iPhone Demand Measurement

You’ve been hearing a lot about how many ‘potential customers’ there are for the Apple iPhone. In fact, AT&T’s COO, Randall Stephenson, was bragging earlier at a Lehman Brothers conference that over 1 million people have requested further information on the device from AT&T/Cingular’s website. He goes on to state that pent up demand may be more than investors are estimating.

I’d like to take a look at it another way. I believe a very large portion of those contacts are from people like myself – someone who is interested in knowing more about the iPhone because it’s a cool gadget, not to potentially buy one. In fact, I couldn’t even buy one if I wanted to. I’m in Canada and AT&T definitely does not offer services up here. I’d imagine just about every gadget enthusiast has signed up for more information, and many of them won’t be from the United States, much less an AT&T customer. It’s like this – I go and read reviews of computer cases, video cards, hard drives, and more. Am I in the market for all of those things when I’m reading the reviews? No. I’m just after information for the sake of information and I enjoy reading about technology. I’m sure many are in the same situation with the iPhone.

It’s also like how people read car magazines and watch videos of the Bugatti Veyron. Are they going to buy one? No. But it’s fun and interesting.

I think it’ll be the opposite. I’m sure Apple and AT&T will receive a warm welcome for the iPhone, but with a large part of the potential market being teenagers, who need their parents to actually shell out the money for not only the expensive device, but the more expensive plan to go along with it, I don’t think it’s going to sell terribly quickly – at least no where near the 1 million ‘potential customers’ mark.


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