iPhone Price Drop: Some Early Adopters Are Mad

September 5, 2007


Here’s a bit of a cautionary tale if you want to be on the cutting edge of technology. Read some of the comments over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog and also here. Om Malik is also a bit miffed. Basically, the iPhone only debuted two months ago, and today’s announcement of a price drop of $200 clams is fairly significant. You can now get an iPhone with more storage space for less money, and some who spent $600 for the top of the line iPhone feel they were taken advantage of.

Last time I ever buy anything from Apple as an early adopter. I can’t decide whether I am more pissed at getting burned as an early adopter or for being clearly gouged for $200 when they are still obviously going to still make money by selling it $200 cheaper. As a result of this I am not buying two more iphones I had planned on purchasing in the next 6 months. I do not reward being taken. – Comment by Geek to Go at The Unofficial Apple Weblog

The word from Mr. Jobs is “That’s what happens in technology.”

I empathize with the early adopters’ pain. Many new technologies are insanely expensive at first but drop sharply in price thereafter. This is a big reason why I’m staying out of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray format war, and also didn’t pick up an LCD HD television until this year. I now look at my stack of DVDs and wonder if I spent too much, as I did with the stacks of cassette and VHS tapes before (how many times will I buy Star Wars?) When it comes to technology, buyer’s remorse is inevitable – the only way I’ve found to get around it is to wait until “V2″ and buy the most economical models available – I haven’t owned a “Pro” Macintosh since the nineties.

But still, two months is not much time at all, and this “upgrade” doesn’t fit the usual pattern of Apple products going about six months before a change, and usually that change means adding more features to a product but keeping the price point the same.

I’m totally happy that the iPhone is now $200 bucks cheaper, but that may be because I don’t already have one.


  1. Ross says:

    Yeah to be honest I’m fairly unsympathetic. 2 months is a bit harsh yes, but if you just HAD to have one the day/week it came out, it’s your own damn fault. I paid $400 (FOUR HUNDRED) for a 1x DVD-ROM when they first hit the market. $699 for a 2x CD-R (not even RW). $300 for a 3Dfx add-on card (not even its own video card). That’s what happens when you buy into technology that early. This really shouldn’t be ‘news’ to anyone, let alone someone that bought an iPhone.

  2. I find it humorous … the fact this this has happened doesn’t surprise me one bit. The prices being asked for were unsubstainable but as anyone who has been around the tech world for even a short period of time can tell you – early adopters are the one’s who pay for the R&D .. and the executive’s new jets :)

  3. webomatica says:

    Yeah – I may be sitting this one out as well until there’s an iPod Touch with a 40 GB drive – or an iPhone that has no contract with AT&T.

    As for ridiculous early adopter technology purchases I’m still pissed I ever bought a Zip drive with the click of death – besides overpaying for an external CD burner…

  4. tunequest says:

    I bought the original 5G iPod ($400) about two months before an updated model was introduced. At the time, I was a little upset, but now a view that old brick as a badge of honor.

    As for the iPhone, it really looks like a great product, but having read about it since it was mere rumor and speculation, I can’t help but notice that a lot of people are way to wrapped up emotionally, way beyond reason, with what essentially amounts to a hunk of metal and plastic. $600 for a phone was ridiculous to begin with.

    I’m sure that has something to do with the negative reaction.

  5. webomatica says:

    Wrapped up emotionally – yep. They got $200 worth of looking cutting edge; that should be worth it.

  6. Thats what happens when you buy stuff right out of the gates. Almost every single tech product gets a price drop within the first year. It just doesn’t make sense getting it the day of.

    Wait a few months, make sure the company gets all of the bugs out of the product….listen for any rumors and then buy the product.

  7. JC says:

    I had to have the iPhone on day one, and I wouldn’t trade my experience on that day, or any of the 60+ days I’ve had since I got it for $200.

    If you are into gadgets, and you don’t understand that these things just happen in tech, then there’s something wrong with you.

    Having said that, I’m more worried than angry about the price drop. Something tells me that the last few weeks of August’s sales were lower than Apple wanted, prompting the quicker than usual price drop. I hope I’m wrong about that, but I just have a bad feeling.

    Of course, the price drop will make the continued success of iPhone a given. Lots of people who didn’t own an iPhone yesterday will have one tomorrow.

    On a related note, am I the only one who thinks the iPod touch feels like a cheap, unfinished, watered-down iPhone? It just seems like Apple started with the iPhone and took out a few key elements, rather than designing something innovative and unique. Come to think of it, almost all of the newly announced iPods are a little more “in line with expectations” than “exceeding expectations”. I guess when your competition is as far behind as the Zune, you can get away with coasting for a little while. I just hope Apple isn’t getting lazy.

    Just watching Steve demo the touch seemed really stupid. There was almost nothing to show that he hadn’t already showed us back in January.

    The way I look at it, there’s no reason for an iPhone owner to get a touch, or even a nano, unless you need something light for jogging, in which case maybe even a shuffle would be better. On the other hand, the 160 GB classic is right up my alley, since it solves the one issue I have with my iPhone—storage.

    If I weren’t an iPhone owner (and wasn’t willing to switch from some other cell phone provider) I suppose a touch and a classic would be just as good a solution, although then I’d be carrying around three devices, since I’d still need a mobile phone. With the price drop, it would be harder to resist just going for the iPhone instead of the touch.

    Yeah, I don’t see much reason to get a touch, unless you live outside the U.S. I think Steve hopes people will use the touch as a stepping stone to a future iPhone. For all people’s clamoring for it, I’d be surprised if the touch sold nearly as well as the nano.

  8. webomatica says:

    JC as the quintessential early Apple adopter who knows exactly what he’s in for, this post wasn’t exactly directed at you :)

    Anyhow – in regards to the iPod Touch I think this was the inevitable direction the iPod line had to go post-iPhone. The iPhone GUI and multi-touch was a no brainer to put on an iPod for music browsing … especially if multitouch is ever to make its way to Macs proper.

    But with this slightly odd event, it seems the iPods are in some strange transition period – Apple obviously doesn’t believe in the iPod Touch enough to totally kill the “classic” iPod without a touch screen, and also seems like they didn’t want to add enough storage space to the iPod Touch to have it impact iPhone sales. I was expecting the iPod Touch but not its small amount of storage space or the price drop on the iPhone. Now the iPod product line seems kind of strange, as the iPhone is strangely part of the iPod line. But it definitely shows that Apple really wants the iPhone to be their best seller – it’s the new product that needs to prove itself.

    What feels strange to me is they shouldn’t have to make a weaker iPod to get people to buy iPhones.

    Now that I’ve had a few hours to think about the products free of the Jobs reality distortion field, I feel the ideal products are missing – an iPod Touch with 40 GB for $499 and an iPhone with 40 GB for $599. Keep selling the flash based Touch and now cheaper Flash iPhones – maybe have them be iPod and iPhone Nanos.

    Yeah I’m so nit picky. Ah well there’s always MacWorld I suppose, and I’ll just play with my Mac Mini and Lepoard in the meantime…

  9. Mitesh Rami says:

    thats the way life goes – new products launched every day – one just cant complain about that … new products offer new features

    prices will definately go down with time

  10. DaveD says:

    I think there’s a technical reason behind some of this – if you want 40GB you’re talking HDD, but if you want multi-touch you may be demanding NAND.

    Remember, the OS for the iPhone is basically in RAM nowadays… this is why you don’t get any BBoD on it, but rather a simple “back to home screen” when any app dumps.

    I might be wrong, but if you want multi-touch for now _and_ large capacity, the pricepoint might need to be higher by a few hundred $$$.

  11. Abderisak says:

    That’s a big price drop. Thanx for noticing us, personally I think the iPhone like other Apple created products are full of hype and bad user experience.
    There are several other cell phones with similiar functions to the iPhone but nobody talks about them.

    Furthermore, I seriously doubt it will generate the same amount of hype here in Europe (I live in Sweden) as it did in the states. I guess we would just have to wait and see.

  12. webomatica says:

    Hmm DaveD do you mean to say that the access time for a hard drive wouldn’t be fast enough for multitouch to be really responsive? Could be.

    Another related thought is obviously physical – Apple would have to have a thicker, different case for a hard drive iPhone or Touch, which would mean two designs – for flash based and HD storage. Obviously to keep costs down and have high volumes they likely designed one form factor for iPhone and Touch based on RAM.

    A pretty good bet because eventually flash RAM will have high capacity and be cheap enough but I guess *today* it’s not at the point where we can get a flash based iPod with 40 GB of storage for the price points of HD storage iPods of old.

    And as for iPhone being big in Europe? I have no idea. Both Europe and Asia have some pretty awesome phones so maybe the price drop would really be needed to attract any customers.

  13. Ross says:

    I would hope that the recent announcement of $100 store credit for early adopters shuts them up permanently. JC has exactly the right attitude. This kind of thing happens, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, and he wasn’t upset by it. Now as a bonus he gets $100 for “free”.

    As for the new line of iPods – until someone hacks the touch to allow for 3rd party apps to be installed, I’ve decided not to buy one.

  14. jordan says:

    this is the gay i bougth iphone 4gb a month later afterter it came out…if i knew dat in month 8gb was going to be same prise i would of waited thatz bulllshit f%$% apple!!!!!!! for the shady move im piss!!!!!!