The iPhone is Going to Bomb

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Update: According to Smithereens, the Apple is apparently pissed at Rogers for coming out with such high data rates. As a result, it’s reducing the number of iPhones coming into Canada, and sending some of them to Europe. For more, check out Tony Hung and the Boy Genius Report.

As well, Michael Geist has a column in the Toronto Star looking at the “three locks” on the iPhone in Canada: the three-year contract, the inability to unlock the iPhone from Rogers, and the proposed Bill C-61 (aka Canada’s DMCA), which could make it illegal to unlock anything that is locked by the service provider/producer maker.

Now back to our regular programming….

I could be wrong but…it’s hard not to get the distinct feeling the iPhone is going to be a dud in Canada.

With Rogers’ decision to take a conservative approach to pricing and its failure to offer an unlimited data plan, the hype surrounding the iPhone’s much-anticipated launch north of the border is quickly evaporating.

It’s like looking forward to a great party, only to realize the host has bought a few buckets of KFC and a case of Labatt Blue, and wants to play the best of the Bread and the Carpenters.

Case in point is an Apple aficionado who told me yesterday he had been stoked about getting an iPhone before seeing the cost of Rogers’ packages. Instead, he’s going to hang on to his iPod Touch.

I’ve been bullish on the Touch vs. the iPhone, and it’s something that could really resonate with Canadians because the Touch will give consumers the iPhone experience (minus the phone) without the $3600 whack to the wallet over the three-year contract required by Rogers.

Despite all the negative publicity being heaped upon Rogers, there is little doubt Apple and Rogers stores will be busy on July 11. P.T. Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute”, and there are always people more than willing to pay a premium to be among the first to have something to show off. (Note: Engadget reports that there’s already a line-up outside the Apple store in New York even though the new iPhone won’t be available for a week. Craziness!)

But once the initial euphoria evaporates, the iPhone could be a major disappointment UNLESS a miracle happens and Rogers decide to “adjust” its prices.

In the meantime, Rogers’ rivals are looking to capitalize on Rogers’ stumbles. Bell, for example, has is offering the Samsung Instinct for $14.95/month with a $10/month unlimited data plan.

Now, whether or not anyone really wants an Instinct (Gizmodo describes it as “a decent iPhone competitor) is left to be seen but if Bell can offer a low-cost unlimited data plan, why can’t Rogers be a little less ARPU hungry?

One more thought: I’m surprised by how ineffectively Rogers has handled the uproar over its iPhone packages. A Rogers spokesperson has been talking to the media but she comes across as defensive. It’s like Rogers has adopted Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope technique by letting consumers bash away until they get tired.

As well: The Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro has a review on the Samsung Instinct. His take:

“Like many phones, the Instinct looks much better than it works…..A phone like the Instinct can be a fair compromise for people looking to use a smartphone for entertainment, not productivity. It provides some of the things you might have hoped to get in an iPhone and does so with more flair than a BlackBerry, Palm or Windows Mobile phone. That’s no ringing endorsement, but it is what can pass for progress in the wireless market.”

Image credit: The iPhone Blog

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  • Jevon

    This is NOT unlimited data, it is unlimited browsing. Put on your own GPS Maps app and you will find out quickly.

    The n95 from Rogers is a more competitive offering against the iphone that this thing from Bell. They are just trying to get some iphone-backlash-fed press with this, but are just being incremental in their offering (they offered the HTC Touch with unlimited browsing for 7$, that is 3$ cheaper, a long time ago)– they haven’t used this opportunity to get creative in any way.

  • Todd

    Its funny, people I know who were going to get the iPhone have now backtracked since seeing the costs. I can’t understand why people would want to spend the money on the phone when the Touch does pretty much the same, minus the camera and phone of course.

  • Ted

    I hope that people crying about the prices will remember the cornerstone of consumerism: “If it’s crap, don’t buy it!” (and by “it” I mean the pricing, not the iPhone). But I fear that Mark is right – the stores will be packed with iPosuers.

  • Erik

    Its not going to bomb, but the over hyped product is going to disappoint and confuse our little Canadian brains into wondering what all that fuss was about in the states…
    I was so pumped to buy a legit iPhone but theres no way I’m getting a 400 mb data plan for something like 50 extra bucks on top of an already high plan.

    F U Mr. Rogers.

  • Kevin David

    Thanks for this. I for one decided not to buy the iPhone once I saw the prices. That’s why I have not gotten a new phone through Rogers (and have been out of contract for some time much to the dismay of Rogers). That way I could bolt to a new provider with much more reasonable rates. Sure I would give up the iPhone, but I’d rather save money.

  • George

    I have an iPhone so not in a rush at all. I am concerned that there are a lot of people out there who are not on these forums or blogs who will go out and buy the iPhone on the 11th, thinking that 300MB is a great plan, so Rogers will think their strategy is working.

    As well, I can forsee a nightmare in the Rogers stores on the 11th. People who are already Rogers/Fido customers trying to adjust their current plans with the iPhone purchase and activation process it will be a nightmare!

  • Kimberly

    The coming of the iPhone has been hyped up in Canada since its introduction into the market last year. And to many people the built up anticipation over the last few months has come as a big let down? Is this really that surprising? Come on! I think we all knew, WAY deep down inside, there would be a catch, a very expensive one of course.

    Whether the iPhone will be a bomb or not… that’s yet to be determined. I’m sure analysts and tech people will be following the iPhone’s Canadian development in the coming weeks.

    In the end, I think it comes down to exclusivity – we always want what we can’t have. Right?

  • techcafe

    canadians are being raped & gouged by mobile phone providers… and we gladly bend-over and get shafted by the thieving bastards.

    as for the iphone, it’s just useless gadgetry, and the (voice) call quality is mediocre. just an over-rated and expensive toy.

    a basic nokia or motorola is all anybody needs… to make PHONE calls.

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  • Jim Courtney

    I agree re the iPod Touch. It’s all the features less a phone; yet it still works over WiFi. But I would wait until there is an iPod Touch with GPS and a microphone. Set up a WiFi access point at your home and office and you’re off.

    GPS may also need to await a navigation program with onboard data — as you get with Garmin’s offering for the Blackberry. But then you don’t need to download map data as you travel.

    My $0.02.

  • Mark Evans

    @ Kimberly You’re right in that we love shiny, new things even if it makes no sense in terms of price, how long we’re willing to line-up, etc. Lots of people will get an iPhone simply because it’s new and not everyone has one.


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