Along with introducing an all-new iPod line yesterday, Apple announced it was immediately dropping the price of the 8 GB iPhone from $599 to $399 in an effort to capitalize on the iPhone’s popularity and market position during the upcoming holiday season. The move sent a ripple throughout the entire technology industry…and about 10 minutes later angry letters apparently began pouring into Apple from current iPhone owners upset they’d just paid (in most cases) a $300 premium on a phone they’ve owned at most a couple of months.
Now in an open letter on the Apple Web site, Steve Jobs has issued a bit of a mea culpa: while sticking to his company’s decision that now is the right time to drop the iPhone price, Jobs understands why current iPhone customers are upset and wants to make amends. “. Our early customers trusted us,” Jobs wrote, “and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.”
To that end, Apple is promising everyone who purchased an iPhone from Apple or AT&T and who is not receiving a rebate or other consideration will be eligible for a $100 store credit towards any product at Apple’s retail or online stores. The exact details are still being worked out, and Apple promises to post the complete deal next week.
Although $100 in store credit isn’t quite the same thing as $200 never spent in the first place, Apple’s move should help soothe raw nerves. And as Jobs himself points out: “There is always change and improvement, and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever. This is life in the technology lane.” And very, very, few people can claim to have purchased an iPhone and not known they were paying a hefty premium for a brand new gadget.