Ah, Seeking Alpha’s Todd Sullivan. It’s appropriate that your head shot shows you standing in a forest which you likely cannot see for all those damn trees.

The iPhone: Apple’s First Flop

Apple’s first flop? Wow, you really are quite the student of Apple, aren’t you. The Macalope is sure we’re going to be treated to some top-notch analysis.

I do not want to have to turn off my music to get a phone call.

“I do not want to be able to hear the people I’m talking to.”

Well, OK. Seems a little strange to the Macalope, but different strokes for different folks. (Note to Sullivan: the iPhone automagically lowers the music volume when you get a call.)

If I am driving my family in my car and we are listening to the iPod, having to turn off the music to answer my phone becomes a major hassle.


You want to listen to music while you’re talking on the phone while you’re driving your family down the highway.

Well, Mr. Father of the Year, please tell the Macalope where you live so he can make sure to never, ever drive around there.

All of have cell phone agreements [sic] and have a cancellation fee. This varies from $100 to $150 dollars. This price need to be added to the costs of the iPhone for those who want it right away or it will cause a lag in initial sales. This lag will allow cell competitors to create their own, cheaper versions to compete, hurting future sales.

It needs to be added to the cost for those who aren’t already Cingular customers who feel compelled to switch to the iPhone right when it comes out. Which is one of the reasons Apple went with the largest carrier.

A $599 phone will not gain mass acceptance no matter what it does…

Like a monkey typing on a keyboard, you’ve finally typed something that’s true.

…especially when people can still get its functionality from their existing devices.

Yes, the price sensitive people will continue to buy a cheap phone and an iPod shuffle and call it good. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole other group of people who want one device and are willing to pay for it. Is the latter group as large as the former? Certainly not. But that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Give us a 2GB capacity so we can put our favorite stuff on it and listen when we want, cut the price to $299 and you may have something.

Todd, keep your pants on. iPhone nano. 2008.

You know, maybe the iPhone isn’t for you. The Macalope himself is not a Mac mini guy. That doesn’t mean he can’t see that it has value to a great many people.

Also, the exclusive deal with AT&T Inc. (T) was not a very bright idea.

So says you.

Well, dear reader, never fear. The Macalope has a lovely tonic for Sullivan’s jungle fever that addresses that very issue.

Why Apple’s iPhone Is Not The Next iPod.

Additionally, Apple has limited itself by committing to Cingular, which has a customer base of about 60 million. It is notable that 55 per cent of those polled in the ChangeWave survey expressed satisfaction with their existing cell phones — indicating no intention of switching networks.

[Macworld editorial director Jason] Snell points out that that doesn’t necessarily mean Apple made a mistake however. It would have been impractical for the company to try to launch the iPhone independent of an established service provider. Had it done so, Jobs and his team would be faced with creating different versions of the phone to fit the capabilities and structures of different networks.


And Sullivan, in his rush to apply the flawed “all-in-one” analogy, fails to point out the ground-breaking benefits of the iPhone as a platform.

“What the iPhone potentially does promise is to make the features that most people don’t use on their phones — web browsing, more advanced kinds of messaging, email, music playback, etc — far easier to use,” states [Macworld’s Chris] Breen.

Quite so. It seems like some people might actually pay for having that functionality actually be usable.

It might help you find your way out of the woods.

  • Too bad some people just don’t get it.

    On a somewhat related note, back in January I read a nice little proposal for a $249 iPhone. Personally I think I’d rather go all-or-nothing.

  • swift:

    “Ah, Seeking Alpha’s Todd Sullivan.”

    I think that 247wallst.com’s Todd Sullivan is only submitting stuff to Seeking Alpha, like Blackfriars’ Carl Howe, Barron’s Eric Savitz, etc.


  • John Muir:

    Some people just don’t get anything. Some of those are proud members of the Anti Apple Vanguard. Their motto seems to be: “daaa dum DAAAA WE’RE NOT LISTENING daa dumm deee”. Diff’rent strokes indeed.

    So, if the Macalope does not use the diminutive Mac Mini — a model of which I am myself a fond user — could he let us in on what does actually do for an anthropomorphised mythical Mac using beast? 😉

  • monkyhead:

    Cube finally declared a success!

    I’m gonna go log on to eWorld and get me an eMate and a Pippin!

  • Even if the iPhone isn’t as super great as it appears to be on paper, I’ll get it if it manages to fix a few other problems that are driving me mad. Mainly syncing.

    Syncing right now tends to be a “delete everything on one device” or “duplicate everything on one device” process. Even if it works for a while eventually all my data is screwed up. So far iTunes/iPod have very seldom come close to screwing up my data.

    If the iPhone can sync my contacts (with images and all the details) and my calender details smoothly with a low freqence of screw ups (see it’s so bad generally I don’t even expect no screw ups) I’ll get it. Add to that bookmark syncing so I can have my mobile bookmarks close to hand (as lets face it on a phone the quickest way to access something without typing is better), I’m sold.

    The biggest barrier I see here is actually lack of 3G support. Here being UK (and probably EU). I can see their reasons for not going with 3G in the US, but here I think it’s a different story, and for a product that is 50% (give or take) about data, I think it would make a big difference. I’ll probably get one anyway, but the speed increase on 3G (and even more on HSDPA) is a bit like get 802.11b instead of n.

    As for the price, I wonder why all these people buy Merc and BMWs and the like when they can by a Toyota Yaris for less. Or right, you get more for your money on cars too.

  • Bergamot:

    I think we’ve identified why Apple doesn’t like to release product specs six months in advance…

  • Follower:

    I heard that if you’re listening to music on your iPhone, and you get a call, the iPhone explodes.

    And Monkeyhead — when you’re there, pick me up an Apple III !

  • Hans:

    From the looks of it, the Macalope uses an SE/30 running System 6 with MultiFinder.

    Man, those were the days…

  • O Macalope, once again you and I think alike. Someday, we shall have a beer (or whatever it is that macalopes drink).


  • Funny. I feel like focussing on my favorite sub-point:

    > I do not want to have to turn off my music to get a phone call.

    Please tell me–WHAT method of listening to music do you NOT have to turn off to get a call? Home stereo? Car stereo? CD player? Audio tape? iPod? Zune? One-man band making minimum wage to follow you around?

    How would you ever avoid having to turn off your music to take a call? The best you can do is have that be automatic… which the iPhone delivers, while whatever Todd Sullivan uses now does not.

    The only thing I can think is that Mr. Sullivan doesn’t want his kids to be deprived of music for even a moment as they ride seatbelt-less in the front seat beside him. He’ rather shout on the phone while the music blares on. That’s OK–the iPhone in no way prevents him from listening to music in whatever way he already likes, and leaving it playing while he drives, eats, reads a book, and talks on the phone (possible all at once).

  • Hey now, the cube was an awesome device if you enjoyed getting homicidally frustrated plugging things into it.

    Good point with the syncing, however, Apple better come out with a better way to create and store contact photos… ‘caaaaaause those tiny lil’ address book pics on a 128 x 160 pixel external display look like poop.

    I also think Sullivan “doesn’t get it”, but I’m quite shocked by how much else he doesn’t get.

    Like basic human functionality.

    No one NEEDS “all in one” devices if they’re not carrying them around or constrained for space or something. Of course, that makes sense to ME cause I think listening to music while I’m talking on the phone while I’m driving my family down the highway is more tasks than I’m capable of handling.

    Well, maybe he’s just an amazing multitasker…ooooooor, maybe he has two extra mutant arms he’s not telling us about!


  • ChrispyMac:

    “If I am driving my family in my car and we are listening to the iPod, having to turn off the music to answer my phone becomes a major hassle.”

    I think I actually understand what he’s saying – if the iPhone is connected to the car’s stereo, or transmitting to the car’s stereo, and a phone call comes in, the music will stop or fade for the duration of the call. He would prefer that the music keep playing. Of course, as everyone else pointed out:
    1) can you hear the peron you’re talking to while the music’s playing;
    2) should you be distracted by a phone call while you’re driving?

  • [The cancellation fee] “needs to be added to the cost for those who aren’t already Cingular customers who feel compelled to switch to the iPhone right when it comes out. Which is one of the reasons Apple went with the largest carrier.” Cingular might or might not let you switch, however, without paying a fee–they don’t let you out of their deals to get other phones all the time.

    But, a big issue is loyalty. T-Mobile offered me $400 in cash to switch to their network. I was testing the converged UMA service here in Seattle (Wi-Fi + cell calling with a single plan/handset), and went to return the phone. They asked if they could talk me into leaving Cingular. I said, well, Cingular wants $175 each from my wife and I for early cancellation. They said, what if we paid that and gave you a $50 credit, too?

    Ultimately, the Cingular deal we have is better, and I didn’t like the T-Mobile handsets well enough, among other factors.

    For AT&T customers willing to sign up for two years and pay $600 for a bleeding phone, I suspect AT&T might have some wiggle room on paying down other carriers’ cancellation fees, no?

  • Flarg:

    Two main reasons why I won’t buy an iPhone in its current incarnation:

    1. I have Verizon, and have been really happy with the coverage throughout the US. Where I live (admittedly a lesser-populated state in the country), Cingular has a reputation for inadequate or no coverage. It would absurd for me to switch carriers.

    2. The closed platform idea really bugs me. I have a Newton and an eMate, and third party development is what made this platform something special.

  • KenC:

    The guy who writes for 24/7 is a long-time Apple basher who just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  • Merlin you are a comic giant among many stoic geeks of pod casting. You are by far the best reason to listen to macbreak. I used “iFlop” when commenting on iphone rumors on digg in January. And I got dug down 10 times doing it. So is it safe to use now? http://digg.com/apple/Apple_to_touch_off_Nuclear_War_Steve_Jobs_may_unveil_Pocket_Mac
    Do you know of any mentions of iFlop on the web before that date? Might I be the originator of this cute little meme? Dawkins FTW.
    The reason the iphone will fail:
    1 It is too damn expensive. 2 Not enough storage to be a viable music or video player. 3 All of the super keen gadgets will devour the phone’s battery life. 3 Too many other phones on the market already do what the iphone is trying better.

    BTW – Lemme do you another macalope logo.

  • Cal:

    The iPhone iFails.

    Aside from the hardest of hardcore Apple fans and millionaires who just have to get every new gadget, the overpriced and underdelivering iPhone will have very limited appeal.

  • Elder Norm:

    Hey guys, Its late but not too late. 🙂

    9-16-08……. iPhone 8 gig…….$199.

    iPod touch …… $229.

    iPod nano 4th gen $ 149 for 8 gig.

    Apple improves and gets cheaper, everyone else skates to where the puck WAS. LOL

    Just a thought. en

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