By Harry McCracken | Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 10:44 am
Of course, it’s almost always an utter mob scene in there–and tonight, it was no more crazy than usual. I commented on the lack of Verizon-induced insanity to a salesguy. “We’re surprised ourselves,” he said.
When Apple releases a new iPhone, there are supposed to be hordes of folks willing to show up at the crack of dawn and wait for hours to get their hands on one. Everybody knows that. But this time, it didn’t happen–across the country, people did show up to buy Verizon iPhones, but not in droves.
Why the startling degree of normalcy? A few theories…
People are waiting for the iPhone 5. Even if you’re a Verizon fan who’s been jonesing for an iPhone for four years, you might decide to bide your time just a few months more to see what Apple releases this summer rather than committing to a two-year contract on the soon-to-be-replaced 4. In fact, the years of buildup to the release of the Verizon iPhone 4 make a wait of just a few months more–for a phone we can be pretty positive will be on Verizon from day one–seem like nothing.
The iPhone 4 has no novelty about it. It’s an excellent phone–probably the best all-around one on the market–but it contains no surprises, and if you’re seen carrying one in public, nobody will be impressed. Perhaps that decreases the desire of zillions of people to get one at the very earliest opportunity. Maybe people will buy them in the coming weeks at Apple and Verizon stores at their convenience–happy to get them, but not in any way frenetic. (From the first iPhone launch back in 2007, the most practical thing to do has always been to avoid the first-morning rush–by the end of day one, you’ve been able to stroll in and buy a phone with little or no waiting.)
The people who were dying for a Verizon iPhone successfully preordered one. The Verizon iPhone may have garnered more preorders than any iPhone on any one carrier ever–which presumably means that it’s off to a decent start even if there was were no stampedes at the stores.
The “I’ll buy an iPhone the moment it comes to Verizon, but no way I’m moving to AT&T contingent!” was smaller than we expected. Maybe people were bluffing–either they did move to AT&T, or they’re not as interested in the iPhone as they claimed.
The magic of the iPhone is wearing off, at least a little. If there’s an iPhone XXXV, it may sell extremely well–but I can’t imagine it will induce the sort of hysteria that the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and AT&T iPhone 4 did.
I tend to think that huge sales and first-day wackiness aren’t synonymous: It’s entirely possible that the Verizon iPhone 4 will end up selling just as well as the AT&T one, but in a more low-key manner. Any theories?