Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Apple, Apple, Apple

As many of you know, Apple today introduced their new lineup of iPods. I must say that per usual, Apple outdid themselves. The technology exceeeded expectations, the design is understated yet elegant and though I am going to resist making any new purchases for reasons that I will get into in a minute, the new iPod Touch is straight up badass. It's essentially the iPhone without the phone.

All that being said, I am deeply disappointed in Apple and though I cannot say that I will never again buy their products, I will go on record as saying I will never again be an early adopter, even for a product as cool and revolutionary as the iphone. The reason for my ire? They also announced today that they will reduce the price of the iPhone -- which has been on the market the better part of 70 days mind you -- by $200, effective today. And that pisses me off.

Fortunately, for me I make a decent living and can live with the $200 hit. I'm not going to lose sleep tonight over money lost. This isn't about me, per se. But I know for a fact that there are a lot of kids out there who purchased an iPhone and for many of then, the price tag is/was huge. I'm as much of a capitalist as the next guy and Apple obviously has the right to do whatever they want vis a vis their own pricing, but in my personal viewpoint, it's not good business policy to totally hose your early adopters by getting them to pay $200 more for the right to stand in line for days and purchase their products early. It just isn't right. In fact, it totally sucks.

I have followed Apple product announcements for years and I fully recognize that a price reduction was inevitable. However, the least they could have done was wait for the holiday season (which, frankly, would probably have given them even more of a sales spike) before dramatically reducing the price. We were joking at work today that they made this move because they could; they don't really need to worry too much about the early adopters. A key rule of thumb in politics, though, is don't piss off the base and I think it applies to business as well. I personally believe that at some point in time, iPod sales are going to falter or flatten -- probably the result of market saturation as much as anything else, or possibly due to the "new new thing" that's likely around the corner and my guess is that when this happens, they are going to wish that they demonstrated a bit more customer care.

So, all of you who buy new Video, Nano or Touch ipods; enjoy. I definitely would like to check them all out. I might even own one/all of them one day myself. But I can say with a high degree of assurance that this time you won't catch me at the front -- or back for that matter -- of the line on a matter of principle. They are clearly over me as a customer, so the feeling is reciprocal.

(ps. The above does not for one second change the fact that I enjoy the hell out of my iPhone and I still maintain that it's up their with the TiVo as one of the greatest products of all time).


df said...

Complaints about being an early adopter from the man who promoted Sony MiniDisc.

neil s. said...

NEVER EVER but the first generation of Apple products. They've followed this policy of cutting their costs 6 months after a product release for what feels like 20 years. I can't wait to get the new ipod - but I'll wait to after the Holidays when its 33% cheaper and with 2 software upgrades.

Jeff said...

The real mistake from yesterday IMO is the new IPOD NANO. It just went from sleek and elegant to fat and pudgy. I simply cannot believe it. IMO this is a classic case of not getting how a customer actually uses a device, something I would not expect from Apple. If you want to watch movies, you'll do it on the ipod classic or ipod touch with a real screen. Making the ipod nano into a un-intersting, bland, square only messes up the form and function when it comes to running (man, will it work with all those nike running pods that used to plug into the old nano????) and/or just looking freaking cool walking doiwn the street. If I wanted to carry a square I'd get the shuffle, if I want movies I'd get the classic or touch. This is a device in never-never land. I can't even look at it without getting sick.

Now, off to buy a iPhone.... :-)

michael said...

I wholeheatedly agree with you, Howard, and am feeling the frustration as well.

The only thing I will say is that, were I told on launch day that 60-some days later the iPhone would cost $200 less, I still would have bought it without even a second of hesitation. The past 60 days were worth that $200.

That said, it still sucks. When you say Apple did it because they could, you couldn't be more right. They know that people like us will buy their new products no matter what. Two years from now the Stever could punch me right in the face and I'd still be first in line to buy the new iSpaceship, even as I was icing my eye.

The more I think about it, the problem might not be with Apple...