The Game Changer: The iPhone Cometh

Today is the day.

The day 6 months in the making, the day one small device, saves the world.

Ok, so a bit dramatic, but seriously, – this is a really big deal…right? Sure, other phones have come and gone, toting all new features, music, email, etc – but none have done it like this; and certainly none have done it with this much hype.

Now that the phone has been handed to a select few “chosen ones”, there are several preliminary reviews surfacing, possibly the best came in the form of David Pogue’s iPhone video-blog (sorry Walt). In one scene, he is attacked by an angry mob of coworkers, eager to get their hands on the device. Pogue proceeds to leap up on to the side of a cubicle where he begins preaching on the phone’s shortcomings – mainly complaining about the AT&T network, and EDGE Internet service. A few at a time, they begin to leave, until one man is left. He leans over an asks,

“Does it have an Apple logo?”

Pogue replies, “Yeah, see? Its right on the back.”

“Cool.”

Gotta love brand equity. This short exchange sums up the reason for probably 90% of the hype surrounding this thing, its made by Apple and, as the video so poignantly displays, regardless of flaws, the Apple fan-boy will still buy it. The Wall Street Journal’s breakingveiws.com column warns,

“…an iPhone may yet appear in every pocket now housing an iPod or phone. But if it merely becomes a rich hipster accessory, Apple’s stock would have a long way to fall.”

And that is my exact prediction. To me, the iPhone will become like a Ferrari; coveted by all, but owned by few. Think about it, an unsubsidized phone, with no choice of network at $499 and $599 price points, that doesn’t work with family plans and most certainly will not work with corporate plans because it won’t run the important apps hardcore business users need. The only demographic left IS the rich hipster.

I will use myself as an example. I am far from a rich hipster (though I am probably just as much of a music snob) but love Apple products, and though I don’t currently own a Mac (ask me again in a year or so), my household, like many others, does have 6 iPods. There is one apple sticker on my IBM laptop, and another on my Fender Stratocaster and spend more on iTunes than is deemed healthy by the FDA. I am a huge advocate for what the company does .

I want an iPhone as much as anyone, but the deal just doesn’t seem to work in my favor. I would have to break my Verizon contract, pony up the $600 for the phone (because why get a 4gig when you can have 2x the space for only $100 more) sign a new contract, which would be significantly higher than my Verizon family plan bill, plus data, plus WiFi costs (most aren’t free, right Starbucks?). Oh yeah, and don’t forget, the network is AT&T, meaning I would burn through minutes like crazy, as it seems like everyone in Boston has Verizon.

So, Game Changing? You bet. Revolutionary? Absolutely. But there is something in me that thinks the limits on this device make it not quite ready for prime time. We shall see.

Good luck to everyone braving the malls at 6 p.m., especially this guy.

.

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