As probably everyone other than Bill Gates probably heard, Apple dropped the price of the iPhone by $200 yesterday. And, very shockingly to me, this somehow upset a number of those who bought iPhones back in June. Over on the Macworld forums, I've been involved in some interesting discussions on the matter. Basically, my position is as follows:
- Nobody was kidnapped, dragged to an Apple Store, and forced to spend $599 on an iPhone. Everyone who bought on June 29th did so freely of their own will. (Note that I'm a possible exception to that statement, as I was asked to stand in line by my employer. But since it was their money, I didn't really mind.)
- Whenever you buy any piece of technology, it is a known fact that it will get faster, smaller, more feature laden, and cheaper in the future. Knowing this, I have always treated a technology purchase as a pure sunk cost--whatever you pay, whenever you pay it, it's gone. If the item's price changes in the near future, oh well. I made my decision, I have the piece of technology, and I don't really care if it's cheaper.
- People are claiming the "value" of their iPhone took a $200 hit yesterday. There's only one way I see that as a true statement: if the user was planning on selling their iPhone on eBay today. However, since we're all on two-year contracts, I don't see that as a big market at the moment. So if you were going to keep your iPhone and continue to use it, your phone's value is unchanged: it's just as important to you today as it was yesterday.
So basically, I'm amazed at the number of complaints over this issue. In one of the forum threads, I asked those who felt this was an issue to explain what they would have done had Apple announced a $200 price increase instead of a drop. Would they have all rushed out to their mailbox to drop a check in the mail for Apple? Not surprisingly, it seems that wasn't a popular suggestion. People want something for nothing, basically.
You've probably also read by now that Apple has decided to grant a $100 store credit to all those who bought iPhones prior to the price drop. Hopefully this will silence the criticism, but I doubt it since it leaves $100 "missing" from the pockets of those who are complaining. From my seat, though, Apple didn't have to do this at all. When you choose to buy something, you're basically fulfilling a contract with the product supplier: I agree to give you this much money, and you agree to give me the product. Anything that happens after that (outside of normal "price protection" windows, which are not 60+ days in length) is just something that happens.
Anyway, am I all wet in my thinking? This demand for a credit due to a price drop seems unprecedented to me; nobody complained when iPod Photos plummeted $200 a few short months after their introduction. Why is the iPhone different?