Instapaper sales show slow Verizon iPhone adoption from new customers

Verizon iPhone launch

There was such a clamor leading up to the Verizon iPhone launch that you’d think it would be the only thing the world is talking about. Instead, it’s been pretty quiet since the launch, which has everyone wondering, how good was the launch?

If you see things how Marco Arment, founder of the popular Instapaper app for multiple mobile platforms, the Verizon iPhone is selling mostly to existing iPhone customers. Arment used the sales of his own application, which are historically fairly steady, to analyze the current level of Verizon iPhone sales.

Here are the basics from his blog:

Since my ranks rarely change significantly, the resulting sales volumes seem to track the entire App Store’s volume. In other words, since my rank is held mostly constant, but my sales vary, it’s reasonable to extrapolate that trends in my sales indicate approximate trends in the entire App Store market.

The results are fairly obvious: I see huge spikes whenever there’s a new iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad released, whenever they become available in a major new country, or whenever there’s a major reason for people to buy a lot of them (like the holidays).

Arment hasn’t seen any spikes surrounding the Verizon iPhone release, though. In fact, things have been surprisingly moderate. Arment’s own theory about slow adaptation among Verizon customers seems spot on to me. He thinks most of early adapters are the hardcore smartphone nerds. These are the people that wait in lines and stay up until 3AM to pre-order. These are people who put up with AT&T just so they could have the iPhone.

The next wave of iPhone owners are the casuals – people who have seen the phone and liked it but aren’t in any real hurry to buy one. Casual users always take longer to adapt new tech and the Verizon iPhone won’t likely be an exception.

The high cost of American tech consumption

Unconscious Consumption.

This week I put together an article about the recent fee changes to Apple’s App Store subscriptions policies. If you haven’t been keeping up, Apple changed the way the App Store handles subscriptions this week so that the company will take a 30 percent cut. It also included some stipulations that will make it very difficult for content providers to get iPhone subscribers through means other than the App Store, virtually forcing the 30 percent fee upon third party content providers.

The news reminded me of the ways American corporations gouge consumers on tech. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

While we’re talking about cellular service, why not talk about our cellular plans? You’ve no doubt heard that texting fees are a total ripoff, but let me remind just how bad things are. SMS messages are nothing more than data – tiny bits of data at that – sent along their own control channel in the wireless spectrum. That same control is used, on many networks, to tell your phone that it has service. Do you see where this is going? Let me use a simple analogy. Let’s say my friend Joe sends me a letter every day to let me know he is still alive. One day, he starts writing personal messages at the bottom of the letter, things like “lol y u so funny,” but for adding that personal message, an insignificant amount of ink on a letter he was sending anyway, the post office charges him 20 cents for sending it and charges me 10 cents for receiving it. SMS transmission costs the carriers almost nothing, but they’ll charge me $20 a month for unlimited nothing. That little tirade of mine doesn’t even address the fact that I’m paying for an unlimited data plan, yet I’m getting charged again for sending miniscule amounts of data in a text.

If you think it’s like this everywhere, think again. A 2009 study by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that Americans pay more for cellular service than any of the 30 member countries it surveyed. For an average, medium-use package – 780 voice minutes, 600 text messages, 8 multimedia messages – Americans paid an average of $53 a month. Consumers in the Netherlands paid $11.

It doesn’t stop at cell service, either. To read more about our tech expenditures, head over to the Bullz-Eye gadgets channel.

Speakal iPig: Impressive sound quality in a cute package

Shopping for a gift for Valentine’s Day can be a challenge if you’ve been with the same person for a long time. Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries add up, and it can sometimes feel like you’ve given that special someone everything they could possibly want. That’s obviously not the case, but if you’re completely out of ideas, you might want to consider Speakal’s iPig docking station for the iPod, which delivers surprisingly great sound in the shape of a bulbous little pig.

Available in pink, yellow, white and black, the iPig might look like something you’d pick up at the toy store, but it’s actually a pretty impressive piece of machinery – something you’ll quickly realize upon feeling the weight and durability of the system. The docking station can be used with any Apple iPod (there are six cradle pieces to choose from, but it even works without one attached) and though your iPhone will try telling you it’s not compatible, it actually is.

The system itself boasts five speakers with a total output of 25-plus Watts, including a 4-inch subwoofer on the bottom of the unit, two speakers on the front that double as the pig’s eyes, and two more underneath its ears. The ears also happen to include the docking station’s coolest feature: touch activated volume control that works better than I could have possibly imagined. Additionally, there’s a handy remote for all of the other controls like play/pause, fast forward/rewind, and bass and treble level adjustment, and you can connect the speaker to a TV or gaming console using the 3.5mm AUX input jack in the back.

Oh yeah, and not only does this speaker get loud (so loud, in fact, that I didn’t dare test to see how high the volume would go at the risk of blowing out my eardrums), but it doesn’t appear to lose any quality as a result. Granted, the cutesy pig design pretty much guarantees that no guy would want to purchase such a speaker system for himself, but between its impressive sound and portable, compact size, the Speakal iPig would make the perfect gift for that gadget-crazy lady in your life.

Verizon iPhone could cause Android and Blackberry exodus

Verizon iPhone.

We’re just three days from the official Verizon iPhone launch. This could be the biggest tech day of the year, but not just because it’s a Verizon iPhone. According to a recent survey, the release could mean millions of users abandoning the Android and Blackberry platforms.

According to uSamp, a research firm in LA, 66 percent of RIM customers labeled themselves either ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to switch to the iPhone. For Android customers, it was 44 percent for either somewhat or very likely. Granted, those aren’t a guaranteed switch, but it’s certainly more people than I expected. Those kind of numbers would mark huge losses for both Google and RIM, though I’d guess RIM would come away in worse shape than Google.

Source: CNN