Jul 28, 2008

Does Apple get it?

As an Apple customer, I am delighted that the company is doing well with its iPhone 3G sales. At the same time I am puzzled, to say the least, about Apple's attitude toward the consumers.

The iPhone "is here" proclaims Apple. Well, it's not. The inventory update after 9 pm on Saturday July 26 was full or red dots (iPhone not in stock) for every Apple store in the country. If the iPhone is here, where is "here"?

Today I went to an Apple store that was shown, last night, to have available iPhones. I stood in line half an hour before it opened. I was the 20th person or so. The store had only a handful of while and black 16GB phones. Customers with a double digit position in the queue had no chance of getting an iPhone today. I left.

I am not in a hurry to buy an iPhone and I will wait for the inventory to return to some reliable level before I return to an Apple store. I am puzzled, however, by Apple's attitude.

Doesn't Apple realize that it's irritating to let customers know that a store has iPhones even if that means that the store has only 5 or 6 pieces to sell? Doesn't Apple realize that customers end up driving repeatedly to the store and leave disappointed and frustrated and that the environment also feels the impact? Why Apple doesn't offer an online purchase channel for the iPhone?

Having consumers line up only to be disappointed and frustrated is not the brightest marketing idea that Apple had.

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