Apple Loyalty: We Will Only Know When The Next Cool Thing Comes Out

More buzzing today about the iPhone price drop, and all the griping it has caused:

[from IPhone Owners Crying Foul Over Price Cut by Katie Hafner and Brad Stone]


[the history of very fast price drops in cell phones] must have been what Apple was counting on. But the size and speed of the price cut alienated some of Apple’s most loyal supporters.


Mr. Jobs said the cuts were precipitated by a desire to build demand aggressively for the product in the coming holiday shopping season. Analysts, however, wondered if it was indicative of sagging demand for the expensive phone.


Rob Enderle, president of the Enderle Group, a market research firm in San Jose, Calif., was skeptical of the store credit.

“A $100 credit could be perceived as adding insult to injury,” said Mr. Enderle, noting that store credits are seldom well received. “It’s a way to make you go buy something else, and gives the company a chance to make more money.”

But Mr. Enderle might be underestimating the sheer power of Apple loyalty.

Sounds like Rob is one of the unhappy early buyers himself. And we don’t know what motivated Jobs to take the aggressive move, but I am betting on more souped up iPhones, and a decent camera, before Xmas.

Like some others, I think that the iPod Touch is an extremely cool toy, and I can’t wait for mine to arrive (on or around 2 October). I am too stuck on having a small phone with a great camera (n95) to move to iPhone, now.

Regarding customer loyalty, what no one seems to be saying is that we will only know the true impact of the price drop when Apple rolls out the next cool thing. If Apple loyalists don’t line up outside the stores the night before the release of the Apple iWidget (whatever the next shiny thing is) then, and only then, will we be able to judge the real impact of this brouhaha, and whether it is a PR hiccup or a serious defection of loyalists.

My bet is on hiccup.

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