You Want a Phone with that iPod?

by Chris Howard Jun 06, 2007

At MacWorld San Francisco, 2007, on demoing the iPhone, Steve pitched it squarely at the smartphone market. Since then many have theorized if, foremost, it’s a phone or iPod.

Well, the new iPhone commercials answer that question: the iPhone really is an iPod. Apple should have called the it the “MacPod” as it is just an upsized iPod. “You want a phone with that order of iPod?”

In each of the three new ads, the iPhone is first pitched at the iPod market.

Looking at the ad “Never Been an iPod”—which clearly tells us the iPhone is an iPod—the sequence of features shown is:
- Music
- Video
- Photos
- Phone

In the ad “How to,” it’s:
- Music
- Email
- Web
- Phone

And in the ad “Calamari” (Bill Murray should have voiced this one—he would have made the kraken/calamari joke funny), it’s:
- Video
- Maps
- Phone

Each of these ads say, “Lookee! It’s our new iPod and look what it can do!”

Three ads that emphasize iPod features first and foremost, then the extras such as email, web, and maps. Then each ad finishes with the “one more thing,” that it’s also a phone.

So, clearly Apple will be targeting the upper end of the iPod market. Now you’re probably like, “Wow! What a surprise…not!” Bear with me. smile

If Apple is targeting the top end iPod buyer—and why wouldn’t it—what are the implications?

- No souped-up iPods soon. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, and now I have these ads to back me up: Apple won’t cannibalize its new top end iPod market (i.e. the iPhone) with an iPod with the same features, sans phone, anytime soon. Do the nanos play video? No? Play (real) games? No. Apple likes clear differentiation. And yes they could add (real) games and video to the nano, despite the experience not being the same. And therein lies a clue. Each iPod is physically and visually different, which clearly differentiates it in the iPod stable. Would Apple bring out an iPod that looked the same as the iPhone, considering it is in the iPod stable? Very unlikely before the iPhone is established.

- This iPhone is seriously multi-market. Steve talked about getting 1% of the mobile phone market but that 1% may not be just people who are looking for a phone. There’ll be plenty of folks who want the best iPod and/or the one that plays widescreen video.

- It will succeed as an iPod and thus as a mobile phone. As long as Apple keeps marketing the iPhone as an iPod, it’ll have no problem getting enough “mobile phone” market share. Now I put that in quotes because that’s what Apple will tell us, i.e., it’s people looking for a phone; however, we’ll know it’s also people who wanted the best iPod.

While I’m here, I must add that the interface continues to impress. Any chance maybe Leopard’s secret feature will be a version of its physics? It’s already creeping into iTunes with Cover Flow view. It’s reasonable to expect that flicking gestures using a mouse would be possible. It is almost working in Cover Flow. It probably just needs something like…um…some sort of core animation….

Well, as you might gather, the subliminal RDF encoded in that pleasant and catchy music track on the iPhone ad has had its effect on me. Although I couldn’t care less about the phone, that interface wows. And seeing one of my fave ever movies (Zoolander) and fave ever actors (Owen Wilson) on it means I’ve just got to have one! (Yes, I know the movie doesn’t come with the iPhone—it’s just that darn RDF.)

I imagine by next MWSF an iPhone will probably be your entry ticket. Every Apple geek worth his vial of Steve sweat will have one by then.


  • They are the best ads apple has ever made.

    Benji had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 927
  • No, they are not.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 371
  • Not in terms of “good ads”, at least. But they do make it clear what the device is actually able to do and how, and that has always been rare in Apple’s ads.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 371
  • Here’s the thing, I spent 20 minutes telling my dad about the iPhone, showing him pics and videos right when it was announced, he couldn’t care less. Now he sees the ads and acts like this is the second coming of Jesus bragging to everyone how great the iPhone is and how he’ll get one when his contract expires. Yeah the ads did their job, Apple made a marketing machine out of him.

    Tanner Godarzi had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 70
  • The problem I see with your theory is that in addition to paying for the Iphone you are also paying Cingular for the next 2 years. Which is alot to ask if you just want a better Ipod.

    simo66 had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 78
  • I’ve always thought that it was an iPod first - and iPod users would be the ones willing to pay for its extra features.  Provided they aren’t contracted out to a different phone provider as I am.

    It could also be a Game Boy replacement.  But it is the top-of-the-line iPod, it isn’t the top phone, the top PDA, nor the top Game Boy.  And it can’t offer better teen communication without a market share first.

    HowardBrazee had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 10
  • Of course, ads don’t need to show what phones do and how phones work.  So they leave that as an afterthought, hooking us on the features.

    HowardBrazee had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 10
  • Beaver, what are the best ads apple’s made would you say?

    Benji had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 927
  • simo66, it’s not a lot to ask to pay Cingular for 2 years where you’d otherwise be paying someone else. That contract cost isn’t something the iPhone is going to add to the customer’s life (if you can wait til contract end), it’s a cost they’re already paying monthly(possibly even to cingular.

    Of course, we have yet to see the contracts being offered with iPhone.

    Benji had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Some that spring to mind:

    The Think Different Ad (Here’s to the Crazy Ones)
    The Original Macintosh Ad
    Power Mac Cube Ad
    Crowd Control
    Newton - Meeting
    Newton - Restaurant
    The Knowledge Navigator Spots (no, those are not really ads…)

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 371
  • The only problem with your argument, Chris, and for Apple’s claim that it’s the most advance iPod yet, is that it’s 4GB of storage for $500 plus a two year contract with AT&T (they didn’t pick the Death Star as their logo for no reason).  And if you want a whopping 8GB of storage, it’ll set you back $600 plus a contract with the Death Star.

    No, they’re better off pushing it as a fancy shmancy phone that plays music.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Not such a fan of the old ‘classic’ adverts really. It’s a matter of taste, I guess. In my opinion these do about the best job of advertising the product of any ads I’ve ever seen.

    Benji had this to say on Jun 06, 2007 Posts: 927
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