The iPhone and the Consumer

Okay, it’s here, the iPhone. Unless you’ve been on the Space Shuttle, you saw all the TV spots (especially on the eve of its’ release). And you’ve gotten all the pundits’ reviews, which have been quite good (with the exception of the AT&T network it employs). Obviously, Steve Jobs did not invent the cell phone, but as with the portable MP3 player, he has reinvented it. And reinvention alone, is cause to celebrate. Today, I had to go the local mall regarding a clothing purchase and saw the line outside the Apple Store. I have never seen people in line for a telephone, before.

Although I don’t have one, and will probably wait for another generation or two before purchasing, we need to brush aside all the publicity and promotion to discuss what the iPhone really means to all of us, the consumers.

With the growing advancements in wireless technologies, the time seems perfect for a new type of phone. And none of us had any doubts that if anyone, Apple would pull it off.

Cellular phones have been around for a long time. They are a consumer product that most of us replace every two years or so. Most of us replace our computers every 3-4 years. And I’ve been told that the average iPod is replaced every 3 years. How often does Apple want us to replace our iPhones? Apple seems to suggest that it has been developed to accommodate upgrades. Let’s hope so. There are too many iPod owners with small, gray screens who have bitched about new models for the same, or less money.

Does the average consumer care? For the time being maybe not, but the demographic that I saw in line at the Apple Store (18-40, mostly male) certainly does and obviously has no problem parting with 499.00 or 599.00 to get one. And since this generation has a lot of years left with a high disposable income, this phone will certainly become their new standard.

The fact that the iPhone can do what it does (phone, video iPod and web browser, among other features) and apparently do so well, suggests that the cell phone is about to go through a revolution of reinvention. Apple is not known for lowering prices on its products, as much as they are for updating features and technology on the same product, for the same price. If the iPhone is a success, then hopefully the competition (Nokia, Research In Motion, Motorola) will have to adapt and develop their own versions, with new bells and whistles. Maybe this will become the first Apple product that we do see a price decrease in.

Hopefully, this is a new technology start that eventually all phone users will benefit from..


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