Commentary

Just Another Day At The Apple Store (But Starbucks Adds Buzz)

apple store

No wonder Starbucks was willing to hand out free coffee at the Apple Store Friday morning (to the less than ovewhelming crowd). Is the iPhone losing its buzz? Becoming just another shiny interface in a sea of smartphones?

The commotion at Apple Stores for the release of the iPhone 3G S wasn't as frenzied as past launches of the device. Engadget reported that at the flagship Fifth Avenue location in New York, "the whole line was able to be contained in the elevated portion to the right of the store, no sidewalk necessary."

In New York, at least, the rain may have literally dampened enthusiasm for sitting on the sidewalk all night to get first crack at the new and improved iPhone. Customers were also able to pre-order devices online. And it's not surprising that with each subsequent version, excitement will gradually subside.

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But with the price cut of the existing iPhone 3G to $99, the device is likely to become more ubiquitous than ever. Its exclusivity could be furthered threatened by news today that the Federal Communications Commission plans to investigate exclusive deals between wireless carriers and handset makers, like ATT's agreement with Apple for the iPhone.

All that seems to undermine the carefully-cultivated cachet of Apple products via the savvy marketing and tight control the company is legendary for. Becoming a commodity is a cardinal sin. The trick for Apple is to keep coming out with faster, cooler iterations of the iPhone, or other devices, like a rumored tablet, even as its line of handhand offerings continues to expand. That exclusivity-for-the-masses balance isn't easy to maintain. Just ask Starbucks.

4 comments about "Just Another Day At The Apple Store (But Starbucks Adds Buzz)".
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  1. Steve Smith from Mediapost, June 19, 2009 at 2:43 p.m.

    I can concur with Mark from my own first-hand experience. Walked into the AT&T store here in Delaware at noon and they still had a large box of 32GB iPhone 3G S models in the back and no lines all day. I got my upgrade right away. Last year for the 3G launch I waited four hours online and was one of the last to get one from the depleted supply. The difference was not just a matter of supply. According to the store managers I grilled, there was steady but underwhelming demand all morning.

  2. Jack Ling from Draft FCB, June 19, 2009 at 3:13 p.m.

    illy issimo is so much better than that frapp.

  3. John Capone from Whalebone, June 19, 2009 at 3:57 p.m.

    Saw a line of about five people waiting to get into AT&T on the way to MediPOst HQ this morning. Also, I'll take a nice Illy espresso and a Samsung Slide.

  4. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, June 19, 2009 at 5:36 p.m.

    Because there isn't enough incremental improvement.

    I'll get one oif I hear that the battery lasts 35% longer (as in, a whole day...)

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