Corporate Altruism: the iPhone rebate

Yesterday was undeniably a big day for Apple, Inc. After changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc., as their focus had shifted from the Macintosh to their consumer electronics department, Apple has truly outdone itself with the iPhone, on track to sell it's millionth unit at the end of this month, consistently performed with the iPod and iPod nano, and has enjoyed amicable success with the Apple TV. Yesterday, every single iPod was redone.

  • The shuffle's colors changed from a fruity, bright theme to a slightly more neutral, wintry theme. I don't like them, but I'm not going to buy a shuffle anyway :)
  • The iPod nano has been shortened, widened, given a bigger and brighter screen for video playback, a new feature.
  • The iPod (now named iPod classic) has been given a sleek metal casing, and given an unholy amount of storage (80gb for $249, 160 gb for $349)
  • A new model, known as the iPod touch, was introduced (although not shipping until the end of the month). It's essentially an iPhone without the phone. It has wifi though, so touch users get web browsing and Youtube.
  • Most importantly: the iPhone's price has been dropped by $200, and the 4gb version cut out of the lineup (stock has been dropped to $300, so buy it now ;))

This price drop is overall a smart move for Apple. Their production plants are obviously keeping up with demand, with no Wii-ish shortage in the market, and perhaps the iPhone sales aren't going quite up to speed. Dropping the price this early gives people planning room to mull over spending $400 for a device as opposed to the hefty $600 price tag it carried before. Simple economics tells us more people are going to buy it today than Tuesday, and with a purported 280-dollar production cost, Apple is still making 120 dollars off of every new 8gb iPhone sale.

But what about those of us who stood out in line for 4 hours waiting to get our hands on the iPhone that one fateful evening, June 29th? Does Apple just expect us to eat the difference, comforted only by 2 months of poor AT&T EDGE network coverage, crashing web browsers, limited application and community support, and the adoration of fairweather friends who want to fondle your phone? Many people were not happy (myself included), but Apple listened.

From Steve Jobs' open letter to iPhone adopters:

...[W]e need to do a better job taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price. Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.

Therefore, we have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store.

This makes me happy. Apple recognizes that their early adopters are important to the welfare of the company (as is true for most companies), and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure their fans do not feel ill will toward Apple. I haven't decided on how to spend my hundred dollars. Any suggestions?