Whatley is a Symbian guy, through and through. He’s got more applications on his Nokia then I can shake a stick at. But he’s tempted, sorely tempted by Apple’s iPhone. I suspect the o2 unlimited data plans are also annoying the hell out of him as he’s stuck with Vodafone’s paltry offering. But will an all new (well, not really) 16GB iPhone finally push him into the o2 shop?
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I am not ‘a Mac person’.
I’m getting there, (before you all start booing and hissing), and I’ve been known to get a bit ‘Mac curious’ every now and then.
It’s not through lack of trying though. In fact the other day I borrowed a MacBook Pro from SpinVox to take home and ‘test drive’ for the weekend. Only problem was it was one of those weekends when all of a sudden you have NO TIME to do a single bloody thing and I ended up handing it back Monday morning having only figured out how to get the bloody thing online, (and that took long enough).
Anyway – as I said – I’m getting there. One day I’ll make the jump.
The same thing however cannot be said for the iPhone.
I was at a lunch recently where upon I found myself sitting next to the editor of Mac Format magazine. He and I were discussing mobile et al and of course we ended up comparing devices. ‘Eww…’ he said, looking my N95 ‘Already I’m thinking ‘PC! PC!’ I don’t know how you do it mate…’ – and I in turn went on to mock his iPhone loveliness.
‘But can yours do THIS?’ he said, free scrolling up and down web pages like he hadn’t a care in the world.
‘Well… No. But…
‘Come on. What’s so bad about it?!’
‘Well… Er… the price for a start.’
‘Forget the price. We know it’s over-priced. What else?’
And I stumbled. I lost my thought process. I looked at the N95 in my hands and the iPhone in his and I just stared blankly, grasping around for something… anything… that would aid me in my explanation…
Suddenly it came to me:
‘Well no 3G for a start, or HSDPA. Plus the camera leaves a lot to be desired, (the one you do have doesn’t have a flash) and then there’s MMS…’
And I was away, fighting my corner like a true N95 loving mobile geek.
Once again all was well in the world.
However, I must say that as much as I profess to be an iPhone critic I cannot deny its beauty, its simplicity, and its innovation. Its sheer impact on the on industry we all know and love so well is truly something to behold.
Eventually, Mr Mac Format and I came to a friendly truce. He pointed out that I was probably never the target market for the iPhone in the first place and I acknowledged that the iPhone ‘Mark 2’ would no doubt fix all the problems that I currently had with the device.
I applauded Apple for creating a device that my Mum could pick up and use and I also added that the masterstroke that was making the menu screen the same as the home screen was just pure Genius. Talk about removing barriers to entry. Brilliant.
So why the iPhone love?
Why now, after all this time?
Have I fallen over and bashed my head somewhere around SpinVox HQ?
The fact is I still mock and point and laugh at anyone who’s mug enough to fork out the minimum Â£900ish that is required for an iPhone in this country, (on o2 in the UK it is Â£269 for the 8GB variant + Â£35pcm (min) for the 18mth contract = Â£899), and I still insist on putting everyone off of purchasing one wherever I go and whoever I talk to.
The question I always ask is: ‘Why do you need an iPhone?’
The answer is often: ‘I need one.’
A pure emotional decision that is not based around utility whatsoever, just some clever marketing, (and I don’t say that lightly; ‘clever marketing’ in this instance is like saying Britney Spears is ‘a bit mental’), huge brand awareness and a near-subconscious desire to own this beautiful thing that can only really explained if the Pied Piper of Hamelin appeared in the ads himself.
So what else drives this insatiable need? The price puts me off. I’ve made that much clear.
But we’ve also established that I am not the target market for this handset. Are you?
We’ll come back to that one…
Ewan recently wrote that the iPhone would ‘only ever be a bit player‘. Well given that it is merely one handset in a market of thousands well then I’d have to agree. But of course that wasn’t the intention was it? The intention (as was clearly laid out by some of the more balanced comments to that piece and of course by Mr Jobs himself), was to gain a single digit market share.
Here we are less than one week away from the biggest and most highly regarded event in the mobile sector and Apple seem to have done just that. Maybe next week we’ll see what the industry reaction is. What have the other handset manufacturers got up their sleeves?
Coming back to the target market question – I’ll leave you with the comments I made a few days back in response to another iPhone piece:
‘It’s interesting –
When it comes to the pricing issue – you do have to stop for a moment and think about why o2 launched the iPhone at that RRP.
In the UK the economy in general has recently seen a downturn in overall sales of products but an upturn in overall value of said market(s). Consumers are fleeing the every day, mass-produced, mass-market products and are saving their cash and investing in the latest luxury ‘designer’ items.
Therefore there’s a school of thought that o2 knew exactly what they were doing when they launched at Â£269.99 + contract. They were pricing the everyday ‘common man’ consumer *out*.
Instantly making the iPhone tap into that hidden snob inside us all, (well, not us, but them, y’know… The Normobs).
I was at dinner recently and the two gentlemen at the next table were talking; discussing work etc, and halfway through one exchange the gentleman diagonally opposite to me produced and iPhone from his pocket, waved it sufficiently around to make sure that everyone saw and then placed it on the table in front of him.
Conversation stopper right there. Followed by gasps of
‘You’ve got one?! Where from? OMG it’s gorgeous! Does it do email?’
The iPhone has been subconsciously marketed as a luxury device. By having one you are instantly making a statement: ‘Look at me. Look at what I can afford.’
I actually heard someone say recently: ‘I want an iPhone. I can afford one too. I just don’t think I’m cool enough. I don’t deserve one yet…’
The device is *cool*, outside of this industry we all move in. Yes we think it lacks key features, that’s because it does.
And yes we think it’s over-priced… Well that’s the point.
o2 don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry to have one.
o2 want every Tom, Dick and Harry to WANT one.
And trust me, they do.
I’ll be in Barcelona next week, attending Mobile World Congress with SpinVox. If you’re going to be at the conference, why not come say hi? We’ll be in Hall 2, stand 2D33. Trust me; you won’t be able to miss it.
See you there!