FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 10, 2007
IPhone price cut: iRate owners, iSorry Apple
Have students examine ads for other products that will soon drop in price or continue dropping in price: Hi-def televisions, personal dvd players, other cell phones come to mind, for example.
Should you buy now or should you wait? The question always leaps to mind when shopping for high-tech gadgets, real estate and even cars. Have students find consumer stories that deal with the issue.
Compare cell-phone prices and plans from ads in the paper and determine which might be the best buy today. How do the rates compare with Apple's iPhone. What do students say makes the iPhone so special that people would pay such a high premium? Based on the ads found, which phone would they buy if they had the money?
Just 10 weeks after the launch of its iPhone, Apple Computer announced last week it was slashing the cost of the year's most coveted gadget to $399. Suddenly people who had rushed to buy the Apple iPhone over the last two months embarrassingly found that they had overpaid by $200 for the joy of being first .
Being an early buyer of new technology always carries a price. Prices drop as electronics components get cheaper over time, improvements make first models obsolete, features don't always work right as bugs surface and are fixed in later models.
But the 33 percent price cut coming so soon was unusual since, according to consultancy iSuppli, the iPhone was the best-selling smartphone in the U.S. in July after its June debut. Irate early adopters quickly turned to Internet Blogs and Forums to vent their anger and flooded Apple and CEO Steve Jobs with hundreds of emails.
Responding to the backlash a day later, Jobs acknowledged that the company had abused its core customers' trust and extended a $100 store credit to the early iPhone buyers.
What early adopters said: "I was stunned. I felt completely taken advantage of. I'm not sorry I paid about $600 for an iPhone. But I am sorry I paid $600 for what's really a $400 phone." -- Andy Weiss of Huntington Beach, Calif.
"I just felt so used as a consumer. They hyped up the iPhone for six months and built up our expectations, and then they grabbed our extra $200 and ran." -- Kevin Tofel, a blogger in Telford, Pa.
What Jobs said when he cut the price: Jobs initially defended the price cut as the right thing to do and lectured his readers about the risks and rewards of buying into a fast-changing and volatile market for consumer technology products. "This is life in the technology lane," he wrote. "If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new, improved model, you'll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon."
What Jobs said a day later: "Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these," Jobs wrote in a subsequent letter posted on Apple's Web site. "We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple."
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