Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Hype

Well even if we have been living under a rock, we would have known about Apple's iPhone release last Friday at 6pm. In fact that was single handedly the only piece of news out there in the tech community. But some of the stats are in (via TechCrunch). As of Sunday, Apple and AT&T moved 700,000 iPhones. Apple sold out in 95 of its 164 stores. The larger phone which was calculated at a cost of $220 and sold for $599 and the cheaper phone at a cost of $200 selling at $499 gives Apple somewhere of a $200 million + weekend IN PROFIT (less marketing costs, we'll talk about this later).

It's an amazing phenomenon. People were in line as early as 5am on MONDAY, a whopping FOUR days before the iPhone went on sale. How much marketing was done? Very little. If memory serves me correctly, a Super Bowl ad. That's it. The rest was Jobs talking at various conferences and user generated hype. How sustainable is this? If the iPhone promises to change the way we do telecommunications...a lot.

But what really interests me is the artificial hype that was created about this phone. Sure its a beautiful phone and this past week, when I noticed someone with the phone it made me turn my head, but never before has a phone really made this much impact. A phone as status symbol. Only Apple could do it. The Sidekick went for the young hipsters, the Razrs went for the mainstream, but the iPhone did it right. I'm not sure why but it did.

There are many Apple evangelists out there that support anything that Jobs does. I don't know if its a function of that fact that he's going up against the evil empire in Redmond led by evil Bill Gates and that in a way he's still David versus Bill (Goliath). But there is no other brand that has much loyalty as the Apple heads. And I cannot figure out why. You'd think that there'd be diehard Yahoo guys against Google, but there aren't. Wii versus Playstation. Nope. The only one that comes close and this is very distant are MiniCooper owners who seem to have formed a click. And for that fact other rare car owners (see Larry David's Prius episode).

But these supporters came out and did what Steve wanted them to do without him asking them. They just read his mind. They blogged about it, they created mock commercials about it, they waited in line for days, they thought about it, they drooled about it. Over a phone. Over an IPHONE. The fastest selling gadget of all time - people are trading off weeks of food for a $600 phone! And I bet you if it weren't for all of the mumbo jumbo that you have to deal with when you go to a cell phone service contract they would have to sold more. Which leads to my final point of sustainability. Sales will be sustained....but now the ball is in AT&T's court (which so far have not been positive)....

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