If you were among the 20 million people that Apple says purchased its iPhone in the last some months, you've no doubt discovered you were caught holding a bargain that didn't really exist as the company just announced what you might have had.
On June 8, Apple announced a whole bunch of confusing products that make your iPhone worth about the same as a cheap old style cell phone. What cost variously $200 (AT&T's alleged discount price) will now be $99. If you had the misfortune to lose that one or have it stolen, a visit to Apple’s exclusive sales agent AT&T would cost you roughly $400 to replace.
But the good news is very soon you will be able to buy an iPhone four-times more powerful as that 8 gigabyte model for only $299 plus tax and with many other bells and whistles.
When asked why Apple was making the announcement if AT&T offered discounted prices as the exclusive sales agent, the Apple folks refer you to AT&T.
These nice people will explain, or try to explain their understanding of your frustration and explain how fast technology moves and why it is not surprising that the original iPhone you bought is really a relic already.
But that is not where the confusion and the wonderment end.
Apple smoothies in the sales department will tell you that the $200 you might have paid as little as weeks ago was actually a subsidized price by AT&T because they wanted to get your contract for service. The $400 you would pay if the first phone went missing for whatever reason would still be a discounted price by AT&T. Yet suddenly, Apple itself now explains that your old phone will be sold for $99 with no discounts from AT&T mentioned.
But, if you want to be among the buyers of a new, improved and special iPhone with 32 gigabytes and all sorts of other new kinds of entertainment, your undiscounted price will be around $299. We have tried to get some answers from Apple and AT&T how to do the math on discounted and undiscounted prices and the new versions.
If you are confused by this PR bonehead approach, you are an intelligent reader of the facts. If you think that marketing decision was suddenly reached before the 20 million lucky people were sucked into this marketplace, you need to read a lot more, or, better yet, talk to any of the polite, polished and professional caller representatives you can get by calling the AT&T at 1-800-462-4463 and be sure to punch “0” to get a humanoid from either Apple or AT&T.
Despite the June 8 announcement, calls to both Apple and AT&T resulted in some cryptography about eligibility for “upgrades” that were not easily definable.
Having left my phone numbers for various communications department folks at Apple, however, did put me on a marketing e-mail list for a whole range of new computers I would not have to buy from AT&T.
Meanwhile, apparently people who bought the $200 “discounted” iPhones (soon to be available at $99) actually could “lose” what they have and buy something four times more powerful and entertaining for only $299, unless, that is, late summer should bring still another marketing decision even less comprehensible.
In fairness, counseling with a fairly senior communications person at AT&T, his statement was that all of this is really “straightforward” and there should be no confusion.