Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sour Apples

Good news and bad news for Apple: Great quarterly sales figures, but some serious downsides to its new iPhone.

Apple notched a 78% profit last quarter, primarily from the sales 21-million iPods.
78% profit?

Where are the congressional investigations?
Where are calls for windfall profits taxation?

Apple could have a few bruises from the very sexy, sleek iPhone design—the darling of last week’s Consumer Electronics Show.

There are some significant gotcha’s on this one:

Price--$500 in an environment where you can get a pretty decent high-end phone for $50, iPhone is a prohibitively expensive proposition for all but the more affluent early-adopters. Affluent consumers do not remain that way by squandering their money.

Battery life is only 4- to 5-hours. Most phones operate for days on a single charge, and you can pop a fresh battery in whenever you need to. The iPhone’s battery life is woefully insufficient, and you cannot interchange it—it’s like those stinking 1st generation iPods that had the crummy batteries—sealed with no way to install a fresh battery. Either find a place to charge your iPhone, or find a pay phone.

Speed--When you have the juice to run the phone, it’s not going to run as fast as competitors’ products—operating on the slower 2G Cingular network, which is not as swift as the 3G offerings; and the iPhone will not use Cingular’s Media Net download system for ring tones and other data. You’ll still have to crank up your computer, wake-up your iTunes software (am I the only one whose iTunes program runs glacially slow??) , and connect your iPhone to your computer to accomplish these tasks.

So not a great product that Apple’s rolled out for the iPhone debut. Hope for a second-generation iPhone by Christmas, if not by next year’s CES. This one’s a real pig.

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