How Big of a Deal is the iPhone at Wal Mart? Sorry Don, not that Big of a Deal…
iPhonematters has taken a quick glance at what the iPhone at Wal Mart might mean before. But when we took a look at it firm conclusions were hard to reach. did the iPod start selling even more crazily because it was at Wal Mart or was the iPod at Wal Mart because it was selling like crazy? Reaching a firm conclusion either way is difficult. Doesn’t mean Wal Mart isn’t excited to have the iPhone though, check out this screen shot:
Just because iPhonematters can’t quite decide if the Wal Mart made the iPod ubiquitous or if Wal Mart just wanted to get in on the inevitable ubiquity doesn’t mean other folks can’t reach a conclusion. Don Reisenger at CNet is certain that the iPhone at Wal Mart is the move that will take the iPhone clean over the top, ensuring domination of all competitors. Is Don right? Will the iPhone’s mere presence at Wal Mart push RIM, Google and T-Mobile to the curb?
According to Don one of the reasons is Wal Mart’s clientele:
To believe Wal-Mart won’t have a significant impact on the dynamics of the smartphone business is ludicrous. Not only is it the world’s largest retailer, but it also caters to a clientele infatuated with affordable gadgetry. And with an iPhone price tag of just $197 or $297, depending on the version customers pick, I simply don’t think the entry fee will stop anyone from heading to Wal-Mart to pick up an iPhone.
That would certainly be true with a buy once and you’re done deal. Say the iPod touch. But the cost of the iPhone isn’t the initial cash outlay and the reason people don’t run to the iPhone isn’t because they can’t get it at Wal Mart. Savvy users worry about the AT&T network. Cash strapped users worry about the relatively high recurring monthly charges. Luddites wonder why the iPhone doesn’t have turn by turn navigation when other phones do. There’s also a little more to buying a cell phone than heading to the Wal Mart, looking at a non working unit and plunking down the cash. The whole activation thing is a hassle and once you’re getting hassled you’ll just as soon get hassled at an AT&T or Apple store where you don’t have to put up with some kid getting whipped with a hot wheels track next to the toughskins rack.
But surely there has to be more to the reason that the iPhone will dominate because of Wal Mart than the mere presence of the iPhone. Don says there is:
RIM is still an important company in the smartphone space, and we can never count Symbian out. But when we consider that the iPhone is one of the most coveted tech gadgets of the past decade, that it’s relatively affordable, and that it’s available to millions of people in thousands of locations nationwide, I simply don’t see how we can say anymore that RIM and other rivals have the ability to compete
This is interesting. In essence Don is opining that Wal Mart shoppers won’t make the connection that the iPhone’s initial cost (reasonable for a piece of tech like the iPhone) doesn’t reflect the monthly cost (high compared to the cell bills of most Wal Mart folks). It’s a good point, when people walk buy the iPhone and see it sitting in a Wal Mart they’re going to assume it is cheap no matter what. How many times have you been caught in the sucker deal of low initial price only to be turned into profit margin when recurring charges showed up? Need an example? No payments until 2012!
All that out of the way the key to Don’s argument seems to be exclusivity. That notion seems weird when you’re talking Wal Mart because Wal Mart is the antithesis of exclusive. But if only the iPhone is is at Wal Mart while all the competitors are stuck in mall kiosks and corporate stores perhaps Don is on to something. If you’re comparing the iPhone to the RAZR and want a little internet goodness then there is no comparison. Let’s take a look at Don’s spin:
That the iPhone’s availability at Wal-Mart will lead to Apple’s domination in the mobile phone market probably sounds a bit radical, doesn’t it? I can understand that. But when you consider Wal-Mart’s size and importance, along with its decision to ignore devices from every Apple competitor, I think it’s abundantly clear that the opportunities for success for RIM, Google, and the rest are severely diminished.
Okay, so we added the emphasis. But we added the emphasis for a reason. What smartphone was being sold at Wal Mart before the iPhone? Probably a ton of Windows mobile based phones but there was an iPhone competitor that made the Wal Mart debut before the iPhone. And that phone was the T Mobile G1 from Google and HTC. Somehow it seems weird that the iPhone would dominate because it is at Wal Mart while the G1 would just be another phone. More likely Don made a mistake.
In the end it isn’t going to come down to where the iPhone is at or where it isn’t at it will come own to how good the iPhone actually is.
One thing you guys are missing out on is the effect Walmart will have on the development of iPhone applications.
The addition of the iPhone to Walmart’s fantastic merchandise mix has spawned a whole new category of iPhone apps targeting the Walmart shopper.
Here’s a sample from my Top Ten List of Walmart Apps at http://danieldurazo.com/2008/12/29/walmarts-top-ten-iphone-apps/
2. iSmile: Are your teeth missing or misaligned? No need to worry. Choose from a selection of “virtual” smiles and just hold your iPhone in front of your mouth to show off your gleaming new smile!
The Don’s spin mentioned in your article is great.
I don’t have the information about Google and HTC’s G1 phone. Thanks for sharing this.
Buyu, Medyum, Medyumlar, Cinler, Buyuler, Nazar, Fallar, Yildizname, Hipnoz, Telepati, Reankarnasyon, Horoskop, Yorum, Tarot, Palmistry, Numeroloji, Konusunda Lider Site..!