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  • Memo for People Who Bought an iPhone Before September 5

    September 5th, 2007

    I feel your pain. Understand that I don’t own an iPhone, and I’ve been going back and forth for weeks as to whether I really need one. After all, I only use my wireless phone to make and receive calls, and seldom expand the contact list beyond my immediate family and friends.

    Indeed, even though I have a 60GB iPod, and not nearly enough music to fill its expansive capacity, I don’t really travel with it all that much. In my car, I have a 6-CD changer, which is usually occupied, plus satellite radio. At home, I can listen to what I want using the Bose sound system attached to my Mac, or to my home theater system.

    Playing a portable sound system, with ear buds? Well, these days, I only use standard headphones when doing our two radio shows, and otherwise, I prefer naked ears. I take along a Bose noise-canceling headset so I can get a little shuteye on the plane. Otherwise, frankly, I just never became accustomed to spending my spare time immersed in sound with my ears covered.

    But that’s just me.

    So if I did buy an iPhone, it would be used as a phone and general portable Internet connection device. The iPod component would go largely unused. At $599, the iPhone made less sense to me, but at $399, it becomes somewhat more compelling. That is, of course, if I really want to move over to the AT&T network, and I still have some qualms about that.

    However, I want to consider the poor individual who just shelled out full price for the 8GB iPhone, or bought the 4GB version, without considering the need for extra storage — or maybe because you just wanted to purchase the less-expensive version.

    Now that Steve Jobs has cut the price by $200, can you go back to Apple and AT&T and demand a rebate? It’s certainly worth the effort, although this had to be expected at some point in time. Call it the early-adopter tax that one pays to be first on the block with a new gadget from any technology company. In saying that, it has been reported that you will probably be eligible for a rebate for up to 14 days prior to the date of the actual price reduction.

    Then again, even if I had expected an iPhone price reduction from Apple, I didn’t anticipate that it would come so quickly, or amount to $200. I might have expected $100, but it’s fair to say that Apple needed to pull a surprise on us. I should also point out that their stock price took a hit, because some analysts seem to feel the price cut was not inspired by success and greed, but the result of a falling off in demand for the device. After learning that the iPhone topped all other smart phones in July, that doesn’t seem likely, but who ever said Wall Street was particularly sane?

    As for the rest of Apple’s announcements: The “phatty” iPod nano is just a natural outgrowth of that product line. Ditto for the iPod classic with larger hard drives, particularly in light of the fact that Microsoft cut $50 from the price of the 30GB Zune, which seems even more paltry in light of what that extra money buys you from Apple.

    Indeed, the iPod touch wasn’t terribly surprising either. It doesn’t take much imagination or special creative powers to remove the telephone circuitry and camera, make the case thinner and provide most of the remaining features with a tad more Flash storage.

    I suppose one might regard the partnership with Starbucks as a neat development, particularly if you use their Wi-Fi hotspots or partake of their beverages and pastries. Having a Wi-Fi version of iTunes also demonstrates to Microsoft the real possibilities of wireless connectivity on a portable digital player.

    It’s such a logical, predictable progression, you have to wonder why Microsoft couldn’t figure it out, and confined the Zune’s Wi-Fi feature to that pathetic “squirting” process. Right now, in fact, I regard the Zune’s price reduction as little more than a desperate effort to move a failed product. It’s not something that I would regard as particularly helpful. Right! People might remind me that the iPhone’s price also went down, so maybe I’m being a hypocrite.

    The other issue that lies in the background is the skirmish between Apple and NBC/Universal. Already NBC has taken its TV shows to Amazon, which excludes tens of millions of Mac users, unless you use Boot Camp or the Parallels or VMWare Fusion virtual machines to run Windows. That, too me, is downright stupid, and it demonstrates just how far that the entertainment industry is out of touch.

    Of course, maybe it’s just a power play. But I don’t think brinkmanship is going to have much of an impact on Steve Jobs, particularly since NBC still remains a lesser TV network compared to the competition that does have product on iTunes.

    In the end, NBC will probably cave. For now, though, most people don’t buy TV shows, particularly when your cable TV, satellite provider or genuine TiVO DVR box will conveniently record your favorites for a one-time fee or modest monthly charge. And how long do you really want to keep those shows anyway, right?

    Will they ever learn? Don’t bet on it.



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