Apple as High Roller
Much yapping was made of Apple's decision to lower the price of the iPhone two days ago, then offer a $100 credit to the earliest adopters. Some questioned whether the iPhone was selling well at all, while some early adopters complained they got burned by a price drop that happened only two months after launch.
I have no interest in doing a big think piece about what this or that means, mostly because it's all masturbatory speculation, but I will mention what I think is most interesting about these last few months watching Apple.
The iPhone signifies a new strategy for Apple. They released a glut of information about the device six months before launch, obviously a smart play that built a fever pitch, but diametrically opposed to the way Apple traditionally handles product launches. They priced the iPhone at $600 knowing full well that they would be launching the iPod Touch only a couple of months later. Then Jobs took a step back and offered the $100 credit, which may or may not have been calculated—we'll never know—but is as close to a mea culpa as we've ever seen.
These aren't the moves of the stoic hits factory we all have come to know and love (and loathe). This is a company that is straining at full tilt to capitalize on their unique place in the market, working every engineer they've got to maximum capacity, juking quickly when they once would have silently taken their lumps.
Whether previous sales were a factor in the iPhone price drop is hard to say. But this is the product line-up Apple has been putting together for the last several years, right in front of a Christmas they certainly hope will be their biggest sales quarter yet, with media giants like NBC starting to really get the taste of fear in their mouths. What we're seeing now is an Apple cashing out all their stored up success and making a big play. Apple is going all in.
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