What was Apple thinking in pricing their HSDPA-toting, 3G-capable, next-generation iPhone 3G as low as they did? Well, they (by which we mean Steve Jobs) was most likely looking to spark the interest of the iPhone-loving masses that just couldn’t swallow the previously too-expensive price point or couldn’t deal with the sluggish 2.5G EDGE connection.
Now that the iPhone 3G is set to hit the world stage with not only high-speed wireless broadband data speeds and integrated aGPS in tow, but also a seriously affordable price-tag, interest in the iPhone has skyrocketed in the UK. The UK iPhone carrier, O2, has announced that over 130,000 people have already registered on the O2 website to be notified of any further iPhone 3G updates. Compare that to the two months it took O2 to see 35,000 people register their interest in the original iPhone and the four-fold increase is quite impressive.
Helping spark huge interest in the iPhone 3G is O2’s pricing structure – just £99 for the 8GB iPhone 3G and £159 for the 16GB iPhone 3G. It seems potential iPhone adopters’ barriers to entry have been removed, which will most likely lead to a flood of sales.
And, according to Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets, Apple is expected to ship something like 5.1 million iPhone 3G units in the summer, tripling previous sales rates. Holiday shipments are projected to double and hit 6.5 million handsets – which would help boost total sales of the iPhone 3G to 14 million units by the end of 2008.
It seems that the new price point for the iPhone 3G is expected to really fire things up – Abramsky believes the $199 price of the iPhone 3G is the “sweet spot” for the iconic handset.
It remains to be seen how the new price point will affect iPod users’ decisions come upgrade time. We could see iPod users choosing to jump up to the iPhone rather than simply replacing their similarly priced iPod.
In the end, we’ll have to wait and see just how popular the iPhone 3G proves to be. But, if history and consumer trends are any indication, we’ll likely see iPhone 3G sales easily outpace original iPhone sales. And, that 10 million unit sales-goal? Forget about it…