The iPhone hype starts again?

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The blogosphere is abuzz again with the impending launch of an ‘improved, 3G version’ of the iPhone. The extent to which websites go speculating about what is next, is amazing. It’s only a handset! But true to style with all Apple products, the PR they get is to die for.

One website that tracks imports into the US, reports that Apple Inc. and its logistics partners have imported 188 ocean containers of a product type never before declared on its shipping manifests. They have even provided details of the shipment: Quanta Computer a supplier for Apple, delivered 20 ocean containers of merchandise, described on the Bills of Lading as “electric computers,” to Apple, Inc. Neither Apple, Quanta, nor any other company has ever used this product description for any shipments to the U.S. Imagine the lengths people go to, to snoop out any information of a mobile phone!

Reports have also indicated that the dwindling supply of the iPhone in the US, is a sign of Apple readying for the new launch. Steve Jobs stated objective was to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008. Last year they sold 5.5 million phones (since June) and in contrast have sold 1.7 million phone in the first 3 months of the year. So 8mn more to go this year. It is going to be tough and Apple may have to tweak their strategies going forward. Apparently, Nokia, the world’s largest maker of cellphones, sells more phones every week than Apple has sold since the iPhone’s introduction.

The iPhone has had its impact on the way people use their mobiles – from mere calling/texting, it has enabled heavy data usage. But the competition is tough and in many avatars. In India, they will have their task cut out with brands like Nokia enjoying cult status.

Nevertheless, even though mobile phones have become personal statement, it is amazing to see such hype about a brand’s every move. The pre-launch hype of iPhone is reported to have garnered US$ 400 million worth of free publicity! And now we have people spying on imports and eagerly waiting for an upgrade of the phone. What a position to be in! It means living up to the reputation, watching out for competition, keeping the consumer interests in mind and making a successful business of it! Apple has its task cut out.

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