Was The iPhone Over-Hyped?

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on July 25, 2007

News that early sales of iPhone didn’t meet expectations doesn’t come as a surprise to me. I realized over the weekend that I haven’t seen any iPhones anywhere. Now I haven’t traveled much so this means anywhere on the streets of New York and eastern Long Island, but still. I heard about that story of an iPhone getting run over and still working from a woman in her early 20’s, but she had just bought an LG or Samsung cell that day and had given another to her mother.

So what’s up? Where are the iPhones given the extraordinary marketing of them by Apple? Maybe there are tons of them on the streets of San Francisco and Chicago. Please let me know if that’s the case. But if there aren’t maybe the reason for the paucity of iPhones is that most of the working people in the East are addicted to their TREOs and Blackberries—they need to be plugged in to email for their work and friends. As we all know by now, the iPhone isn’t corporate-ready yet. This is a really big reasons why working people are buying them. Once this changes and we can all plug right in, I believe the iPhones will be all over Wall Street, Madison Avenue and East Hampton. But not yet.

Also, a lot of my techie buddies are really disappointed in the web-access of the iPhone. So slow. So inadequate. That disappointment, I believe, is seeping into the first-adopter culture. One guy (sure, a guy) said his experience was “a bummer.” He’s telling his friends to wait until a 3G version comes out and you’ll be able to really play on the web.

I dunno. I was able to play with the iPhone months ago and it blew me away. So different, so intuitive. I was bothered by the lack of a physical keyboard, since I do a lot of emailing and texting. I couldn’t quite get my fingers right on the screen for the few minutes I had the iPhonei my hand. So check out David Armano’s visualization of an iPhone with a querty keyboard at his blog. It’s democratic design at its best.

Yet the hype over the launch may have been too much, given the limitations of the first phase phone.

Investment bankers are masters at under-pricing and under-promising stock offerings so that they pop when they hit the market. The opposite may had happened with the iPhone. Did Apple promise too much? Was the marketing too hot?

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Reader Comments

jens

July 25, 2007 01:40 PM

NEVER TRUST THE HYPE.
marketing was great. - can there be a better one? - there is so much goodwill out there in the market and networks have been fighting fiercely to become apple's partner in that venture. nobody will let the iPhone down now.
but - of course - the iPhone is stuck with the touch screen display (isn't it?). the lack of tactile navigation alone limits the device to certain markets only. european nightlife and party culture - to name just one segment - demands a phone that does not need the sterile and controlled environment of a computer workplace . the product is a very geeky and clean thing and in this way i guess it will be its own worst enemy.

Brad

July 25, 2007 01:58 PM

I don't think it was over-hyped for reasons I mentioned here when the iPhone was first announced: http://bradbonham.com/article/14/apple-changed-everything. Steve Jobs realizes the iPhone is game changing. It's not corporate ready yet -- so what? The first iPod wasn't even PC ready.

I never thought the iPod was a great idea, but now I have one. It's only a matter of time until Apple makes the necessary adjustments needed to get the early majority on board. I don't think 3G and Outlook data syncing are going to stand in its way.

The better question is, what are Palm and RIM doing in the mean time to ensure they're still in the game 2 years from now?

David Armano

July 25, 2007 03:10 PM

I LOVE the iPhone (once I got my hands on one). I actually think it lives up to much of the hype. But it's not perfect. In addition to being business ready—maybe those wall street types still want a tactile keyboard in addition to a slick multi-touch interface. If that's the case, they'll have to wait for a "myPhone". :)

http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2007/07/introducing-the.html

Viswakarma

July 25, 2007 03:12 PM

May I request you to read the following articles on iPhone at --

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q3.07/RDM.Tech.Q3.07.html

jens

July 25, 2007 03:51 PM

on the same note: even if after the daring launch the iPhone does not take off as expected, it will hardly harm apple's reputation.
we have all seen jobs win almost too often in recent years... and before he gets too slick and too smug it will be nice to see him fighting again.
come what may. apple is perfectly positioned.
apple is a company that conquered hearts by growing through challenges. -- if the iPhone turns out to be the company's next challenge... -- so what?

Christian Jung

July 25, 2007 05:01 PM

i also had a keyboard iPhone here
http://www.cjung.info/wordpress/?p=114

Marcos

July 25, 2007 06:07 PM

I continue to enjoy people like jens who continue to talk about a "keyboard" that does work and has been proven to work very reliably. On the numbers thing... The figures ATT released were for the first 30 hours of sales. From my talk with customer service reps on activation day new accounts were easy to activate but anything that was being transferred from another service provider could take very long. I called for activation at about 8 pm on the 29th and she told me that transferring was so backed up that it could take between 3 and 5 days to activate. None of these phones could have made it into ATTs activation numbers.

Brian Bauer

July 25, 2007 06:34 PM

WHO HYPED THE IPHONE?
Not Apple.
-1 (widely anticipated) announcement at a developer convention

-5 30-second TV ads

-a handful of press releases


The press and the blogs did it for Apple. Billions of dollars of advertising for free. That's not hype -- that's hope that Apple will free us from our current cell phone hell.

So much hope has been projected onto this little device that it couldn't possibly live up to to our totally unrealistic collective aspirations for it.

No wonder so much of the bitching about the iPhone has a pathological, out-of-proportion aspect. It's not perfect!

Jeff Williams

July 25, 2007 06:47 PM

I see people with iPhones on the street every day.

Louis Wheeler

July 26, 2007 02:01 AM

The iPhone is different-- very different. We are still not sure if this will be an advantage or not. I noticed no hype from Apple.


I noticed a Media frenzy, because Apple was giving out too few press releases. It wasn't until a few days before the launch that we knew what AT&T's service contract would cost. Apple never said how many iPhones that it expected to sell. It was the commentators who blew that out of proportion.

I discount most of the negative comments, because they are from people who have been won over by the iPhone's competitors, years ago. If you like a Blackberry or Treo, then it is unlikely that you will appreciate the iPhone. You will never take the time to learn it. I have heard reports from people that they were texting messages on a iPhone faster within a week than with a physical keyboard. If you never give the iPhone a week, then you will never know.

I suspect that the iPhone's buyers will be from people who would never own a Smart Phone because they are too hard to use. Since 90% of mobile phones are the, almost free, Feature Phones, then Apple has a huge group to draw from, much as it did on the iPod. Most iPod owners say that they never had an MP3 music player before.

So, as people's mobile phone contracts lapse they will consider an iPhone, because it is normal to buy a new phone then. The costs of an iPhone are comparable or better than Smart Phones. You pay a little more up-front, but the service contract is cheaper ($60 vs $80 to $100 a month.) Hence, a Motorola "Q" costs $150 more than the iPhone over the life of the contract. And the "Q" is nothing compared to iPhone in looks, functions and service.

Apple will be periodically upgrading the software. Many improvements are slated in October when Leopard 10.5 comes to the Mac. A new CalDAV calendaring system will be issued then. It will, likely, be upgraded on the iPhone.

Businesses will adjust to the iPhone: the Blackberry was reputed to have been much harder to integrate into the corporate systems.

Rupa Chaturvedi

July 30, 2007 06:15 PM

Utilizing the touch screen technology was certainly an innovative idea, but I agree with Bruce on the lack of thought for people who are addicted to email and text messaging. Remember Sony's Clie?

Perhaps a Stylus would have helped? Perhaps the iPhone is not meant for business users? Apple might need to make their interface and software far more intuitive to compensate for lack of a more convenient input interface.

I understand that one has to send back the iPhone to Apple for changing the batteries or sim card. They didn't expect you to travel internationally with your phone did they?

I guess good marketing but lack of some widely accepted/expected features should not be mistaken for hype?

guinevere harrison

July 30, 2007 10:12 PM

"Where are the iPhones given the extraordinary marketing of them by Apple? Maybe there are tons of them on the streets of San Francisco and Chicago..."


I can't speak for Chicago, but yes, there are tons of iPhones on the streets of San Francisco. The first weekend the phones were released, three different people in the group I was out drinking with had them out on the bar (granted, they were programmers). But the next week my stylish 30-year-old friend pulled one out of her purse at happy hour, and the designers sitting directly to my left and right at work each have one (so does the tech guy downstairs).

Wall Street may not yet be on board, but SF is the capital of geek chic and the iPhone is the accessory du jour.

David

April 21, 2008 03:42 AM

There has been an incredible amount of hype around the iPhone. Fans point to the fact that 3 million iPhones were sold in 2007. While that is music to uninformed ears, it pales when you know that almost 1.2 billion cell phones were sold last year. Nokia sold over 435 million units alone.

I use a Blackberry for business. The other problem with the iPhone is lack of proper security. Talk to your IT guy at work. No physical keyboard and slow slow slow internet will prevent it from crossing the corporate threshold in any major way. Don't even get me started on the soldered battery. The lack of a user swappable battery alone depicts Apple's sheer arrogance.

HR_violation

September 25, 2009 05:10 AM

Had a nice laugh reading this article over 2 years after the fact. Just goes to show how much people really don't know.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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