Thoughts from this week's Apple iPod keynote event

September 10, 2007

Just watched this week’s keynote about iPods. There were a few interesting things there beyond the iPhone price drop.

First, iPod Touch will be available globally for this holiday season, differently from iPhone whose distribution plans and timing remains unclear. Something tells me that iPhone won’t make it to Europe this year after all. (No info, just a hunch.) So all my friends outside US can now go and get this Touch thing if you don’t care too much about the phone part. Here are the apps the Touch doesn’t have that iPhone has: phone calls SMS, camera, Dashboard-like widgets (stocks, weather), notes, Google Maps, e-mail. All the rest should be same in the two, as the Touch also has wifi and Safari. Plus it will have 16G of storage on the largest model, vs iPhone’s 8G.

Secondly, iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store in Starbucks. You walk into Starbucks and can see what song is playing there and can then buy it right away – or also see a list of recent songs. I like this, as it’s another example of “intelligent spaces” that you can interact with using your own gadgets, without having to disturb other people e.g to ask what song is playing. They say it takes a while to roll out, starting later this year and going all the way through ‘08 in the US (no word yet about rest-of-world).

I’m not too sure about this price drop thing. I.e dropping price of iPhone from $599 to $399 and then writing a contradictory apologetic letter to previous customers. As the letter says itself, this sort of premium pricing on initial release and later lowering of price is common in the industry. Apple itself has pretty much always done it previously with new products and got away with it just fine. They say they got hundreds of emails, but they must get similar ones for every new product. So, if you want to rephrase this, all the conditions are the same as before, i.e new product being released with premium pricing with a later price drop, but something must have changed in the marketplace because this sort of rebate hasn’t been done too much before (only with Aperture – but the first version of it was crap, they say, differently from iPhone whose first version is perfectly usable).

I don’t know what’s going on here, and I don’t want to speculate myself at this time. But other people have posted interesting speculation which says that the whole thing including the rebate may have been pre-orchestrated and planned. Sounds cynical? I don’t know. Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t. One thing that I can say from personal experience, though, is that much fewer things are pre-orchestrated than it seems. Often, things are just a random sequence of haphazard events, but looking back at them, it sort of clicks together and looks like it was all planned and executed from the beginning to end with a master plan.

One thing is for sure, though – I’m myself one of those early iPhone customers and since they’ve promised me $100, I’m going to stand by and see how I receive it. It’s going to be interesting to see how they execute it and how convenient it is for me to actually get the $100 credit. Even though it’s only for future Apple purchases, that’s fine as I’ll be buying a lot from them anyway.