Monday, 21 January 2008

Shine comes off Apple - or Why haven't I bought an iPhone yet?

Saturday's FT front page headline screamed iPhone sales miss UK target. It was a bit 'harsh' as the body of the text said that the shortfall was just 10,000; 190,000 sold compared to a 200,000 'expectation'. That came on top of lack-lustre reviews of Steve Jobs' new product announcements at MacWorld last week. ( I must admit that was my view last week. See Nothing short of miracles will do from Jobs.) 4m iPhones sold globally since launch was also less than expected (apparently the expectation was 5m - but I've never seen this number quoted before) The MacBook Air also failed to get the usual rapturous reception. (Seeking Alpha has a quite interesting, and amusing, take on who the MacBook Air will appeal to)

This has all translated into Apple's stock performance. Apple stock has lost nearly 20% of its value this year so far - although you have to set that against a bear market where NASDAQ is down 12% in the same period.

I could repeat my Beer Syndrome discussion. But you already know that I believe that if things get really bad (and I somehow feel today we might have got to that point), however wonderful the latest gizmo is, people will not feel they have the spare cash to buy it.

But my problem with Apple is that I do have the spare cash and I haven't yet taken the plunge on any new Apple gizmo for a year now. My problem with the iPhone is that my Blackberry works 'just fine'. However much I really want an iPhone for other reasons, will it actually work as well as my trusty Blackberry? For example, where I need it some faraway country? Once I go with a new iPhone I will have to ditch my Blackberry and I'll be committed for 18 months. The same decision faces me with ditching my Panasonic Toughbook (aging as it is) in favour of a MacBook Air. I've never had to make that decision with any Apple products before. I didn't ditch my stereo when I bought an iPod. I didn't ditch my Dell PC when I bought an iMac. I didn't ditch Sky+ or my DVDs when I moved to download or show videos via my Mac.

Maybe that's the rub. Maybe Apple has already won over all the "I love this so much I don't care if my trousers fall down" kinda people. Maybe I'm just too 'belt and braces'?

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