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Overcoming a Weak Link: The iPhone Story

13 Jan

Overcoming a Weak Link: The iPhone Story

This week Verizon announced that they would be adding the iPhone to their portfolio. This addition had been long-rumored but the timing was never set in stone. Well, it’s finally happened and people all over the country are rejoicing. The iPhone has long been joked about as the greatest phone that couldn’t make calls. I’m guessing there are literally thousands of stories online about people in various cities – and especially at different tech based events (SXSW Interactive 2009 anyone?) – that couldn’t make calls or send text messages due to the crush of traffic on AT&T’s crippled network. This week Jon Stewart poked a bit of fun at the situation on The Daily Show.

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Verizon iPhone Announcement
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As a marketer it’s been interesting to watch the story of the iPhone unfold over the last few years. It goes against every marketing case study I’ve ever read for Apple to have been so successful despite such a glaring flaw in the infrastructure. It would be akin to BMW releasing an amazing sleek car with unparalleled options and accessories paired with an engine that only started and ran intermittently. Who would buy that car? That is essentially the same thing we’re seeing with the iPhone. It is the biggest selling smartphone in the U.S. despite the known problems of  AT&T’s network.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m curious to see if Verizon’s presence in the iPhone market makes a difference. Will the defectors ease some of the tension on AT&T’s network or will the crush of new traffic put Verizon in the same boat? Is the grass always greener? We’re about to find out.

No matter what happens, Apple has proven that they are bulletproof when it comes to the iPhone. Despite being on the nation’s most loathed wireless carrier, and even with the much-ballyhooed reception problems that supposedly plagued the iPhone 4 upon release, they continue to stand alone at the top of the smartphone mountaintop. I’ve tried to make sense of why that is, as it really does goes against the accepted wisdom of product marketing and user experience.

That said, I’m a proud iPhone user. The iPhone 4 is my third upgrade. I guess I drank the Kool-Aid too.

Do you think the availability of the iPhone on Verizon will make any difference on AT&T’s network? Do you think Verizon is better prepared to handle the crush of traffic?