iPhone and the Chasm

There is one important thing to notice in all the activity and development in the iPhone world over the last few months. It takes us back to the discussion about the Chasm and the Tipping Point. The attempt of Apple to increase the adoption of iPhone can be seen in two ways:

First, Apple is trying to take the product across the Chasm. This brings up a case when companies take steps to push its product across the chasm. When this happens at a normal pace in the technology world, the mavens act like an important force to enable this push. But when companies try and force this by measures like price cuts, they are always taking the risk of loosing the support from the early adopters. For Apple, the risk was relatively low because of its track record of creating design geniuses over the years and the die-hard loyalty of the customers. 

Second, Apple is trying to increase the number of early adopters. If you see the potential size of the cellphone market around the World, having a million users for your product is not even scratching the surface. So one way to look at this is the early adoption base that Apple is trying to create in order to have a more profound force to take it across the chasm, may be in a few years.

I am more willing to go with the latter argument. It is true that Apple iPods have been a massive success and people pay a considerable premium to buy one of these. But when it comes to cellphones, the ballgame changes a little. We are looking at a two year contract with a minimum of $1200 for cellphone plan over this time. More important, we all know that in these two years, the iPhone and the likes would have taken at least a few major jumps both in terms of design and features, and the early adopters will not be able to move to the newer device till the contract ends (just look at an iPod from two years back and compare it to what is offered today). So I think it is a good strategy for Apple to get as many happy early adopters with it as possible so that when it comes out with the next version of iPhone in more models and variations to target a bigger market, it gets enough push from these mavens to cross the chasm. 

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