What Jobs iApology Reveals, #4
Posted by Bob Warfield on September 7, 2007
I was so impressed with Jobs’ $100 rebate to early iPhone adopters. It splits the $200 difference with their customers. There have been many great posts out there on it. For example, Scoble and a lot of others want an SDK (I’m conflicted on that, but hold the thought). There is some inevitable hate mail a well, but the post that got me to comment here was Between the Lines.
They say the appology revealed 3 things:
#1 Jobs can’t annoy his flock. This is also Seth Godin’s “early adopters matter” point.
#2 New customers aren’t as easy to win over. The message here is that the iPhone wasn’t doing so well and a price cut was needed to stimulate demand. Hold that thought!
#3 The smartphone market is brutal. Message being that the phone makers copy any innovation so fast that any advantage is fleeting, the rich get richer, the poor are downtrodden, yada, yada.
Pretty pessimistic, no?
It’s fun to go back to a news item published right after the iPod was introduced. Hmmm. Very similar. Priced too high, top of the market, yada, yada.
I’m not saying the iPhone will take over like the iPod did, it’s too early to tell. But Apple gets the “meta” thing and these other phone companies don’t. Scoble and others desire for an SDK would give the iPhone more of the “meta” thing. But, maybe the web browser is the right thing, or some augmented form of it that doesn’t digress too far. iPod’s seamless combination with iTunes was a big part of its success, I think. Perhaps we just haven’t seen the other half of the partnership for the iPhone. By that I mean the services/SDK/”meta” thing half. I will also post a rant before too long on the whole Web/Desktop/AIR thing that goes to the idea that maybe the browser is the right SDK, watch for it.
What was this about a #4, then?
Just that #4 might be that Jobs is a shrewd strategist. Perhaps he had no idea what level of demand or phenom the iPhone would be. Was it going to be the next iPod or the next Newton?
Without being able to plan in advance, making bets at very low to no margin pricing or building too much inventory to keep costs low is a non-starter. After the launch, with 20/20 hindsight, it may now be clear that the iPhone is a winner and Apple can do just what Jobs says and “go for it”.
Without knowing a lot of the numbers surrounding the iPhone and its margins, we may never be able to say. It sure will be a lot of fun if a computer company can shake up the phone companies as much as they have the music companies, won’t it?
Jobs is Dell as warp speed: Using the properly to empower customers.