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  • Newsletter #426 Preview: Turning Good News Into Bad

    January 27th, 2008

    As I was listening to some talking heads debate Apple’s financial prospects on a 24-hour cable TV show this weekend, I had the vain hope that they would provide a needed dose of reality upon the bad tidings surrounding Apple Inc. these days.

    In the end, it was a mixed bag. One financial analyst said Apple was doing just dandy, thank you, while another said Apple’s stock has long been overpriced, and was a better buy at $125 per share. My conclusion is that they really don’t know, but they got on that show because they can provide instant pithy comments on a variety of financial matters that sounded great on TV. It doesn’t matter if they know what they are talking about or not.

    It never does, sad to say.

    But after it became clear that you can’t fault a company for having record sales, despite a basically gloomy economic outlook, the nasty, noisy negatives of the financial and tech press decided to embark in the incredibly wrong-headed search for the missing iPhones.

    Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.



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    5 Responses to “Newsletter #426 Preview: Turning Good News Into Bad”

    1. Dana Sutton says:

      I agree with pretty much all of this, but the bit about the missing iPhones is actually rather interesting. At least some of these have fallen off the radar scope because they’ve been unlocked, so that the number sold doesn’t match up with the number registered with AT&T. Why do so many folks want to unlock their iPhones? Evidently not to save money, since AT&T’s rates aren’t noticeably any higher than the competitions. Rather, this seems to be a pretty massive vote of “no confidence” in AT&T’s slow Edge. It’s not easy to buffalo consumers into settling for second-rate when they know that they can do better. I realize that this isn’t all of the story — I suspect there were 2 – 3 weeks when iPhones sales really sagged because potential customers were waiting to see if Steve would announce an upgrade — but I am pretty sure it’s a sizable part of the story.

    2. I agree with pretty much all of this, but the bit about the missing iPhones is actually rather interesting. At least some of these have fallen off the radar scope because they’ve been unlocked, so that the number sold doesn’t match up with the number registered with AT&T. Why do so many folks want to unlock their iPhones? Evidently not to save money, since AT&T’s rates aren’t noticeably any higher than the competitions. Rather, this seems to be a pretty massive vote of “no confidence” in AT&T’s slow Edge. It’s not easy to buffalo consumers into settling for second-rate when they know that they can do better. I realize that this isn’t all of the story — I suspect there were 2 – 3 weeks when iPhones sales really sagged because potential customers were waiting to see if Steve would announce an upgrade — but I am pretty sure it’s a sizable part of the story.

      AT&T might actually be cheaper in some respects because of its “rollover minutes” feature, which carries over unused minutes to the following month. If you’re like me, you buy what you regard as your maximum number of potential minutes, so as not to get caught paying overage. For us, when we went to AT&T, we were conservative in using the phone the first month to gauge how many minutes are used, and we’ll be benefiting from rollover.

      As to Edge, I don’t think that’s sufficient reason to just say no. Performance varies, and if you have a really strong signal (and it’s just moderate in my home), it’s not bad for simple Web pages. In saying that, however, as I wrote elsewhere, I’ll probably wait for 3G support.

      Peace,
      Gene

    3. Dana Sutton says:

      Gene, if you don’t think Edge is the reason, then it would be interesting to hear your theory about why unlocked iPhones are considered so desirable. We hear about unlocking all the time, but the reason for its popularity doesn’t seem to have come in for much investigation (in a thread last week the question of Apple’s market research or lack thereof came up — I’d love to know how much of an understanding they have developed about this one). At least limiting ourselves to the USA, you and I agree that economics doesn’t seem to be the motivating force. So the reason must be some issue having to do with service quality, right? I thought of Edge because, even if you are right and it’s not always intolerably slow, it has gotten such a conspicuously bad rap in the press that many folks are under the impression that it is and don’t want anything to do with it.

    4. Adam says:

      Dana,
      I think that the number of unlocked phones is a direct result of people not being patient enough to wait for their current service contracts to expire. No one wants to pay several hundred dollars in early termination fees, but everyone wants an iPhone.

      As for 3G, my understanding is that there are lots of places that don’t have 3G networks yet so the speed increase won’t be there unless you live in a major urban area.

    5. Gene, if you don’t think Edge is the reason, then it would be interesting to hear your theory about why unlocked iPhones are considered so desirable. We hear about unlocking all the time, but the reason for its popularity doesn’t seem to have come in for much investigation (in a thread last week the question of Apple’s market research or lack thereof came up — I’d love to know how much of an understanding they have developed about this one). At least limiting ourselves to the USA, you and I agree that economics doesn’t seem to be the motivating force. So the reason must be some issue having to do with service quality, right? I thought of Edge because, even if you are right and it’s not always intolerably slow, it has gotten such a conspicuously bad rap in the press that many folks are under the impression that it is and don’t want anything to do with it.

      Support for Edge is a hardware limitation of the iPhone, so it doesn’t matter whether 3G is available in your city or not. In saying that, the iPhone’s browser is still much, much faster than that of the competition, even when they do support 3G.

      It’s clear to me that people unlock their iPhones to use them with other carriers, most often overseas in areas where Apple has yet to sign up a wireless partner. Here in the USA, you are limited to either AT&T or T-Mobile for GSM. In areas where T-Mobile has good coverage, it’s a cheaper alternative. But not that much cheaper.

      Peace,
      Gene

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