Monday, July 02, 2007

iPhone Price .... Too Expensive?

I think that with all the things that the iPhone can do (and perhaps technology that will be already built into the phone but not used until later) the phone is priced well. Even just the technology that the iPhone is using makes it worth the money when Apple's production, research and development costs are factored in: they've done a good job pricing it accordingly (and they're praying to sell millions so that they can recoup their costs and then make a profit - 4g and 8's).

It's a cellphone, MP3 player, camera and a smart phone so adding them all up separately would cost alot more. Plus, being that it is a Mac product smacks of high quality and probably not one to be released with a ton of bugs.

Out of reach for most? Definitely, especially when you factor in a data plan that HAS to go with it; no way out of that one. And then there's the little accessories here and there like docking station, leather/hard shell case and screen protectors, to name a few.

Either way, can't deny that it is one very cool device.

The iPhone is cool. But can these two very different cultures....Apple and Cingular....pull off a long-term alliance? Many factors are involved.

Hip and edgy Apple has decided to dance with Cingular (as in, stodgy old AT&T). The revolutionary meets the regulated monopoly. Will this be like "Bambi meets Godzilla?" Not likely, but there are some significant challenges in the alliance.

Here are a few elements of culture that could trouble this alliance.

Decision making.....Apple has demonstrated its willingness to move quickly to be the market leader, sometimes at the cost of putting the wrong product out in the market. (Anyone remember the Apple II?) AT&T (Cingular's parent) is more known for the slow, lumbering moves appropriate to a giant.

Customer care.....Early customers may very well get caught in the middle as the Cingular service reps declare the problem to be an iPhone technical issue while Apple declares it a Mobile phone service issue. Which set of policies and systems will prevail as the inevitable early glitches occur? Will the customers survive the battle?

Innovation.....AT&T's enthusiasm for investments in technology may not keep pace with Apple's. Steve Jobs built Apple on his willingness to invest in leading edge (and sometimes bleeding edge) technology. With product life cycles measured in months in the cell phone industry, that mismatch could spell trouble for the collaboration.

Brand identity.....Apple rarely co-brands its products. Cingular is returning to the AT&T brand. What does all of this mean to the iPhone? (To say nothing of the Cisco lawsuit over the iPhone name!) Trouble ahead on this front for sure. How will these two very different cultures tackle this tricky tangle?

Communication..... I know - this is a communication device. But can the executives who have to hold the deal together make it work? The possibilities for miscommunication and misunderstood expectations are boundless. All of the things that are left unsaid in the course of normal business communication are possible sources for misunderstanding. Executives on each side of the deal will make their own assumptions about what was and wasn't said, likely without even realizing they are making assumptions.

This whole affair calls to mind cartoons from the 1950s showing a flustered telephone switchboard operator with wires all tangled and crossed. Can't you just picture the iPhone caught in that tangle of wires? However, all of that said, this is an exciting step in the media and communications world and it could be the start of some interesting developments.

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