As everyone out there knows, the #1 place for Shakespeare combined with Apple Rumors is Apple Recon. Now allow us to go a bit further, quoting the bard:
“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”
(in other words, make a whole ton of money and be hated for it)
“Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them.”
(or fight the good fight and change the world)
That seems to be an appropriate quote for the situation Apple is in with the iPhone…and their choice…both!
First, Apple will recoup the marketing and R&D costs by selling them for $499 and $599…or actually, and here’s the thing folks, do you seriously think Cingular/AT&T is NOT giving Apple another couple hundred bucks on top of that for each one? Consider that the cell phone companies average $100 in subsidy for each year you buy a phone (in other words, a $200 phone becomes “free” with a two year contract, because Cingular/AT&T buys it from Motorola or Nokia or whoever for you). So, as Apple has always done in the past, and knows better than anyone, for the first few months they’re gonna sell as many as they can make, regardless of the price, to the Apple faithful. Say that Apple is getting $600 and $700 per phone wholesale from Cingular, they are making a steal considering iSuppli estimates they’ll cost around $250-275 for Apple to build. So indeed, they will suffer some slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as the world (or at least the United States) complains that it is too expensive…but Apple doesn’t care for now, as they will still make lots of money (just like they did on the original iPod, which the world also said was too expensive).
Lots more after the break, keep reading…
Then, after Apple’s made a truckload of benjamins from the iPhone, it’ll be time to go for the long haul and really turn up the heat on the cell phone companies…aka take up the good fight, or oppose and end the control of Cingular/AT&T and all their friends (T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, etc.)…that will be by dropping the price ($299, anyone?) and unlocking it so it can be used on anyone’s network (well, as long as they’re GSM)…or better yet, with a SIM card that you can buy anywhere and pop in, just like in Europe. Now we’ve read the arguments that this won’t happen because of data networks and lock-in, but frankly, in another year or two with WiMAX on the horizon, data networks aren’t going to matter much. In fact, to really strike to the heart, iPhone will be fully VOIP capable by then, too, so you won’t even need a stinkin’ cellular network most places you go!
All around the web, pundits are back and forth on whether it will be Cingular forever or Cingular is just a temporary marriage of convenience. You really have to study the Cringely piece to see what makes sense about the iPhone…the writing is on the wall, Steve himself said it is coming to Europe. Once the iPhone arrives in Europe, knowing the way of the world there (unlocked phones, SIM cards sold at every convenience store you walk into, from vending machines, and given away like food samples at Costco), the true iPhone beauty will begin to shine…
Soon after Europe gets it, that beauty will be brought back to the states, and Apple will be ready to capitalize on it. Heck with $11.9 billion in the bank today, and probably another $1.5 billion in profit from the first few months of iPhone sales (presume $300 net profit per phone x 5 million phones sold is $1.5 billion right there), Apple could take a page from the XBOX and PS3 and sell some VOIP iPhones at a loss, and still come out way ahead! Why would you sell them at a loss? To change the world (which is what Apple likes to do), but better yet, to dominate yet another market, upsell games, content from iTunes, unlocked SIM cards with bulk wireless minutes, etc.
So, in summary, yet another thing you won’t find from the other guys, long-term thinking on how the iPhone is going to be a game changer, just like Steve said at the keynote (the other two were the Mac and the iPod)…it’s not about Cingular/AT&T, that is all just a marriage of convenience…the long term plan is much, MUCH bigger.
Can you Digg it?!?