By all accounts, iPhone is going to be popular. Really popular. At the risk of generating even more hype for a phone that's bound to be a monster commercial success (at least initially) it's worth discussing acquisition strategies for the shiny silver and black bar.
Some people are beginning to stress about inventory levels, forecasting, lines, shortages and other issues related to getting the shiny new device but is it being blown out of proportion?
Here's what we know: iPhone will be available for sale on Friday, 29 June 2007 – three weeks from today – at Apple retail and online store and AT&T retail stores. But that's where the details end.
Some have suggested the iPhone will available late Thursday night at a "midnight madness" sale reminiscent the old midnight launch parties that Elite Computers in Cupertino, CA would host to sell new versions of the Mac OS.
While unconfirmed, midnight Thursday sales are possible at AT&T's standalone stores. Apple's retail locations are unlikely to have midnight madness sales because they are located inside malls and subject to mall leases and contracts. Most mall leases don't allow for off hour openings because of issues with HVAC, security and liability.
IFOAppleStore quotes Steve Jobs as expecting "huge crowds" and mentions that AT&T stores may receive "perhaps fewer than 40 units" - something I couldn't confirm. AT&T reps that I spoke with each gave different answers about availability, but one thing was certain: none of them new anything solid. "Check back with us on the 28th" was a familiar refrain.
Update: Solutions Research Group has conducted a survey of potential iPhone buyers and concludes that an average iPhone buyer will be: 31 years old with an average household income of US$75,600. Read more on Gizmodo.
Update2: Engadget is citing two sources that say Apple will have 3 million iPhones ready at launch so all this queuing may be entirely unnecessary.