Monday, June 25, 2007

When the iPhone Flops, What's Next for Apple?

Perhaps this is heresy, particularly as I type this four days pre-launch on an iMac that I love, but I suspect the iPhone is going to be a bust. You can watch the zoomy video below, but the fact is that the iPhone has a touch screen keyboard, does not support corporate email apparently, doesn't have attachments support (it seems), apparently has a tinny speaker in it, and much more.

So now Apple has hyped this product with videos like this one that have the technorati all aflutter:

But when the bad reviews come in from real users, I suspect that people who fork over $500 and sign up for a two-year deal to do it are going to be pissed.

And Apple's been on a real tear recently, with great new product offerings. It's like they've started to really gain traction. You know the iMac and the iPod are great. But does anyone remember the Apple Lisa? Or the Apple Newton? Huge flops.

Maybe it's counter-intuitive, but I think that the way they hyped this phone is going to damage the Apple brand. The best it can do is live up to the hype. But it's not going to, and that's going to pierce their veil of infallibility--and that, my friends, is brand damage... Perhaps they would've been better off taking a somewhat more humble marketing approach to this. It still would be huge--the bloggers still would've gone nuts, but they wouldn't have fanned the flames.

It's like seeing a new movie when all your friends told you it's awesome, but it's only really good... You end up disappointed. If they'd said nothing, you probably would've liked it... That's what we're going to see with the iPhone, I predict.

What do you think? Is it going to take off?