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.
Just so everyone is clear, this is a CDMA version of the phone. You will not be able to port your AT&T phone to Verizon. If you’re looking to sell your phone to subsidize your transfer, you better list that thing today. I’d imagine we’ll see a glut of GSM iPhones hit Craigslist and eBay over the next couple days.
John Gruber at Daring Fireball has again nailed down the reason the event on Tuesday will be hosted by Verizon in New York and not Apple in California. This isn’t really an Apple event. While Apple will make a metric shit-ton of money off the deal, you can’t really ask Steve Jobs to get on stage and say, “Hey, look how magical this network is on the same phone you’ve had for six months. No no, nothing’s different about the phone. Just the network. That’s all.”
Radio Shack made an announcement this weekend that it would sell the Apple line of iPhone for $50 off the retail price, the only condition being that you’re eligible for a two-year commitment. The discount applies to all current iPhone models, so you can get the 3GS for $49.99, the 16GB iPhone 4 for $149.99, and the 32GB iPhone 4 for $249.99.
On top of that discount, Radio Shack runs a Trade & Save program that allows you to trade in 3G and 3GS models for an additional discount. The phones have to be in good working condition and can’t be unlocked.
As far as I know, this about the best deal you can manage on a new iPhone.
A few days back I wrote about the impetus for a Verizon iPhone launch in early 2011, mostly citing John Gruber from Daring Fireball. NPD just gave us a little information that could very well serve as more evidence of the impending release. The iOS market is actually shrinking, while Android is exploding. You don’t have to be a genius to see how a Verizon iPhone could change that, or at least help Apple’s position.
It’s not that Apple isn’t doing well – its market cap proves that it is – but Android is on so many more handsets now. From Peter Kafka at AllThingsD:
So how did Android gain share? Because it’s on so many other new phones. Canned quote from NPD’s Ross Rubin: “The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide.”
It had been a long time since I heard any word about the white iPhone 4; in all honesty, I had forgotten about it. A story popped up at Pocket Lint that not only reminded me of the other model’s existence, but shed some light on the delay.
Apparently, the guys at Pocket Lint were at a press event in NYC and noticed an attendee carrying the much-coveted white iPhone 4. After snapping a few discrete photos, PL asked how he got it.
As it turns out, the guy has a friend at Infinite Loop, which is reportedly loaded with white models of the latest iPhone. They aren’t shipping, though, because the home button doesn’t match the white of the case. Apple is waiting until manufacturers can match the white button to the case.
If anything, I’m only surprised that the process is taking so long. Then again, Apple may be focused on some other hardware issues. Verizon iPhone, anyone?
If you’re even marginally creative, you know how easy it is to create your own ringtones for the iPhone. My own phone currently has a few custom ringers in it, including short clips from songs like “Consolers of the Lonely” by The Raconteurs and “Telephone Line” by ELO (it’s corny, I know). But there is no solace for those of us who are sick of the Tri-Tone SMS alert. Not yet, anyway.
It looks like iOS 4.2 should bring more options for your SMS alerts. Unfortunately, they are both long and horribly annoying. As the video at Gizmodo shows, they have names like “Calypso” and “Noir” and tend to be little mini songs. Keep in mind, this is for a text message, not your ringer. I don’t even text that much, but when I do it’s usually a back and forth of about four messages. Having one of those go off more than once in a five minute period would be enough to make me scream.
It seems like I get asked this question nearly every time a tech challenged person sees that I have an iPhone. “Do you have that app that lets you look stuff up by taking pictures of it?” The first few times it took a while to figure out what the inquirer meant. Now, I answer before the sentence is done – Google Goggles? Sadly, no.
It’s not that I want GG all that badly. From a functionality standpoint, it’s not all that great. It does have great wow factor, though, so I was thrilled to find out that the camera-powered search would be coming to the iPhone this year. The app has been Android-only since release, but Google will be developing a proprietary app for the iPhone, not just some crappy port.
Apple’s advertising for FaceTime is already being lauded as some of the best ad video the world has ever seen. It’s personal, evocative, and total bullshit. I think we all know that working with technology is rarely as smooth as those FaceTime ads make it out to be. For that reason, I bring you this video, courtesy of Funny or Die. This is what FaceTime is really like.
There’s no doubt that the iPhone 4 launch was one of Apple’s sloppiest hardware launches to date. The antenna issue was definitely the worst PR we’ve seen from Cupertino and yet, somehow, the iPhone continues to blow through millions of models. After all that, Apple’s finally made an inside move, a sort of quiet omission of guilt despite its protestations over the last several months.
Mark Papermaster, the exec at the helm of iPhone hardware, has left Apple. There’s no word on whether he was given the boot or left of his own accord. His departure is a bit coincidental for me to believe that, whoever initiated his departure, it wasn’t all related to the antenna issue. When consumers are making joke band-aids and “End Call” stickers to fix your missteps, you can bet someone’s head will roll.
As you might imagine, Papermaster declined to comment.