Can I have my $200 back?
Russell Beattie:: "I'm sure the rest of the world will be waxing lyrically about all the new gadgets and the new price point, but to me today's announcements are a clear sign that Apple's original segmentation wasn't working and they are scrambling to adjust their model."
I had much the same reaction -- the announcement smacked of "we aren't making our numbers, here's a positive spin." Yes, some of this is just the end of the early-adopter premium, and price drops were to be expected in some form (traditionally, the introduction of new models), but this seems sooner and steeper than usual for Apple. This is all so much Cupertino Kremlinology, but the calculations are pretty simple:
If Apple intends to sell 10m by the end of 2008*, they need to sell over 18k units per day. They've sold fewer than 15k units per day (in the neighborhood of 11k units per day after the opening weekend). Their long-term run-rate isn't clear (has the post-launch lull finished?), and predicting based on iPod sales patterns is hazardous (while iPods make a nice holiday gift, $1,800 in liability does not). The big wild-card is the European market. Will Apple find a partner? Will they ship HSDPA support? Will HSDPA then make its way to the US iPhone line for repeat sales?
* Apple may actually hope to sell 10m in 2008, which makes current rate less relevant except for the need to double it.
Some of the other announcements are more interesting -- e.g. the iPod Touch means you can now develop app interfaces for the iPhone without having to pay AT&T.
Update: it seems the market is starting to notice.