Journalists and PR minders outnumbered buyers on Friday night as interest in Apple's iPhone miserably failed to live up to the pre-launch hype in the UK. The iPhone went on sale at stores operated by retail titan Carphone Warehouse, exclusive operator O2, and Apple's own retail chain. The days preceding the launch had been …
Lack of choice
Lack of choice is the problem, O2 isn't the most popular network and people like to choose their phone package.
By bundling wifi access and unlimited data they've not given consumers the choice they require.
Add to this the fact that there's been a lot of press coverage since the US launch. Most people are fully aware of the limitations of the device by now.
It would have sold more on a 12 month contract at £20 a month.
Of course people aren't buying it
No 3G on a data phone? That may play perfectly well in the US with their backward mobile network, but here people expect something a bit more, especially if they're paying for the handset itself.
Limiting the phone to only O2 is also a major factor in its non-event of a launch. Everybody know that waiting six months and hopping over to Calais will get them an unlocked iPhone that can be used on any network, so why go for the overpriced O2 contract now?
I normally like Apple stuff, but on the iPhone their usual US-centric attitude in both the hardware and the contract on offer has seriously hobbled the device for the European market.
Wake me up when it goes 3G and I can use it with my T-Mobile contract. Then maybe I might look at one.
to be fair, Channel4 News ran with the 'what a rip-off' angle, pointing out how much the thing would actually cost if you went with the O2 contract.
All I'd like to say is...
hahahahahahahahaha etc. You get the idea!
A friend of mine works for Carphone and had to work extra hours for the launch and how to use the thing. He actually said it wasn't too bad, with all the novelty gizmos, but...he wouldn't have one, given or otherwise. Good bit of sales advice if you ask me!
Budget no limit at Reg Towers, then?
So no-one at El Reg who works in the UK offices wanted to cover this, and you flew Andrew all the way from San Francisco over to report?
Or did he just make it all up after reading a couple of blogs telling how people would rather join in the fun at Apple's Regent Street store than walk into a Carphone Warehouse (who alone have more branches than the Apple shops that were busy on the US launch)?
Yet more coverage of a product hardly anyone will use. Sure the hardware is neat but everything else about it sucks arse. Instead of a webapp to replace iphone with "jizz" or whatever, why can't you just stop reporting on it. No one cares.
People would've queued ...
... if the media claimed there was a shortage. Which, by all accounts, there wasn't. Yes the launch was a flop, one in the eye of Apple at last. Maybe the Jesus phone doesn't work in a country where religion is on the wane ;)
"Dial-A-Phone's Nick has a gallery of the non-existent iPhone mania that was failing to break out"
Mind you, most of those pics look a little bright for a late evening in early November.
Or maybe because....
Us Brits aren't as gullible as the Americans and see the Iphone for what it is- another product for Apple fashion victims.
Too much choice
The lack of a first-night rush may also be due to the fact that there are plenty of places to buy an iPhone - Google Maps shows me that there are 7 O2/Carphone Warehouse shops in the vicinity.
Also we learned from the American launch that there was going to be no shortage of iPhones - hence no rush.
I was busy on Friday night, so I wandered into a Carphone Warehouse on Saturday afternoon and picked one up.
Now all I need is for Virgin to send me my PAC code so I can get my iPhone working.
So, no queues or clamour? That made it easy from he to get off the train from London to Glasgow Central at 19:55, wander into the Carthorse Whorehouse at the entrance and buy my iPhone without having to brave the Scottish rain between the station and the Apple Store.
Sure, I'm sure the experience at the Apple Store would have been more exciting and the staff better trained, but I knew what I wanted and that was to buy a phone, go home and settle in for the evening.
No fighting over phones or adequate stocking? You decide.
Punters left out
Over here we are a accustmed to being with a network, and getting upgrades when the contract runs out.
This isn't happening with the iFone, thanks to the O2 numpties believing the Apple hype and agreeing to their stupid marketing plan.
Thanks for the infferrence that it would sell more if it was cheaper, I'm not a market analyst but I assume the same would go for all "exclusive" things. If a Merc was 5 grand i'd guess they would roll off the forecourts like, well, big wheeled things!!!
BTW I dont have an iPhone, I don't need one nor have any desire to have an overrated phone with a, perhaps, nice GUI.
Who the hell is gonna pay £269 for a phone, let alone a web phone that connects to the web at dial up speeds?
Gives us something to laugh at though
It's too expensive
People don't want to pay £270 for a phone and then a minimum of £35 per month. The fact that the battery cant be removed is a problem too. And o2! What more can I say
We're not the muppets they think we are...
Clearly Apple have misjudged their 'target' market in the UK and not realised that we as consumers are not only more decerning than our muppet brothers and sisters in the US but also more educated.
We know when we're getting ripped off and this was just another in the long line of 'treat em mean to keep em keen' marketing attempts from a US company selling in the UK.
A few more failures like this (similar to Vista) will make them realise that we just will not pay for an over inflated product.
Merry Christmas Apple.
In the days running up to the iPhone launch it seemed every journo and blogger embarked on a iPhone bashing fest, with the BBC leading the way. Now the launch is over the 'iPhone launch failure' stories are cropping up. The launch in the UK was never going to match that of the US. We in the UK were never going to queue in huge numbers for a mobile phone that had no stock constraints.
So the media whipped themselves up into a frenzy of anticipation and then conclude the launch was a failure because it didn't live up to their inflated expectations. The fact that anyone queued at all for a mobile phone is a sucess in itself, perhaps the media should be comparing the launch to that of other mobiles, not their own expectations. I'm sure Nokia would be delighted if it had sold 10,000 on launch day.
This was posted on my iPhone and though its not without its faults, its the best phone I have ever owned and is a pleasure to use. As Apples first attempt, I think its pretty amazing. If I was Apples competition, I'd be pretty worried about version 2.
Too early to tell if iPhone launch is success or failure
"iPhone launch failure"
Steady on there, lad. You're making the same mistake as the lazy hacks who traipsed down to Regent Street on Thursday made: they saw crowd control barrier, and assumed mass hysteria was imminent. Be careful about what now much you infer from _one_ evening's sales.
The Friday night launch was disapppointing for retailers, especially Carphone Warehouse. The iPhone may have sold buckets on Saturday and Sunday - but that's beyond the scope of the article.
Hopefully retailers _and_ press will take note that manufactured "6:02" style events risk backfiring badly, as this one has.
a little bit of excitement...
...was to be found at the Trafford Centre on Friday night, where a small queue (maybe around 50-100 people) had formed outside the Apple shop by 6pm. However at the two O2 shops there were only a handful of punters, leading me to think that most of the people at Apple shop were just passing and fancied having a look at the thing, rather than actually wanting to buy one. (Some of the O2 punters may also have been attracted by the TV crew or free cakes...)
The easy part
To tell you the truth, the part I liked best was buying it.
I am used to spending an hour any time I need anything from the phone people. Buying an iPhone was quick as picking up a paper. The free content in iTunes U has made it a welcome companion.
Remarks like this one: "... will make them realise that we just will not pay for an over inflated product." just beg for the obvious rejoinder.
The phone is almost destined to flop. expensive... and doesnt even live up to its own advert's buzzwords.
Revolutionary: The only revolutionary aspect to this phone is the software, most of which functionality wise is available on WM platforms, and Symbian platforms, through modified firmwares and 3rd party applications.
Given that the technology within the phone is all old tech, about as revolutionary as body control granny pants, there could be a case for a complaint to ASA, at least in my (possibly blinkered) opinion.
Now there's a surprise....
£270-ish plus £35 per month for a phone that offers little more (nice GUI aside) than a phone of 2-3 yrs ago that came free? It's gonna take some serious hard sell to move this puppy in volumes.
I like my gadgets lots, but even my gadget freakery obsession isn't immune to common-sense when it comes to the basic numbers. Basic numbers which Apple & O2 seem unable to grasp.
Btw, the local Carphone Warehouse was almost devoid of customers when I strolled past on Saturday morning.
that there wasn't more of a take up, especially with the five minutes of free advertising that Apple had on the Chris Evans show the other evening.
Very true, I was in Manchester Friday, was in the pub till about 7 then walked into the apple shop and bought my iphone without any hanging around. Also Carphone Warehouse were giving away free sandwiches and O2 were giving away free muffins, both had very few customers in there.
I do feel sorry for the poor bloke who waited outside the apple shop from 6 in the morning though.
a spec to buy for
If an iPhone looked like this, I'd buy it.
- HSDPA -- come on, we're Apple, we have the latest shiny tech!
- Replaceable battery. It's a phone ffs, not a disposable fashion accessory. Oh, whoops...
- At least 32GB. What use is 8GB? My music is in FLAC.
- Buy the phone unsubsidised, unlocked, if I choose to.
- Install any application. I mean, wtf? If I break my phone I should be able to factory reset it like an iPod. Both S60 and WM have the right idea.
- Give me a commandline while you're at it, and bluetooth keyboard support. If I'm spending this much on a phone I should be able to replace my computer for many tasks.
I'm not holding out for the above to happen... but if they wanted to capture the market they'd realise that they have to do a little better than the current fecal excursion their product line has taken.
iphone - stunning concept, poor execution
I saw a cracked one before the launch. 4 months before actually. was a really interesting gadget, it even made voice calls too.
trouble is there's no 3G (duhhhh errrr?!), the camera has no flash, the battery is integrated, it's remarkably expensive to own with an O2 contract.
However, besides all product stuff we can list other failures - they used O2 exclusively, the launched in the UK at least 3 months too late, they over stocked, they believed their own hype.
Everyone I know wants/owns atleast 1 ipod, no-one I know wants (cannot be bothered about) an iPhone.
Shame, could have been something special. Looking forward to version 2, to see what they've learned.
never mind the hype, the price is what's killed it.
We are not used to paying for handset AND contract over here.
Connecting at a snails pace won't do it any favours either.
I will most likely get myself an IPod touch at some point as that gives you all the best bits of an IPhone without all the downsides....
Perfectly happy to keep my fone seperate from my MP3 player, that way you get devices that do exactly what they're meant to do, instead of some super-hyped hybrid that doesn't quite deliver as a phone.
People were queueing at the Apple store in Glasgow at launch time... But Carphone Warehouse stores and O2 stores were queueless.
No A2DP or bluetooth file exchange
No video recording
No free ringtones
Its like a phone from 2002. But just like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan its destined to be a great success, despite being braindead.
"Steady on there, lad. You're making the same mistake as the lazy hacks who traipsed down to Regent Street on Thursday made: they saw crowd control barrier, and assumed mass hysteria was imminent. Be careful about what now much you infer from _one_ evening's sales."
Whereas you just ignored Regent Street entirely because it didn't fit your point and claimed it was a "flop" based on... erm... "_one_evening's sales."
Pot, kettle, black much?
Why do people insist on calling the iPhone old technology just because it uses EDGE an old fashioned camera? There's plenty of technology in the iPhone that is way ahead of any other phone on the market, e.g. visual voicemail. As far as I've seen the iPhone sold 100,000 in the launch weekend, hardly a flop!
I spent well over half an hour in the local CPW shop on Saturday afternoon.
I'd been asked to go in to present ID details for 2 Fresh SIM cards I had, which instead turned out to have expired. After a bit of debate at the call centre while I was on hold, they eventually issued me with 2 new ones and transferred the credit across, which took quite a bit of conversation between the shop sales assistant and the call centre ...
I apologised for keeping her busy when she should have been selling high value deals. In that time, her colleague sold what appeared to be a T-mobile contract
And just what exactly has this to do with iPhone? Nothing. No advertising in there. The nearby O2 shop was empty of customers when I walked past.
How long before O2 alter the system when you call 100, so that people who don't have an iPhone can navigate the menu without having to hear about iPhone - "we know you'll be desperate to ... " ... talk to customer services about the reason I actually phoned up, thank you
The iPhone looks quite neat, and by all accounts the interface is excellent. However ... three weeks ago I got a Nokia 6120 from 3. Free phone, fifteen quid a month for 300 minutes/texts and a fiver more for 1GB mobile internet. So that's £360 total for something which does more than the iPhone does with a smaller screen, clunkier interface and real keys.
Is it worth another five or six hundred pounds for goatse-zooming? Sorry, Apple, I don't think so.
Most people who really wanted one will have one anyway
I've got two, one for me, one for the missus, got them 2 months ago, nicely working on t-mobile and vodaphone....and cheaper than the UK.
Nice to see though that Apple is selling them without contracts - I understand you can walk away from the Apple store without having to sign up to the 18 month O2 shite.
Now all those guys need to do is to wait for the inevitable hack for 1.1.2 and they are off....jailbreak came out for 1.1.2 a day or so ago!
Lesson for Apple
If you can't get the British to queue for something, then you know your product is a dismal waste of space. The few people who did queue were probably just following the old saying (which dates back to the rationing era) "if you see a queue, join it".
Yep no queue for me
yep i am one of those that bought the iphone - albeit on Saturday. Resistance to the launch boiled down to - its Friday Night for *&^ sake.
So you cant replace the battery - well guess what i had a nokia 3g phone for 18 months and i never have had to change the battery once...
Iphone gives me access to my
and the smart sms conversations - which is the neatest thing yet. go look it just makes sense.
Internet via wifi on a mobile is joy to use instead of tiny opera mini - which is good but only due to poor screens on other mobiles and lets face it wap is not really good.
Iphone gives me not
-sms to multiple people,
- the US centric keyboard where all web address must end in .com - which localisation doenst alter.
I also cant see any shockwave sites - but i expect adobe to sort that out soon...
The most annoying things
- damn the point less youtube icon
- stocks icon must be there for Stevey so he can watch the apple stock... Youtube is just simply pointless and so is the stock watcher.
do i like it - yes its simply better than any mobile with internet access.
the wifi connection is so simple others should worry alot.
do i mind paying for the phone - not really cos its really the video ipod with the phone built in - its also really a neat internet device - which you normally have to pay for aka Nokia
The most annoying thing overall is the insurance - normal phone insurance covers for the device since you can buy a new one and hook it up to the current contract. Iphones only sell with a new contract - so the extra insurance is the gap to buy out of the contract! and that simple sucks. If any lawyers present advice please.
Ease of ise
Went down to our local O2, in a quiet shopping centre in Edinburgh. Queued with 20 other bemused folks. I was home by 6:15 with my phone activated.
Personally I think this device will change a lot of things. It is *so* easy to use, it opens up the Internet to technically challenged folks who would be otherwise to scared to buy a computer etc. To me, it's all about that UI - it easily outwieghs the lack of some hardware features. I think, to be honest, people really don't care about 3G or Edge or whatever technology it is you use to get access. The people who know what all these technologies are techies, who probably have laptops or need phones with PDA features anyway. The iPhone is something new - a true consumer device for the Internet. It is expensive, but works perfectly, with no setup or fat technical manual to refer to. It just works, and anyone can figure it out inside a few minutes using the very natural interface.
This is the first step I think. If Nokia or iPhone 2 or SonyEricsson can improve on this, it can only be a good thing for everyone
Sure I'd love more features in my iPhone, but not if it complicates the usability, or adds new buttons, or drains the battery. I could give my iPhone to my mother and she would have no problems using it inside 5 minutes.
If only my phone was as good as the iphone
Oh wait, I have a N95. It pisses all over the iphone and didn't cost me £279 + 18 month contract
I don't want an iPhone...
I don't mind the £265 asking price but my current 'contract' with OneTel is £5 a month and there is no way I would pay £35 a month for ANY phone contract.
I bought an iPod Touch and I am very happy with it - and my cheap Samsung phone.
@ If only my phone was as good as the iphone...
Does your Noidea n95 get free Wifi via the Cloud? No (it can use WIFI, but not for "free"), is it buggy, yes (Yes, I do Data support for a Mobile Phone Ziabatsu, no not O2). Is it a mish-mash of good ideas with poor execution? yes.
So the British indeed are smarter than the Yanks. The "pay phone, pay contract, not both" mindset is also prevalent over here in Mexico; even those who have the money to spend pointlessly tend to go for the "free" phones, or pay < $100 USD for does that do have a price. Hell, *my* phone would have been free if I had signed up for an 18-month contract!
I won't bother for the eye Phone as most of the hyped stuff is already provided by my W300i, or just hype I'll never use (browsing "normal" web pages on a cellphone? screw that!). Oh, and no Bluetooth? Wonder how we share all our ringtones/pics...
The iPhone is doomed in the eyes of those without money, or savvy enough to ask for extra stuff.
Why no mention of CW's computer system failing coping with the rate of sales?
Oh right, the facts should fit the story, rather than the other way round.
Apple's "misunderstanding" of the iPod generation
I have one of these UK iPhones in my hands right now; it's a very pretty paperweight because I'm patiently waiting for the hackers to defeat the new revision of baseband firmware.
I've indulged in a "downgrade" to 1.1.1 firmware and applied the jailbreak, played with some of the "poor quality and best kept away from consumers" third-party applications (many of which are stunning and better than the paid-for rubbish I've seen on Windows Mobile devices). What I will not do until I am sure I have no choice, is activate it on O2.
I don't condemn O2's contracts as strongly as some; I view the integrated "The Cloud" WiFi access as having some value. However, I am fully aware that in March I signed up to T-Mobile and got a £700 (unlocked) handset for £120, on a £37.50/month contract that includes unlimited 3G data and 900 minutes or 1800 texts. O2's contract is poor value.
The crime here is not the poor value contract, but Apple's failure to grasp what has driven iPod sales. We KNOW that there will be a new iPhone and it will probably be out around March to June next year in the US at least. We know it will be better. We also know that if we sign up now, we're stuck with that contract for 18 months and Apple aren't going to let us activate our Mk II iPhone on the existing contract, because they (in some bizarre situation which I cannot quite believe has happened) want their revenue from the networks.
The reason the iPod has sold so many is partly driven by the desire for the latest model - Apple often add significant increases in feature set or capacity - and no reason not to just get the newest one as soon as it launches. They're rarely heavily discounted, they're familiar and they're good players. With every iPhone user locked into 18 months with the device, they're not going to consume as many - and as such they're not going to be convinced by such a limited feature set compared to flexible, cheaper Windows Mobile devices.
The iPhone should be sold unlocked in Europe for £399 if Apple want that extra profit so badly. Then let the networks and brokers argue about subsidising the handset price from their kickbacks - if you can buy a contract with a free PS3, or Xbox, because the reseller is using their "profit" to give you a rubbish handset and a gimmick incentive, then the iPhone would fly off the shelves, whilst other people pony up the £400 to have an excellent UI and reasonably attractive handset.
As it is the iPhone is an expensive, and not particularly good, distraction. It's priced as a smartphone, but without the ability to legitimately run third-party apps it's woefully lacking as such (and the developers have shown, with limited resources, that it can do so very very well). If you don't have a phone at all, then it's worth looking at if you wanted an iPod Touch. For anyone with an existing contract, the iPhone is nowhere near compelling enough to change providers, and neither is O2's contract.
Is it me or was that article spectacularly poor and horribly biased, dial a phone?! And is it just me or are the majority of pictures taken during the day? Also seems to have overlooked the fact there was 1500 odd stores selling the phone at 6pm, can't honestly expect massive queues at all the stores. Despite this though the iphones sold a fair few since release on friday, a LOT more than any other UK phone release.
The iPhone is a revolutionary device it really is, it blows every single other mobile device out of the water, and this is shown in the ridiculous sales and rave reviews over in the US as well as a very respectable launch in the UK. Argue with it all you want but the majority of people would rather have it over your N95/prada/similar simply because it is a better phone and thats why its selling better. No it doesn't have true bluetooth, MMS and a host of other features but it has the best interface ever seen in a phone, a fully featured ipod, itunes store, dedicated youtube and an array of other features.
Argue with it all you want, its not going to stop it wiping the floor with all the other phones in the UK in terms of sales, it sells more because in the eyes of consumers its a better phone.
Silly article - successful launch
1. silly article - there WERE queues and tens of thousands were sold. Never seen that for a Nokia phone. Just not at all 1300 outlets.
2. Check out the mobile browser use stats at marketshare.hitslink.com, and consider the huge relative installed base of S60 and Windows Mobile phones. The people who say they "need" 3G actually do virtually no web browsing on their phones, whereas the iPhone owners, who don't have 3G, already do lots of web browsing.
3. Warning: those waiting for an unlock for UK iPhones could (a) be waiting a long time and (b) eventually miss out on major software upgrades. Shoulda bought a 1.0.2/1.1.1 US iPhone.
4. Apple actually prefers to make humungous profits from steady iPhone sales unlike Microsoft's loss making model of subsidising everything else out of it's monopoly product (Windows/Office) taxes. So Apple has no problem being locked to O2, and no problem with not winning all the customers on the planet.
@ '@ If only my phone was as good as the iphone... '
"Does your Noidea n95 get free Wifi via the Cloud?..."
Is £270 + a £35 / month contract 'free'? No.
Are you an iDiot? Yes.
Is that your coat? Yes.
Re: old tech?
"As far as I've seen the iPhone sold 100,000 in the launch weekend, hardly a flop!"
Then you should get your eyes checked.
The actual number sold is more like 20,000 to 40,000 according to the 'industry sources' in today's papers.
So, that'll be all the fanboys and fashion victims accounted for. Now we'll *really* see how popular the iPhone is from here on...
@Of course people aren't buying it
Totally. Plus, Apple forgot or chose to ignore the fact that there are people who're on prepaid and/or own more than one simcard, perhaps one of a competing operator, which might be prepaid as well, for various reasons. Which is not good.
Clearly, Apple doesn't understand how the cell phone market outside the US works.
Fluffy Bunnies remain huddled in the hutch
My Salt Lake City pal, Mr Maddox, says it best:
Why anyone would pay massively just to polish His Steveness' galactic ego is beyond me.
From my extensive survey of stateside taverns, the FluffyFone is not even that effective as a chick magnet.
'it blows every single other mobile device out of the water'
Why? Because it has a nice shiny gui or because it's Apple branded? Sorry but that argument is completely invalid. It has done well in the US because that is where Apple have their largest user base and the Americans are not used to having half the functions on their phone that the Europeans are. The iphony is nothing more than a good example of style over function. This would have been an amazing piece of kit if they released it 3-4 years ago but now it is already very dated. Lets just do a very quick comparison of the N95 vs iphone
Iphone can connect to a headset and a car kit - thats it
N95 can transfer files, sync with a pc, connect a bt keyboard,sync with your gps, connect to a pc and be used as a modem, connect to many other devices
1-0 to N95
Iphone 2megapixel that struggles in low light - no video
N95 5megapixel, Carl Zeiss optics, flash, dvd quality video, secondary camera for video calling
2-0 to N95
Iphone can send a sms to 1 person at a time. Cannot be used one handed to write a text.
N95 can SMS to groups, MMS and can use IM clients. Can be used one handed
3-0 to N95
Iphone has built in ipod audio/video player capable of H.264, MPEG-4 in .mp4, .mov, .m4v formats, and MP3, protected AAC, AAC, Audible, Apple lossless in .aac, .m4a file playback. TV out
N95 has a media player capable of MP3, AAC, AAC+ eAAC+,WMA, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, H.263/3GPP, RealVideo 8/9/10, MP4, .m4a. Has TV out and a built in FM radio. Also has bluetooth audio output using A2DP. Inbuilt stereo speakers
4-0 to N95
N95 8GB expandable by miniSD cards
5-0 to N95
Iphone Wifi and 2G access (nice sales trick btw having wifi in the shops so the buyer doesn't see how slow access is when you are not near a wifi connection) Safari browser
N95 Wifi and 3G for high speed access when not connected to wifi. Open source Nokia browser, able to install Opera, firefox coming soon
6-0 to N95
The list goes on and on as to why the N95 is a superior phone. As for the AC who says that it is buggy, I have never had a problem with it. If there are bugs, then they can be fixed with a simple firmware update. The iphones hardware deficiencies cannot be fixed, you are stuck with what you buy. Apart from the multi-touch screen what exactly is revolutionary about it?
Some web dealers are selling the ipoD Touch 8gb for £182, and some web based phone dealers are selling mobile contracts with a free phone, a free iPod touch 8gb (or 16gb) for £30-£35 a month, with more minutes and texts on a variety of networks.
i expected this to happen.
Sure, I get inclusive Wifi access with the iPhone, but I can pay for that separately and still save compared to the iPhone if I go for one of these other deals.
N95 8gb is being offered for free on various networks.
if the iPhone was available on every network, for free, for £30 a month with the same number of texts and minutes, then it'd be a done deal.
However, Apple insists on its crazy locking down and will suffer in the long term as a result.
Who else bets that in 12-18 months Apple will buy out of its' deal with o2 and open it up with everyone else?