Betrayal at 1 Infinite Loop

Today Apple demonstrated its love for the early adopters and hard-core Apple fanatics who’ve supported the company by announcing a 200-dollar price drop on the iPhone.

The best part, if you’re the type who reads the internets, is that it opened the door for all those who didn’t already buy an iPhone (you know, poor people) to jump on the various message boards and comment threads and shout “Suckers!!!!” So as if it weren’t enough to have Apple giving us the metaphorical kick in the nads, we’ve got the typical internet yabbos coming along and kicking sand in our faces.

It is to those fine yabbos that I offer the following retorts:

You know electronics are going to quickly drop in price.
Of course. Apple in particular is known for releasing new iterations and dropping the price on the new versions. But one third of the price after only two months is extreme. That’s not expanding the installed user base, that’s just saying “Screw you, suckers! Ha ha!” to the people who respect your company enough to give you money for version 1.0 of your product.

If it was worth that much money to you when you bought it, a price drop shouldn’t change that.
And if people could just be nice to each other, then there wouldn’t be war. Sure, I was willing to pay an obscene amount of money for a damn cell phone two months ago; that doesn’t mean I was happy about it. When are the doctors going to stop going on about videogame addiction and start looking into a cure for compulsive consumerism?

You paid $200 for bragging rights.
Who was bragging? Were people really going around saying, “Ha ha I just paid too much money for a cell phone! Suck on that!

So my warning/advice still stands: if you want the phone but haven’t gotten one yet, wait for the next iteration. Sure, they’re cheaper now, but the cost was only one of the problems with the thing. It’s still buggy as hell, it doesn’t have enough software (although the third-party stuff is surprisingly sophisticated and easy to install, another “screw you, consumer!” from Apple), it doesn’t have enough storage, and will undoubtedly have improved features like GPS and the like in a future version.

If you just wanted the fancy iPod and portable web browser, I don’t know what to say about that; I needed a phone and didn’t want to carry around two devices.

A lot of Apple’s promotional stuff about the iPhone mentions all the ways you can communicate using only one finger. Which, of course, is appropriate, since what I have to say to Apple only requires one finger.

P.S.: Another one of the awesome announcements Apple made today is that they’ll be offering ringtones on the iTunes store for the low low price of two bucks each! That’s right, you get to pay them 99 cents for the privilege of copying a file from one folder to another! Go screw yourself, Apple!

14 thoughts on “Betrayal at 1 Infinite Loop”

  1. The humiliating kick in the crotch followed up with a middling nad rub. Genius.

    Dear Mr. Collie:

    I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers.

    [I cut the entire text the open letter that was commented here, due to length and Steve Jobs’ smarminess. Full text is available on Apple’s website. — Chuck]

    We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple.

    Steve Jobs
    Apple CEO

  2. And yeah, Steve Jobs can take that $100 store credit and shove it up his hairy, pimply ass. Not the $100 credit he’s offering; I’m taking that one. I mean the OTHER $100 he over-charged me for the phone.

    Funny how his “Yeah, shit happens in technology. Sucks to be you.” quote to USA Today turned into a smarmy-ass “We’re still right, but here’s half of what we over-charged you. Use it to buy more planned obsolescent crap from us, you stupid suckers!”

    You can’t own a computer and not recognize that Jobs is an arrogant son of a bitch, but the balls on that guy. Who in their right minds does such an obvious and public “screw you” to first-time buyers? Didn’t the success of the iPhone pretty much depend on the people who were willing to get one on day one, sight unseen? After this completely bone-headed move, who’s going to be so gullible as to buy something else from Apple within the first two months of its release? Has a company ever sent out a stronger message of “Don’t Buy Our Product?”

    So now I guess I can apply that $100 to pay for one FOURTH of the cost it’s going to take to fix my laptop computer, which broke a month after the warranty expired. (Long after they’d release newer, cheaper versions that fixed the damn latch problem they knew was broken in the first place). Piece of shit.

  3. I was hugely surprised by the amount of complaining by people who bought an iPhone day 1 at full price and are now bummed out two months later… I mean, I guess it makes sense, but I didn’t bat an eye when the $200 price cut was announced… I didn’t immediately think about the people who bought it day 1, because I always *always* assume that if I’m a day 1 early adopter, I’m going to get wholly sabotaged in some way or another within a few months – sometimes weeks – of my purchase, and that I’ll just have to live with it.

    Thanks to the Internet, though, massive whining can reach critical mass with ease, so everyone who was TOTALLY WILLING to pay top dollar for an iPhone two months ago can now somehow feel entitled to $200 back. Again, this is $200 they all were able to justify paying at the time. That, to me is epic epic bullshit.

    It’s nice of Apple to give them $100 store credit to shut them up, but come on! If the $200 was such a deal breaker two months ago, why do all these people have iPhones to complain about?!

  4. Man, don’t be coming on here with your mac.com e-mail address perpetrating those lies.

    First, are you the guy who hears about somebody getting mugged and then instantly says, “Yeah, well he shouldn’t have been walking in that part of town that time of night. It’s his own fault.”

    Second, since you brought out the “massive whining” crack, I’m assuming you’re familiar with substance-free internet shit-slinging. So you know that “early adopter tax” is just an expression — you’re never ACTUALLY paying a premium JUST to get something in its first release. You’re buying something knowing that technology goes down in price and up in capability quickly because the hardware gets smaller, faster and cheaper to produce.

    You buy a laptop now, knowing that in about 6-8 months, there’s going to be a newer, faster version that will most likely cost around 10-20% less. You’re not “wholly sabotaged,” you just don’t have the latest and greatest. And it NEVER happens in weeks unless you’re buying at the end of a product’s life cycle.

    Do you expect me to believe that just over the past two months, the process of making these things got SO much more efficient that it costs $200 less to make each one? When in the history of consumer electronics, no other device has seen such a dramatic reduction in cost in its first YEAR? To me, THAT would be epic bullshit.

    These aren’t brand-new improved models; these are the SAME phones, now 1/3 less. So if the cost of making them hasn’t gone down, then Apple could have been charging $200 less at the time of release. But they weren’t.

    Third, whatever happened to good faith? Being TOTALLY WILLING to pay the asking price for the initial iPhone doesn’t mean being TOTALLY HAPPY about it. It just means that you’re assuming that the other end of the transaction isn’t trying to screw you — that it’s priced the way it is for a reason, because it’s the cheapest that they can go and still make a profit.

    I acknowledged the thing was too damn expensive when I bought it, but implicit in that was the assumption that Apple had met me halfway and charged a reasonable amount. Again, how can Apple have successful initial releases if they keep telling their early adopters, “Hey,we’re screwing you because we can and we know you’ll keep coming back.”

    Fourth, it’s not “nice” of Apple to give store credit. It’s an ass-covering move from the guy who just yesterday was telling his seed audience to “suck it up, crybabies.” You may be disgusted at the first-day purchasers of the iPhone complaining about the price drop. I’m disgusted at the people who are taking the half-assed store credit and saying “All is forgiven, Steve!” When stuff like that happens, it just confirms the most trite stereotype of Apple and its users.

    Fifth, Steve Jobs is a douche.

  5. I’m tempted to just say “wah wah wah” at all the whining I’ve read about this. Fine, I’m not terribly happy that I spent $200 bucks more than I needed to either. But it seems that you think that this was somehow an intentional ploy to wring some extra bucks out of the people they knew would pay practically anything for an iPhone (me included)… I don’t believe that is what happened, and I am pretty impressed that I’m getting $100 bucks back – even if it is in store credit (not a problem for me at all because of how often I buy stuff there). Here is what I think happened…

    They knew that the product was great so they priced the phone as high as the felt like they could get away with. Given other products out there, including the iPods and particularly smartphones, the pricing was not that out of line. I can’t fault them for that. Personally I thought $600 was alot for the 8GB but that was about the upper limit for me so I think they guessed right. $500 would have been more sensible, but $700 would have been ridiculous. I don’t count cell-plan/contract discounts in my comparison.

    The phone came out, and all the early adopters paid up for it, and for the most part people have been happy. I absolutely love mine and think it’s pretty much the coolest gadget I’ve ever had. And everyone seems to want one, but surprise, I don’t think they sold anywhere near as many as they were hoping to, irrespective of how great the device is. There are just too many uncertainties for a large number of people to pay that much for a new phone – so most people I knew who wanted one were just waiting.

    I knew that something was up when less than 2 weeks after the phone came out, I checked the iPhone availability page at http://www.apple.com/retail/iphone/ and saw that there were phones available *everywhere* in the country. Every single store had them. The fact that they even had this page is evidence that they were expecting to be out of them.

    So I think they overproduced in anticipation of demand that did not materialize. So they made the necessary adjustments and changed the price. They made a mistake in pricing and anticipating how much demand there would be in a new market for them. Big deal. The last thing they want is to go into the next quarter and find that they have a huge inventory of unsold iPhone’s on the shelves.

    Bottom line – they have a product that has no competition whatsoever in my book and they could have just banked the $200. I wouldn’t have cared if they did. So I’m pretty happy to be getting the $100 back. Seems like a nice gesture to me.

    I wish I could say after all that that I was happy with the new iPod line… I really was hoping for an 80GB iPod touch for my car.

  6. If you feel like you’ve gotten $200 worth of value out of the phone over the past two months, I don’t want to know what the hell you’ve been doing with it. I just hope you’re remembering to wipe the screen off.

    But really, it’s simpler than my tirades above make it sound. If they can afford to sell the thing for $200 cheaper now, then they could’ve afforded to do it in June. I don’t see the distinction between “they priced the phone as high as they could get away with” and “this was an intentional ploy to wring some extra bucks out of people.”

    I do understand enough about economics to realize that you make more money if you sell more units, even if they’re priced lower. But this was a THIRD off the price. If they’d dropped it 50 bucks, you wouldn’t have heard anything from me except “Business as usual.” 100 bucks, I would’ve said, “Damn. Sucks to be me, but them’s the breaks.”

    But I don’t see how anybody can see a $200 price reduction and not think that Apple seriously overpriced the initial release. (And the things are still in stock everywhere; it’s not like they suddenly created a huge demand.) Which means they charged the early adopters too much. Whether we were willing to pay it is irrelevant; like I said, you go into a business transaction assuming that the two sides are treating each other fairly.

    I guess I’m just not yet cynical enough to believe that it’s good business practice to tell a million of your most loyal customers that you charged them $200 more than you needed to, and then go to USA Today and say “Tough titties.”

    And I guess I’m just not petty enough to understand why people are going around shouting “whiners!!!!” If Apple’s selling the damn things for $400 now, what the hell do they care if everybody else gets theirs for $400 too?

    At worst, Apple was being as arrogant as people always accuse the company of being, and gouging the people who keep coming back for their product. At best — at best — they seriously miscalculated demand for their new product and are desperately trying to make up for that. Either way, it was their error. And now people are going on about how “good” it was of them to offer non-money to people who already bought one? Apple has lost nothing in this whole situation — they’ll probably sell more phones, and they’ll get everybody else to spend even more money at their stores, since nothing Apple sells is less than $100. But somehow, I’m the bad guy for saying the whole thing sucks.

  7. The high price was a ripoff, but still a million people were fine with paying it. I doubt any of them had to buy an iPhone. None of them *had* to, in fact. They all just wanted to. Apple’s not your friend, they’re an Evil Corporation who happens to know how to make a good user interface.

    Also, notice there’s no 4GB iPod Touch? Maybe the whole thing was a tech-timing clusterfuck, and bumping up to 8/16gb over the old 4/8gb was always scheduled for now, but the iPhone itself got delayed, or who knows what else? Mac rumor sites are now already abuzz about a 3G 16gb iPhone announcement for Europe within the next 2 months.

    Giving back the $100 in credit to existing customers — AKA admitting that they fucked something up — is a pretty rare occurrance for Apple, who is usually extraordinarily unapologetic about its Business Practices (most of which would be prefaced by a capital “Evil” or at least “Big” if the company wasn’t so charming and attractive that the world can’t stop averting its eyes and accidentally dropping its binder all over the ground whenever Apple looked its way, and actually notice that they don’t really like us that much, they just like our money and attention). And, finally, if this was the damn Zune do you think $100 would be coming back the other way?

  8. Sorry, Jake, that “Big Corporations are capital-E Evil and you’re naive for thinking they’re your friend” stuff is played. It’s trite, simplistic, and is exactly the kind of thing Apple’s early adopters are usually there to deflect. It’s exactly why the sudden dramatic price drop was such a boneheaded move for the Apple brand. Because until now, whenever some tool went around saying, “Boogah boogah! Apple sells over-priced crap to status-conscious yuppies and Steve Jobs is the antichrist!” there’d been a ton of satisfied customers who could easily respond with, “Get bent. You get what you pay for.”

    I’m not getting Saturn dealership-hugs from the gang at the Apple store, or asking them to go to movies with me. The only thing that Apple and my friends have in common is that they’re both calling me a whiner for complaining about getting shafted on the cost of a phone. You don’t have to be “friends” with a company to expect it to enter business transactions in good faith. Selling the exact same item to one person for $600 and the next for $400 isn’t good faith. And there’s nothing naive about expecting that from companies. Even big ones.

    You keep mentioning that nobody had to buy an iPhone. Holy shit, what a breakthrough! It’s almost as if it were an expensive luxury item! But I missed the ethics class where they said that unfair pricing was okay as long as you were only screwing people who could afford it.

    You keep saying that people were willing to pay the original price. I keep pointing out that being willing to pay that (I sure wasn’t happy about it, and I’ve got a tirade on this website to prove it) had the implicit assumption that Apple was selling it at the best price point they could manage. And that’s a perfectly reasonable assumption, based on their past history of innovation in technology, rate at which the new stuff comes out, percentage of price cuts, etc. For the fourth time: cutting 1/3 off the price of a major item two months after release is unprecedented for the company.

    You act like it’s a bunch of Apple fanboys lounging on Nob Hill moaning that their diamond shoes are too tight. Apparently there’s no middle ground between drooling fanboys who think that Jobs is their best friend ever and throw money around which they should be giving to charity, and people who just expect the company to treat us fairly based on past history. What about those of us who just buy Apple stuff because it’s traditionally been the best combination of hardware and software design, well built, easy to use, enjoyable to use, and as close to an everything-comes-included appliance as you can get in tech these days? Those of us who are so fashion-backwards the idea that we’d buy the thing as a status symbol is ludicrous?

    And apparently I’m supposed to believe that “Big” is synonymous with “Evil;” am I complicit in evil because I go into transactions knowing that Apple makes a profit on the stuff I buy? Or am I just naive because I expect that to be a reasonable profit, a significant chunk of which they invest in research and development, and the rest they use so the employees can by their own overpriced luxury items?

  9. Maybe you can switch this topic to “How LAME is the iPod touch?” I kind of wanted one until I found out it topped out at 16 gigabrickels.

    And who wants a stupid iPhone anyway? It really has no voice dialing? How can you dial while you’re driving if there are no keys to feel?

  10. head exploding will be available on the next model of the iphone that will come out in time for Thanksgiving. $599. Start saving up.

Comments are closed.