AT&T have reported at the CITA wireless industry conference in Orlando, Florida, that over 1 million requests from potential customers have been logged at their website.
Previously known as Cingular, but rapidly being rebranded as AT&T, with the AT&T logo appearing in the top left hand corner of the iPhone in Apple’s Oscars ‘Hello’ ad campaign, the revelation shows the strong consumer interest in the iPhone and its upcoming launch has not abated in the slightest since Jobs’ Macworld keynote and ‘surprise’ iPhone revelation, where the true surprise would have been if Jobs hadn’t announced it.
Interestingly, consumers are a weird bunch who clearly don’t always pay attention to what is said, even if Steve Jobs says it. Why do we say this? Well, it’s clear from a Financial Times report at MSNBC where Randall Stephenson, COO of AT&T said that “Over one million people have asked us to call when this phone is available”.
Given the enormous worldwide free publicity Apple has received for the iPhone, where the availability date was clearly listed as June for the US, late 2007 for Europe and early 2008 for Asia and Australia, why people needed to call AT&T to find out when the iPhone would launch is just surprising – hadn’t they been paying attention to any of the millions of reports on the iPhone, or Apple’s web site or even Steve Jobs’ keynote?
Nevertheless, without consumers there would be no-one buying products and no-one to make them for, so if consumers want to burn up call time to ask AT&T a question they could find out the answer to in a swift click on any search engine of choice, AT&T is hardly going to be worried and probably secretly happy all the cell phone call termination fees and paid airtime used up to ask the question.
As always, analysts are out there suggesting the iPhone is too expensive at US $499 for the 4Gb model, and US $599 for the 8Gb model, and some say that Apple won’t reach their 10 million sales target, especially given that only one carrier in the US, AT&T, will be selling the iPhone (along with sales through Apple stores), and that consumers will wait for the inevitable ‘iPhone 2’ before making the plunge, but this writer's humble opinion is that the analysts who say this simply have no idea what they’re talking about, and that Apple will likely reach their target far sooner than expected and break all records yet again.
What is certain is that consumers are unpredictable, and so to give analysts their due, they could well be right. But this writer will buy an iPhone as soon as it is available in Australia, and can’t wait to get his hands on one… can you?