What’s the deal with new phone launches lately? The last couple of major phone releases have been full of problems and frustrations for consumers.
When Sprint launched the HTC EVO 4G on June 4th, the Sprint registration system was overwhelmed at points and many customers were turned away. Although this didn’t appear to have an impact on sales, as Sprint oversold production, it was definitely a difficult customer experience and not something that Sprint or HTC wanted to deal with.
Now fast forward to today and the Apple iPhone 4 launch with AT&T has experienced very similar problems. Reportedly, due to very high consumer demand AT&T registration servers were unable to handle the high volumes of people that turned out to pre order the newest member of the iPhone family. Apparently the problem only seems to exist on AT&T’s side although any registration services that route through AT&T are also impacted, including Apple’s own connection directly to AT&T’s servers.
There is good news though. Best Buy and RadioShack who are also selling the iPhone 4, but are doing so outside of the AT&T registration system, report that their presell efforts weren’t experiencing the problems that other services were. The only issue that some might find to be a bit of a turnoff is that Best Buy is requiring $50 down to pre order. If you don’t mind that, Best Buy might just be the right option for you.
There are some who are speculating about the impact that could be felt on iPhone 4 sales if this problem persists beyond the actual phone release date. We know that Apple customers are very loyal and assume that once many of them make up their mind to make the purchase that they won’t waver, however, there is a competitor out there who’s upcoming release might disrupt things a bit.
Reports suggest that Motorola is looking to release their new Droid on or around the 24th of June, placing it in a head to head competition against the iPhone 4. I wonder about this strategy as year after year phones that release near the same time as the newest iPhone have a high fail rate. Take the Palm Pre for example. It was a great phone, but couldn’t compete with the built in momentum that Apple product releases seem to have automatically. As a result, it was never able to gain its own momentum and never took off the way that it should have.
I think there is little doubt that iPhone 4 will exceed expectations as all other models have before it. Apple is a marketing machine and one thing they do very well is creating a personal connection between their products and their customers. That personal connection transcends temporary issues with ordering. I would wager, however, that behind the scenes Apple is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on AT&T to get their issues resolved quickly.
So what do you think will happen due to all of the ongoing problems that AT&T is having? Problems such as service issues, the recent news about security holes with the iPad 3G, and now this registration issue could further damage a relationship that might already be on the rocks. We’d love to get your feedback so please leave us your comments.
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