Is the iPhone half full or half empty?

The Macalope was amused to read the following two headlines this morning.

iPhone demand in the UK is ‘soft’, survey finds.

The UK’s largest iPhone survey undertaken by iPhone blog iphonic.tv has found that while interest in Apple’s upcoming mobile is very high, even Apple die-hards won’t invest in the handset unless it is competitively priced and available on their network.

Many iPod users will switch network for iPhone

The iPhone looks set to make a big impression when it launches in Europe.

Both cite the same poll.

The author of the second piece, Macworld UK’s Jonny Evans, also noticed the disparate interpretations.

You see, first thing I thought when I read a survey claiming one-in-four people would switch networks in order to get their hands on an iPhone was “oh, that’s a lot of people”.

But it’s being reported as failure. It’s as if some reporters think that the iPhone will be a failure unless it achieves the same level of dominance within the mobile industry as the iPod has in terms of music players.

That’s ever so sophistic. You can’t accuse an unreleased product of potential failure when you describe an unrealistic target for it.

Jonny sadly hasn’t learned that his Earth logic has no bearing in the world of Apple coverage.

Comments
  • i don’t know. i think you probably also have to be careful though with ‘one in four would switch networks to get an iphone.’ i would switch networks because i don’t care about the network. whatever. screw t-mobile. but will i pay $500 also?

    it’s like saying, ‘yeah, i’d work out every day if the phoenix suns signed me to a long-term guaranteed deal.’ but the suns aren’t going to sign me, and i’m also not going to pay $500 for an iphone. i’m sure there are plenty of people who will, but saying ‘one in four would…’ doesn’t at all mean that ‘one in four will…’

    there’s likely a vast difference between ‘one in four would…’ and ‘one in four will…’ so yes, that’s a lot of people who will. there are also a ton of people who are interested in the iphone, but are not going to buy one. asking the ‘would’ question gauges interest, but asking the ‘will’ question gauges demand. they’re different. people who will (demand) are only a subset of the people who would (interest).

    plus, has anyone ever done research into market research (that sounds ridiculous) regarding how many people who say in a survey that they will buy a product actually end up buying the product in the early period after its launch? i bet there are a lot of people who say they will because they really do think it’s cool and would like to have it, but for whatever reason they actually don’t when the opportunity presents itself. like they either can’t actually afford it when faced with the price (i went through this with the ipod for 4 years) or they don’t actually want it that badly, they just want to play with one for a while. so there’s that. somebody really should do this research.

    PLEASE NOTE THAT I DID NOT READ THE SURVEY RESULTS OR THE ARTICLES YOU LINKED TO. THANK YOU!

    PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT I BELIEVE THE IPHONE WILL BE A BIG SUCCESS AND THE OTHER MOBILE CARRIERS WILL BE RAPPING AT APPLE’S DOOR TO GET THEIR HANDS ON IT AND THAT ALL THE COOL PEOPLE ON THE COMMUTER BUS WILL HAVE THEM BY NEXT FALL BUT I JUST WON’T BE ONE OF THEM. THANK YOU AGAIN!

  • also, jonny is right that it’s idiotic to say that 1 in 4 would be a failure. it’s completely wrong when people say that the iphone will fail because it won’t capture the market share in its segment (mobile phones/smart phones) that the ipod has captured in its segment (digital audio players). the whole point of my above comment was just to say that surveys and whatnot probably dramatically overstate the actual demand for the iphone. lots of people think it’s awesome. but not as many will actually buy one. so. it’s probably not going to get 1 in 4 mobile users to actually switch carriers to buy an iphone. but given the size of the mobile phone market, wouldn’t even 1 in 50 or a hundred or so of mobile users would be a pretty enormous amount of iphones sold?

    what i’m really trying to say, i guess, its that since i didn’t read the articles or the survey results, i might be an idiot.

    thank you! i’ll be here all week!

  • bob:

    And what’s wrong with 1 in 4, for a product that hasn’t been released yet, and only a couple of CEOs have actual day-to-day hands-on experience with?

    If 1 in 4 people would switch carriers, WITHOUT EVER HAVING USED THE PRODUCT, I’d say that’s pretty good.

    I don’t think the iPod had 1 in 4 adoption rates before its release.

    If even HALF of that self-proclaimed 1 in 4 actually do buy an iPhone and switch carriers, I would say Apple has a runaway hit product on its hands. The Zune would kill for an initial adoption rate like that.

  • like i said, i think it could be way way less than 1 in 4 and the iphone will be a huge runaway smash. there are so many cell phone users out there that even 1 in 40 would be a pretty huge adoption rate for a single device.

    i think that’s another problem with the comparisons. there are ipod models that compete in pretty much every sphere of the digital audio player market. but the iphone is basically 1 model (2 if you count the different memory capacities). it’s not nokia with a whole spectrum of phones from cheap one trick phones to big screened smart phones with keyboards. it shouldn’t be compared to another company’s phones, it should be compared, in terms of whatever share it might gain upon release, with 1 of nokia’s or lg’s or samsung’s models.

    this is one model entering a fairly mature market. the ipod was one model entering a fairly small and emerging market and over time it’s grown into a family of models ranging in price and features in a sort of mature but still emerging market. over time the iphone will probably have more models and whatnot, but the market for cell phones is completely different today than was the market for mp3 players 5 years ago. or even today. it’s not even comparable. at all.

  • I’ve just read your last two posts on the iPhone. If these people have their numbers right (never mind the rest of the hyperbolic bullshit) Apple should do alright. If Cingular has 60 million customers, and 55% of them have tattooed the logo of their current phone on their foreheads, that leaves 45% (27 million people) who might buy an iPhone. Maybe. That leaves all the rest of the 300 million people in the country up for grabs.

    As I recall Apple is only building 10 Million iPhones for the first run. If they only sell all of those, they’ll be fine. I’m willing to bet all the leftovers in my fridge that Apple will be deeply into a sustained second production run by Independence Day. (Yes, including the General Tso’s Chicken from dinner tonight)

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