isfaction] numbers are higher for the iPhone than for any Apple product ever. They love it. But we want to make the iPhone even more affordable for even more people this holiday season. So we’re going to do something about that today. We’re not going to sell it for $599 anymore.”

Now price cuts for cellphones aren’t unusual. Samsung’s Blackjack and Motorola’s Razr both saw rapid price cuts following their respective debuts. But neither was launched into a market of monomanaical loyalists willing to camp out on a sidewalk overnight just to be among the first to own one–many of whom are today feeling a bit used. “Over time I have owned a 3G iPod, original Shuffle, iBook G4, iMac, new Shuffle, 4G iPod, video iPod, iPod mini and now the iPhone,” one wrote in a post to everythingiPhone. “I can see updates to the product line being made over time, but $200 in two months is a kick in the nads to EVERYONE who bought an iPhone.”

Perhaps, especially if the cut was made possible not by a sudden drop in component prices but a calculated overpricing conceived to exploit early-adopter demand. But ultimately, those who don’t think the iPhone was worth $599 when it debuted probably shouldn’t have bought it. “That’s technology,” Jobs told USA Today. “If they bought it this morning, they should go back to where they bought it and talk to them. If they bought it a month ago, well, that’s what happens in technology.”

One last point worth noting here: Early adopters probably aren’t the only folks to be taken aback by the sudden and precipitous drop in the iPhone’s price. Apple’s rivals in the handset market must be absolutely reeling. Here they were scrambling to produce iPhone-like, and iPhone-lite devices they believed would compete with a $600 phone they could easily underprice. Now, they’ve got to compete with a $399 device that is perhaps one of the best examples of Apple’s design and engineering prowess. And they’ve got to do it in time for the holiday shopping season …