I was in two minds about visiting the Airtel store in Bangalore last night to check out the response to the midnight launch of iPhone. Half expecting a handful of buyers and curios onlookers I decided against it since it would be real dampener for the Apple fan in me. Some of the news channels decided to cover it Live. Headlines Today had a full hour dedicated to the launch starting 12 midnight – nothing new for them since they also dedicate news slots even for Praveen Kumar getting into a street fight in Meerut. The blogging scene was nothing like the dedicated live blogging for Macworld. Twitter had a few tweets on the iPhone launch from the stores in Delhi & Mumbai. Among the bloggers, RealGeek did a great job in posting live photos from a Gurgaon mall. (Images: RealGeek.com)
The first iPhone buyer in India (from Airtel) is a girl called Swati Singh; there was also a portly gentleman seen on TV receiving the first phone from Vodafone. Whoever said geeks would be the first to grab the Jesus Phone? I was watching it on the telly and following the live feeds from the web. More coverage here.
The TV channels had the typical hysteric reporters. Live reports from Mumbai and Delhi were featured on CNN IBN. The reporter from Headlines Today, one Shaswati Choksi was totally the wrong person to cover the event. She kept trashing the phone and was condescending to boot. She kept repeating that there are many phones with better features at a lower price. Sigh. And the channel, in its typical style kept repeating the same visual and graphics. In a pluses & minuses of iPhone story they kept screaming that it does not have the ability to forward messages, cannot record video, cannot transfer files through Bluetooth and so on. Well, the first 2 are possible through 3rd party apps now and are nothing that an update to the iPhone software cannot fix. The iPhone may not be flawless but none of the other comparable phones are as intuitive. The reporter was simply not objective in her reporting.
Aside from the media coverage from the iPhone pricing and comparison with other phones, isn’t it the first time that a device of this nature is getting such prime coverage in India? The kind of coverage that no amount of advertising can buy? If you were a Nokia or HTC brand manager you would give an arm and a leg for this kind of coverage for your next model. The N96 has already been featured in the news, but will it have the hysteria that the iPhone launch had?