Thursday, November 15, 2007

iPhone marketing

I'm going to have to quibble with Jonathan Durden's article in Marketing Week about the 'genius' of Apple's marketing strategy in the UK.

In essence he suggests that the iTouch (I'm assuming he means the iPod Touch?) is an inferior product to the iPhone and has been designed largely to give locked-in Nokia customers a taste of the gadgetiest gadget, thus priming them to defect in due course.

Durden seems to have forgotten that the iPhone was launched months ago in the US and that the iPod Touch then followed in the late summer as part of the 5th generation of iPods. The timing of the two launches around Xmas in the UK is surely a localised phenomenon.

And unless he is working on the assumption that in the short to medium term all iPods will also be mobile phones, it would be wrong to discount the importance of the launch of the touch screen version of one of the world's most successful products. (It may actually be a more reasonable assumption that more iPods will swap the click wheel for the touch screen over the course of the next couple of years.)

Indeed, I'd wager that Apple have been less worried about cannibalising from the 'premium, more customer-sticky' iPhone than about compromising their position as the manufacturer of the most iconic, high-end media device.

Consider the age profile for the iPod Touch compared to the iPhone: which one is more likely to end up in a teenager's Xmas stocking? My own guess is that the iPhone will for some time remain a device targeted primarily at professionals: sticky, middle-aged cool, but not the device of preference of the under 20s.

Meanwhile, far from being the inferior product, I find the iPod Touch to be the first really compelling hand-held Web browsing device, and it surely has fewer defects as an iPod than the iPhone has as a mobile phone. (The sound quality is actually much better than my 4G iPod Video).

One day we may all carry a mobile device that gives us the best of Web, Text and Voice communications along with a high-capacity media player. With the iPhone and the iPod Touch, Apple has taken a couple of alternative routes towards that ultimate goal, but has clearly had to make more technological compromises in the case of iPhone, perhaps because this device was conceived as a way for them to intelligently encroach on a market packed with powerful brands, rather than opening up an entirely new category where they could expect to grab an 80% share of the market in no time at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

iPod Touch rules. iPod PDA will also rule. iPhone is nice. Simple!