Who's the iPhone aimed at?

Who's the iPhone aimed at?

Summary: OK, I know some of you are tired of hearing about the iPhone, but with less than a day to go before Apple's product of the year is available for purchase, I'm still left wondering who it's really aimed at.

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TOPICS: iPhone, Mobility
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OK, I know some of you are tired of hearing about the iPhone, but with less than a day to go before Apple's product of the year is available for purchase, I'm still left wondering who it's really aimed at.

When I look at most Apple products, especially niche products, it's easy to see who they're aimed at.  It's also easy to figure out why there's not just an iPod but the iPod nano and shuffle and what the target demographic differences between the Is the iPhone a cleverly marketed product that's aimed at the stupid rich? MacBook and MacBook Pro are.  But when I look at the iPhone, it feels wrong to me.  I just can't place who it's meant to appeal to. 

Consider this.  It's a $500/$600 phone that combines a 4GB/8GB iPod.  It supports video, YouTube and Google Maps.  It has a 2 megapixel digital camera but can't record video and doesn't support MMS.  It has support for WiFi but when out of range you're stuck with EDGE because there's no 3G support.  Web pages are glacially slow to load.  It's got some sort of cut down OS X on board but no official way to augment or leverage this with third-party apps (I'm pretty sure the iPhone will be cracked to run third-party apps maybe as soon as Monday).  The big touch-sensitive screen is nice and hopefully robust but seems like a turn-off for the ladies. The battery is internal and you have to send it off to Apple for replacement when it starts to get tired.  You're stuck with AT&T for two years, oh, and it'll cost you, in all, about $2,000 over the first two years.  With that kind of price tag, it surely can't be aimed at teens.

Scott Adams wrote in (I think) the Dilbert Principal that there are four main demographic groups:

  • The stupid rich
  • The smart rich
  • The stupid poor
  • The smart poor

The group to always aim for, according to Adams, is is the stupid poor because they buy stuff without question and don't make rational, well thought-out purchasing decisions.  Is the iPhone a cleverly marketed product that's aimed at the stupid rich who are willing to stump up the cash and commit to a two year contract for a phone that's so far seen little real-world testing and doesn't support standard features such as MMS and video recording?  Sure feels like it to me.

[poll id=153]

Thoughts?  If you agree with me, what cellphones are the smart rich buying?  If you disagree with me, what is it about the iPhone that makes it a "smart rich" buy?

Topics: iPhone, Mobility

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47 comments
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  • Devil Phone

    Adrian, its the devil phone and its here to take your soul!

    Give it a rest!

    LOL
    Len Rooney
    • LOL

      Good one. I love the 2K price over two years. He seems to imply that this is all iPhone overcost, which it isn't.

      The cheapest plans for ~500 minutes for all carriers starts at around $40/month, some with limited text. So, over 2 years, it costs $1K with the most basic plan and free phone. I would suggest that most get some "extra", text messages or basic web access, etc (included in the iPhone plan) which puts the most basic wireless cost at arounf $1250 for two years.

      I checked it out, and me converting to the iPhone plan WITHOUT purchasing an iPhone if I wanted web access is actually cheaper than other plans at AT&T wireless.

      Yes, the phone is beyond overhyped, I don't want one, a tad on the expensive side, but I really don't think it is actually as bad a deal as everyone points out. If you needed an ipod and want a new phone, well, it looks more attractive.

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • Satan!

      A phone that hasn't been released yet has caused a blogger to call a potentially huge
      group of people stupid. He's either predisposed to that, or emotions are running
      high. Devil's on the hoof either way.
      Harry Bardal
      • It's the devil!

        It's the devil-iPhone, it keeps looking at me with those damned devil eyes.
        Whispering to me. Cajoling me with its oh so subtle ways, saying, "Buy me. Buy me,
        you fool!"

        Go back to hell iPhone! Go straight back to hell!

        (I must mow type out 100 Hail Mary's on my qwerty tactile keyboard)
        Len Rooney
  • Stupid iPhone

    I've been confused about the target market for the iPhone, too. It's too expensive
    for teenagers. Too limited for gadget freaks (like me). Too consumer-centric for
    executives. I just don't get it. I actually wonder if Apple is using this first iPhone as
    a real-world market test program, and getting people to pay for it in order to test it
    out. There's too much that needs to be refined with the iPhone. iPhone will
    probably be THE phone to have when it hits revision-2. Right now there's too
    much that's weird about what went into it, too much that misses the mark. It
    seems Apple wanted to make an all in one device that suits everybody, but in the
    process they miss the mark in small, yet significant areas with every crowd they're
    trying to appeal to.
    theMac_Daddy
  • Nooo.Only you Adrian

    Which Category do you fall into Adrian..?
    chavezm30
  • Its aimed at victims

    fashion and fanboys - what a great set of victims
    deaf_e_kate
    • Victims? I see this as a victimless crime ;-)

      If fashion / fanboys addicts are so stupid so as to be sucked in by the marketing hype then props to Apple for exploiting it!
      Scrat
      • They are victims

        because they are tooooo stupid to see passed the hype - they are exploited
        unfortunately there are more and more of this type in the world
        deaf_e_kate
      • Have you ever considered the possibility

        that perhaps the world is right and Scrat is wrong?
        frgough
  • Arguing the cost

    Most Cell Phone plans require a one or two year commitment in order to drop the cost of the phone down. My last phone was around $200 dollars before hand and with my $70 a month plan because of the talkative girlfriend at the time, the total cost of the phone was $1880. This does include service though. So can you really say that the iPhone costs $2500?

    Be it as it may, I think I will stick to having my Nokia for the time being. Until I get can an iPhone for this area, I don't see the reason to stand in line for one.

    We can always hope that the iPhone bombs bigger than the ROKR and then we can get them all for little or nothing when other companies are allowed to pick up the service.
    nucrash
  • Be Smart Whether Rich or Poor

    After extensive web research and from my own personal experiences, last week, just moments in advance of the "I-Phone" release, I purchased a Cingular (the new AT&T) 8525. I LOVE IT. It has Windows Mobile 5, in the process of upgrading to Mobile 6 today, Outlook Mobile which syncs with your pc/laptop, wi-fi 3G support, slide out huge key keyboard (the screen changes direction according to using web or phone/pda, and not to mention Mobile TV and plenty of instant messaging, picture messaging included. Blue tooth enabled, 2.0 MP camera with video, voice activated, crystal clear huge LCD display (due to the slide out keyboard, can use most of face plate as touchscreen. The web loads as fast as my laptop, has worked virtually everywhere I've been traveling this past week. I get unlimited internet for mapquesting, download mp3's, movies, extended 2 gig memory slot, rollover minutes, every bell and whistle is included, removable battery, I could go on and on. As did most people in my research, if you are going with AT&T choose the 8525, if you want to be smart.
    subor
    • And how much does it cost over 2 years? (NT)

      NT
      Non-Zealand
  • It's aimed at

    These folks......

    http://content.zdnet.com/2346-9595_22-92674.html
    Badgered
  • People strugle to see the forest for the iTrees....

    The iPhone is but a piece of a larger "entertainment" puzzle. Mobile
    entertainment to be specific. Take the Apple TV and iPod, iTunes and now the
    iPhone and of course wireless. Now (and this is speculation on my part) take a
    refreshed iMac it's already has a maximum wide screen size of 24" and looks a lot
    like the HD TV's I see on sale everywhere now a days. So the refresh of the iMac is
    rummored to have a larger screen option and flatter. The rumor mill also says
    that it might be able to detach from the stand to be able to mount on the wall. So
    what does that sound like eh? How about a combination HD TV and computer
    system that can run both OSX and Windows!?! Now you have a more complete
    picturre in which Apple owns the Livingroom.....and since you have a mobile
    iPhone you don't need to even get up to asnwer your phne while watching some
    HD entertainment on you iMac and Apple TV.

    That if very likely why the iPhone is not going for the standard feature set because
    those features don't fit into the picture as well as the feature set Apple decided
    on.

    Pagan jim
    Laff
  • OMG... enuff already!

    nt
    ruped24
  • Oh come one...

    The same thing was said about the $399 iPod when it first came out, and look at it now.

    You forget Adrian, that with Apple you can't always tell. They don't just enter a boxed market and try and compete - they create new markets. They innovate. They deliver.

    Is there a current handset on the market that has an interface like the iPhone, with a built in real iPod and internet browser? Is there a current handset with hasn't chosen to go with the less is more motto and NOT include all the useless features that everyone on ZDNet are complaining do not exist in the iPod? No? Exactly. That is why it is hard to see the target audience, because a similiar device does not exist. The worst way you can react to this is to be negative. Don't buy an iPhone if you don't want one. Just quit moaning. Your articles are usually quite postive for many different technologies, and I enjoy reading them. I think the iPhone has to be the first device which has received so much dedicated negative press from you, which, considering all the actual crap being released these days, is a bit sad, isn't it?
    ross2000
    • Excellent points

      Note how Adrian never discusses the cool technology in the phone. OS X operating system, AJAX and Web 2.0 for application development, multi-touch, accelerometers, ease of use, etc.

      Nope, it's all negative. He sounds more and more like a man desperately trying to justify himself.
      frgough
    • But Adrian IS making good points

      [i]That is why it is hard to see the target audience, because a similiar device does not exist[/i]

      It foolish to get into spending money developing a product without knowing who your target audience is. Apple targeted the right group with the iPod, and are targeting a different group with the Mac, so you know they already have a set demographic of people they will market this to.
      John Zern
      • but the target market for the iPod is everyone on earth...

        likewise the target market for the iPhone version 1.0 is every man, woman and child with lots of disposable income[Period].. not just tech heads and business people like other smartphones target. this means that Apple's potential market is much larger than other smartphones and as a result the buying criteria and resulting product design is much different than other smartphones.

        just a note teenagers with a part-time job have lots of disposable income.. my nephew just bought a playstation plus all the add-ins for $1000 Canadian from his part-time job earnings

        version 2.0 will likely target this market plus others with less disposable income.. as usually is the case iPhone version 1.0 will become the middle road offering at a price cut, there will be one with less features for less and version 1.0 with more features than version 1.0 that will cost the same as version 1.0. by that time Apple will add any features that the see as necessary.. many of which can be added through software..
        doctorSpoc