Posts filed under “Technology”
This post to Dave Farber’s IP list sums up nearly all of my feelings on the iPhone pricing issue:
"I find this discussion more than a little appalling.
Nobody forced anyone to buy an iPhone. The hype was immense, and only a little of the hype actually came from Apple. The buyers weren’t buying a phone, they were buying status and the envy of others. Every buyer got the opportunity to show off their new toy, brag. The iPhone provided a high quality narcissistic supply. Now that the price has been sullied and the status is gone you can hear the sound of egos deflating as that brief bubble of exclusivity popped. The dealer cut the price of their junk.
In a Tokyo hostess bar a woman will sit at your table, talk to you, pour your drinks, listen to your problems, and boost your ego. $200 typically buys one evening, two if you scrimp a little. Compared to that the iPhone early adopter premium is a bargain, and no hostess bar gives a discount on future purchases, ever.
Now that the iPhone is no longer a source of narcissistic supply, it can be judged on its own merits.
Ottawa Ontario Canada"
The only thing I would add, as we have previously noted, is that of you buy 1.0 of anything, you are often a sucker or a fool. In the present case, both.
Between the office move and the markets lately, I didn’t get a chance to address the new iPods/iPhone. Let’s do that now.
Back in January,
I noted why I did not think the iPhone would cannibalize the iPod: Apple would migrate the touchscreen downstream to the smaller
and non iPhone "pods." Nine months ago, I noted it was only a matter of time before Apple would bring out a touchscreen (non-phone) iPod.
Well, that came to pass.
As to the rest, I got some of the new products, prices and capacities right. I got some aspects wrong. Back in January, I estimated what Apple’s products and price points might look like.
Here is a comparison with those forecast and the actual products:
|Product||Pricepoint||Actual Product||Actual Pricepoint|
| Apple iPhone
| iPod touchscreen*
|$379/329|| iPod touch
| iPod "Classic"
|$279/229|| iPod Classic
| iPod Nano
|$199/139|| iPod Video Nano
|Shuffle 1 GB||$59||Shuffle 1 GB||$79|
First, it turns out that my estimates of 12-18 months was off — it only took nine months. Second, I wildly under-estimated the capacity of the classic iPods. Third, I wildly over-estimated the capacity of all the flash based iPods and iPhones.
But I did get many of the products, names and pricing pretty darned close.
The WSJ has an interesting history of all the iPods, and Apple’s stock price:
click for larger graphic
BTW, if you want to have a laugh, go to Amazon and search for the the existing iPods — an 80 Gig iPod is $349 . . .
UPDATE: September 6, 2007 7:32pm
To Amazon’s credit, any search for iPod also includes this result: New iPods
The reviews for the iPhone are coming in, and they are breathless (see below).
Rather than add to the over-the-top-hype about the gorgeous little thing, I would rather think about what lessons can be drawn from its mere existence.
I believe there are quite a few practical things to be taken away from the development and marketing of this. An education is available to those companies, corporate mangements, engineers, inventors and investors who are paying attention:
1. Committees Suck: The old joke is that a Camel is a Horse designed by a committee. As we have seen all too often, what comes out of large corporations are bland-to-ugly items that (while functional and reliable) do not excite consumers.
When a company decides to break the committee mindset and give a great designer the reins, you get terrific products that sell well. The Chrysler 300 does not looks like it was designed by a corporate committee. Think of Chris Bangle’s vision for BMW — and its huge sales spike — and you can see what the upside is in having a visionary in charge of design.
Better pick a damned good one, though . . .
2. Present Interfaces Stink: How bad is the present Human Interface of most consumer items? Leaving the improving, but still too hard to use Windows aside for a moment, let’s consider the mobile phone market: It was so kludgy and ugly that the entire 100 million unit, multi-billion dollar industry now finds itself at risk of being completely bypassed, all because some geek from California wanted a cooler and easier to use phone.
What other industries may be at risk?
3. Industrial Design Matters: We have entered a period where industrial design is a significant element in consumer items. From the VW Bug to the iPod, good design can take a ho-hum ordinary product and turn it into a sales winner.
4. R&D is Paramount: While most of corporate America is slashing
R&D budgets (and buying back stock), the handful of companies who
have plowed cash back into R&D are the clear market leaders this
cycle: Think Apple, Google (Maps, Search), Toyota (Hybrid), Nintendo (Wii). A well designed, innovative product can create — or upend — an entire market. Even Microsoft did it with the X-box;
What other companies have the ability to disrupt an entire market?
5. Disdain for the Consumer can be Fatal: As we have seen with Dell, Home Depot, The Gap, Sears, etc., the consumer experience is more important than most corporate management seem to realize. Ignore the public at your peril.
What other lessons are there for companies in the business of designing products for consumers to use?
For the moment, let’s put the iPhone aside and answer the questions above: What markets, companies, products , segments are at risk due to their poor designs? (Use the comments to answer).
Note: Some of the commenters are missing the point of the post — this is about the business of creativity and innovation.
We are not looking for a discussion of Apple in general; Off topic comments will be unpublished.