A trilogy of iPhone nonsense.

Even with the tremendous success of the iPhone’s launch, it was clear there’d still be spin-meisters out there to take it all away.

And yet, how could they? The phone is a sellout almost everywhere, sold upwards of 700,000 units, and received glowing reviews. Further, reviews coming in after the first couple of days continue to remain overwhelmingly positive.

Still, the naysayers have to tear at something, and with a success this big you just knew the arguments would be pretty ridiculous. But I must admit even I was surprised at just how weak this stuff is. Let’s take a look at three beauties…

The iPhone misses its (mysterious) sales target!

It’s well known iPhone sales in the first few days are a rousing success (see above link indicating perhaps 700,000 units), but not according to The Street’s Scott Moritz. According to Scott, the number inside Apple and on Wall Street was a little higher:

“The sales goal — or so-called whisper number — both internally at Apple and on Wall Street was a nice round 1 million phones.”

Aw, they didn’t make it. Poor Apple! The iPhone failed.

But from where did this “whisper number” originate? Well, Scott doesn’t say, but he writes for The Street, and with a name like that you can bet they’ve got sooper seekrit sources that cannot fail. Yet, Google all you want and you’ll see no one predicting anywhere near 1 million units. In fact, no one estimated even half that. Scott himself predicted under 400,000.

Having seen the best estimates for how many iPhones actually sold, and then inventing a “whisper number” above it to imply the launch came up short, we see perhaps the real reason for Scott’s article:

“Missing this hugely ambitious target is hardly a failure, but competitors in the wireless sector are certainly breathing a little easier.”There’s a lot of rejoicing at Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile,” says IAG Research’s Roger Entner.”

and

“”For the other carriers, it’s not a game changer. It’s business as usual again,” says Entner.”

So Scott and Roger have teamed up to give the other carriers a booster shot. Indeed, Sprint and Verizon stock went up on the news, which was likely the intent of the article to begin with. Looks like a little stock manipulation to me.

Sprint and Verizon are in trouble, no matter how easily swayed a few investors may be by a dubious article such as Scott’s. Half of iPhone’s sales went to non-AT&T customers. This means perhaps as many as 350,000 clients just left Sprint and Verizon for a competitor. And they did this to get a phone that neither carrier can offer for five years! Further, the smartphone clients who left for AT&T are money-spenders, using the high-cost accounts and services a carrier can least afford to lose.

This is bad news for Sprint and Verizon any way you look at it; only a complete moron would think it’s “business as usual.”

Apple and AT&T demand SSN for activation!

This story from Michael Tiemann at CNET is apparently intended to panic (infuriate?) us:

“Apple and AT&T are demanding customers reveal SSNs to activate their iPhones. That should be the lead of every technology and business article written this week.”

Ooh. They’re not requesting your SSN, they’re demanding it. Sounds kinda spooky when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Michael believes that identity theft will run rampant from requiring the use of a SSN for a credit check. Since SSNs have been part of credit checks for ages, I’m not sure why AT&T’s would be more susceptible to foul play than any other. The answer, it seems, is that it isn’t.

Michael’s real problem is that he just doesn’t like AT&T, and goes to great lengths to explain why. The gist of it is this:

“The company is a defendant in a class-action lawsuit after a federal judge denied AT&T’s motions to have the case dismissed. The case alleges that AT&T gave the NSA “unchecked backdoor access to its communications network and its record databases,””

Serious charges, indeed. But then again the case is ongoing, and what’s more this has nothing to do with getting a credit check for a cell phone that all carriers perform. It also has nothing to do with Apple. Michael also says:

“Before writing me off as a privacy kook,…”

I don’t see you as a kook, but I wish I did. Instead, I see you as a “journalist” with an axe to grind who doesn’t mind using a scare tactic (imbecilic as it is) about identity theft associated with the iPhone to sucker readers into your own personal diatribe against AT&T. Personally, I’d like you better if you were just a kook.

The iPhone costs $17,670!

Finally, here’s another gem from The Street. The iPhone has been criticized for it’s price ever since it was announced. However, now that it’s selling so well maybe the price needs to be, shall we say, “adjusted?” I mean, why quote something like, you know, the price, when you can think big? That’s just what Brett Arends does in giving us the true cost of the iPhone.

As a reasonable, intelligent human being you may have done your homework and figured the cost in the same manner that Brett initially describes:

“A $599 iPhone comes with a minimum service plan of $60 a month for two years. Outlay: $2,039.”

Since other smartphones also require monthly plans (usually $80 or more) for two years, you might even think the iPhone was right in line with a typical smartphone cost. Ha! Foolish you. Luckily you have The Street’s wisdom and guidance to set you straight.

First, you didn’t even figure in taxes:

“But if it’s not a work expense, a customer in, say, the 25% tax bracket actually had to earn $2,720 to pay the bill.”

I’m sure you do this with everything else you purchase, so why not the iPhone? Because you forgot, that’s why. You know, Brett won’t always be here to remind you of these things.

But wait, what if you also invested that money for 35 years? Then what? Brett will tell you:

“Take an iPhone customer who’s 30 years old and is not maxing out contributions to his or her 401(k) retirement plan (few are).In that case, the $2,720 could have been invested tax free. Earning a pretty reasonable 5.5% after inflation over the next 35 years, it would have grown to … $17,670.”

Now don’t you feel like an ass? The freakin’ thing costs nearly $18K!!

Now that your retirement funds are cut short, are we talking about simply pinching a penny here or there during retirement? No! I’m sure if you’ll let Brett work the numbers we’re talking the difference between a retirement villa in Florida on a golf course with nothing to do but work on your distance, and an apartment in North Dakota working evenings at Wal-Mart handing out carts to shoppers with that damn smiley face pinned to your chest.

Listen to Brett. He knows. Numbers don’t lie.

Or get the iPhone, enjoy it, and realize that a cell phone is not a particularly important piece of anyone’s retirement plans.

So there you have it. A tragic trilogy of iPhone articles that it’s just as well appeared in print, because even ILM couldn’t work up believable special effects to go with the these pathetic plot lines.

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