Apple fanatics crying foul over the company’s decision to lower iPhone prices this week seems strange considering it was their blind and unyielding loyalty that led Apple to overzealously price its phones that way in the first place.
The iPhone was expected to be, and is, a wonderful innovation for the world of mobile devices. The market reaffirmed that statment as the iPhone became the fastest selling cell phone in history (though, with Apple’s own marketing and the media’s compliance in giving them free marketing, it would have been a major disappointment if it didn’t garner that accolade).
But even so, didn’t the price of first adoption seem a little egregious at the time? I thought it did (see self-indulgent, I-told-you-so post here).
I guess it shouldn’t have seemed odd. Who’s going to stop them? You? Me? Ha. For many of us, the past few years has been a period of undiscerning consumption when it comes to all things Apple.
In the mp3 player market during the past few years, two crowds have emerged to fuel the iPod’s stunning market share. One has been the technology-savvy group that admires its marvelous design and ease of use. The second, and probably even more substantial in its numbers, has been populated by people who simply love the Bono U2 ads with the white background and bask in Apple’s coolness factor. I’ve fallen somewhere between these two crowds; I got a 30GB iPod two years ago, which I still use and love, but the screen is scratched beyond repair and now, in retrospect, I can think of a laundry list of features that it should have had (even then) for $300.
As sales soared, however, neither of those groups made very many demands on Apple. There was the battery lawsuit a few years ago, but most of those people were just happy to have their iPods replaced or fixed and go on their merry way, remaining members of the not-so-exclusive Apple club rather than relegate themselves to cheaper (yet sometimes just as functionally interesting) alternatives.
But that’s mp3 players. The cell phone market, as this week’s news illustrated, is far less forgiving. Steve Jobs put aside a fair amount of hubris in his letter to iPhone customers yesterday. He seems to acknowledge that maybe Apple took its customers’ loyalty for granted.
With that in mind, my latest cell phone contract is coming up for renewal. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll keep my blindly loyal ways…