Monday, July 14, 2008

Apple iPhone 3G: iPocalypse or Not So Bad Given the Hype?

Sure, there were problems. They were to be expected with so much hype and so many wanting to upgrade at the same time. The headlines in the blogosphere was 'iPocalypse Now.' Clearly, those that wanted their hands on the new phone on Friday were frustrated and irritated. I do not know if the fault lies with AT&T or Apple or both but in any co-created and co-delivered new product launch, it does not matter. Both are responsible for the fiasco. Nothing is gained by each party blaming the other.
But, on balance I say that it is a minor fiasco for a simultaneous global product launch. I do not have one yet but will get one later this week when the hype is settled down. But, if you are tracking Apple's strategy, the early indicators are upbeat and promising--Apple sold 1 million units over the week-end. Steve Jobs said that:
iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend... It took 74 days to sell the first 1 million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world.

--
What other indicators to track?
1. Percentage of current iPhone owners converting to 3G within the first month (strength of customer loyalty)
2. Number of applications (free versus fee) downloaded from the appstore within the first month (breadth of complementary network effects)
3. Number of new customers switching from other carriers to Apple 3G locally in the USA and globally (depth of positive churn).
4. Number of Enterprises that officially embrace Apple iPhone beyond the early endorsers such as Disney (degree of inroads into new markets).
--
We can add many more to the above list. To me these four indicators provide good insights into how far Apple may go in dominating the mobile phone sector. It has clearly captured the imagination of many but the real question is--will it be as widely successful and as pervasive globally as its iPod? I think Apple is off to a good start.

7 comments:

Jeremy Burlingame said...

Something alluded to in your list of 4 indicators is marketshare. I believe I read that the iphone has a 23% market share in smart phones in the 1st year.

Additionally, it will be interesting to see how commonplace touch screens are in the coming year. If RIM makes the leap to a touchscreen phone, it would signal an attempt to prevent an exodus from their product line.

A major limiter to the iphone's success is cost of the plan and the complexity of it as well.

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