On iPhone Sales and Predictions


iPhone 4 (no idea why I'm using such an old model)

Ever since I predicted poor success for the iPhone, I’ve wanted to return and try to figure out why I was so wrong. I mean, with Apple recently becoming the first company worth $1 trillion, it’s pretty clear I was really far off in my prediction. I still can’t say for sure why I was so wrong, but I can make some hindsight guesses that are probably accurate. And 11 years later seems as good a time as any to reflect on how dumb I can be.

What I’m wondering on this, though, is why get a phone with all those features if it is going to cost that much? I’ll admit that I’m probably not the target demographic for this whiz-bang gadget. I like to get single task gadgets for the most part

256gb iPhone X for $1149.00

Well, clearly most people are happy with multi-function, high-priced devices. As recent iPhone X pricing has shown, people clearly do appear willing to pay even more than the $500 the original iPhone listed for. Yes, the camera is less capable than a dedicated camera. And the music player had (at the time) less storage than the dedicated player did (but oddly enough, as much as any dedicated media player does now). And I remember reading at the time that the audio quality of the iPhone was less grand than what the best sounding phones offered. What I didn’t get then (and even hinted at  but didn’t realize) was that people don’t want “The Best!” in most categories – they are just looking for “Good enough.” And while I don’t shop that way (much to my wife’s consternation), I think it’s safe to say that most people do. I may look for statistics to back up this guess, but I’m not too worried about later finding out I’m wrong on this one.

Will the iPhone hit Jobs’ stated 1% of cell-phone sales (10 million iPhones) by the end of 2008?

. . .

Unless Apple improves the camera, offers a higher memory option, and improves the data-transfer speed (set for 2.5G speeds currently), I don’t see Apple hitting much better than maybe half their target. Come back in 23 months and see how I do.

Well, let’s see how  I did here:

Annual Apple iPhone sales

Hmmm. 11.63 million in 2008. Well, I’d say Jobs’ goal was met. And the growth since shows these iPhones may just have some legs to them after all. So I was way off. About as wrong as I was back when Motorola introduced the PowerPC microprocessor and I predicted to a friend that this CPU would take off and become a global powerhouse. I think maybe I need to stay out of the technology pundit business.