Apple exec: iPhone "not married" to single-carrier model

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Investment Symposium, Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook stated that the iPhone isn't beholden to the one-carrier strategy used so far, even if it makes the most sense from a business standpoint.



Cook made the observation when asked why Apple hadn't seen fit to offer either an unlocked version or multi-carrier offerings from the outset, noting that the particular conditions of the US and the initial launch made it impractical to try and satisfy every carrier and user. For Americans, Apple would have had to release at least two iPhones -- one for CDMA networks and one for GSM -- potentially making the learning process overly complex for the public.



This model could change over time, he says, but the ultimate plan is to provide the best possible experience early on. The existing tie-in with AT&T gave Apple a large amount of coverage while allowing both companies to be themselves, and a simple experience for first-time users.



"We're not married to any business model," Cook explained. "What we're married to is shipping the best phones in the world."



He added that for some areas to get the iPhone, it might be necessary to drop even staple features of most cellphone services. Some areas rarely if ever offer post-pay (subscription) cellphone service, for example, which would require a setup process devoted solely to prepaid options.



This isn't a sign of things Apple will or won't do in the market, Cook warned investors.



The officer also reiterated that there would always be a certain level of hacking no matter how widespread the phone might be, if simply because the demand exists. When users outside of official areas are "stepping over each other" to import iPhones, that indicates significant potential, he said.



The Apple senior staffer also noted that the iPhone's price cut to $399 during the holidays wasn't just a reaction to customers who thought the device was too expensive. It helped build momentum and a user base for the upcoming SDK, which he said would let programmers "only be limited by [their] imagination."



Beyond the iPhone, Cook acknowledged but downplayed concerns that the market for digital music players was oversaturated and cooling off. In a rare admission, the COO admitted that sales for the iPod shuffle had lagged by 17 percent worldwide during the holidays and was the key factor behind new price cuts that should help rekindle sales.



There was also likely some cannibalization of iPhone sales by the iPod touch, but the iPod sold well and needed to be out in the market to set the groundwork for the Wi-Fi mobile platform it represents, he said.



However, Cook reassured investors and analysts at the Goldman Sachs event by characterizing the iPhone as the company's greatest chance at success to date. Apple is still on track to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008, he said -- a statement that sent the company's share price up over 3 percent in after-hours trading.



The iPhone is already an "incredible accomplishment," he said, but has far more potential in the long term. "I need a word bigger than 'enormous' to describe it."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    Yay! I can have the iPhone soon! Anyways T-Mobile(in US) is wayyyy better than AT&T my bill is usually $50
  • Reply 2 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The iPhone is already an "incredible accomplishment," he said, but has far more potential in the long term. "I need a word bigger than 'enormous' to describe it."



    How about its bigger than Steve's Ego?
  • Reply 3 of 56
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    This model could change over time, he says, but the ultimate plan is to provide the best possible experience early on. The existing tie-in with AT&T gave Apple a large amount of coverage while allowing both companies to be themselves, and a simple experience for first-time users.



    This is what I've said. Apple has only used the carrier lock in to get the iPhone started with a partner who is equally invested in its success. Gives the customer a consistent experience. After the iPhone has proven a success Apple is in a better position to deal with multiple carriers.



    Quote:

    Yay! I can have the iPhone soon! Anyways T-Mobile(in US) is wayyyy better than AT&T my bill is usually $50



    You get what you pay for. T-Mobile's coverage is worse than ATT. T-Mobile has only begun 3G, it will be some time for 3G to expand very far.
  • Reply 4 of 56
    "Apple is still on track to sell its 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, he said "



    Do you guys have a direct quote on this from him?



    Other sources are reporting that he reiterated 10 million in calendar year 2008, not 10 million by years end.



    Could you clarify, I'd love to give you guys the benefit of the doubt but you've gotten this wrong in the past.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    Also, looks like AAPL popped again in after hours based on the reiteration of confidence in selling 10M phones in 2008. It's up about 8% or almost 10 bucks a share from the close yesterday.
  • Reply 6 of 56
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    It helped build momentum and a user base for the upcoming SDK, which he said would let programmers "only be limited by [their] imagination."



    To those who fear Apple will limit iPhone apps.
  • Reply 7 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    It helped build momentum and a user base for the upcoming SDK, which he said would let programmers "only be limited by [their] imagination."



    Oh boy, is this quote ever going to get some mileage on it when the SDK is out.



    Personally I think the apps will be pretty restricted, but even if the SDK is amazingly liberal in giving access to the device, someone will wish that they could install an InputManager for Safari and quote this when they can't
  • Reply 8 of 56
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    How about its bigger than Steve's Ego?



    The..



    [CENTER]STEGO[/CENTER]



  • Reply 9 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MsNly View Post


    The..



    [CENTER]STEGO[/CENTER]







    Thats good. Really good. All hail the STEGO.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    You get what you pay for. T-Mobile's coverage is worse than ATT. T-Mobile has only begun 3G, it will be some time for 3G to expand very far.



    You are correct. You may save 20 bucks but if you live here in NE PA your not going to get any service with t-mobile where AT&T shines.
  • Reply 11 of 56
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    This is what I've said. Apple has only used the carrier lock in to get the iPhone started with a partner who is equally invested in its success. Gives the customer a consistent experience. After the iPhone has proven a success Apple is in a better position to deal with multiple carriers.







    You get what you pay for. T-Mobile's coverage is worse than ATT. T-Mobile has only begun 3G, it will be some time for 3G to expand very far.



    I have a hacked iPhone on T-Mobile's network in Michigan. It sounds comparably better then an iPhone running on AT&T's network in the same area (I have several friends using AT&T). I have no idea why this is the case, and this fact probably is location dependent. Nonetheless, I wouldn't give AT&T a penny if my life depended on it, and I love rubbing it in that my hacked phone sound better. T-Mobile also has better family plan rates.
  • Reply 12 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    To those who fear Apple will limit iPhone apps.



    Does "Stego" agree with Tim's comments??? If it doesn't have his blessings, I doubt if your premise will have any legs, IMHO.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    A monkey could tell that the one-carrier business model doesn't do very much for Apple. They would make a lot more money selling the phone by itself and sorting out other details later.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    They would make a lot more money selling the phone by itself and sorting out other details later.



    I don't think so, Apple is all about simplicity and that doesn't make it easy for the layman.





    or STEGO



    Sorry couldn't help myself
  • Reply 15 of 56
    \
  • Reply 16 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    "Apple is still on track to sell its 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, he said "



    Do you guys have a direct quote on this from him?



    Other sources are reporting that he reiterated 10 million in calendar year 2008, not 10 million by years end.



    Could you clarify, I'd love to give you guys the benefit of the doubt but you've gotten this wrong in the past.



    http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/goldmansachs08/



    The general question about excess iPhone inventory begins around 23:10.



    His quote (25:25):
    Quote:

    We are right on track to where we want to be. We are...the...the 4 million units that we've sold over the first 200 days gives us confidence that we can achieve 10 million units in 2008. I know we've said that before; you've heard us say that before, but I want to make that perfectly clear--that we're--we believe that we are right on track for that.



  • Reply 17 of 56
    I'm so glad to hear that Apple is still on track to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008.



    There were analysts doubting it was possible and saying how many iPhones would need to be sold each month and such drivel. I was just hoping they didn't know anything and merely talking to unsettle Apple investors.



    I realize that it's still too early in the year to say they couldn't reach that goal. I just hope Apple can make some sort of arrangement with a decent China cellphone carrier which would easily make that 10 million mark. But even without China, the SDK and iPhone 2 should boost sales enough to reach the mark. Especially if the iPhone really does become Enterprise ready enough to steal sales from RIM's BlackBerry.



    Me, I'm just happy to see the stock price rise overnight.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    There were analysts doubting it was possible and saying how many iPhones would need to be sold each month and such drivel. I was just hoping they didn't know anything and merely talking to unsettle Apple investors.



    It's just semantics --- there is no difference in what the analysts and apple are saying.



    The analysts are saying that given the current business models, it may be difficult to achieve 10 million iphones.



    Apple is saying that they are maintaining the 10 million iphone target --- even if they have to kill their current business model.
  • Reply 19 of 56
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,979member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    "Apple is still on track to sell its 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, he said "



    Do you guys have a direct quote on this from him?



    Other sources are reporting that he reiterated 10 million in calendar year 2008, not 10 million by years end.



    Could you clarify, I'd love to give you guys the benefit of the doubt but you've gotten this wrong in the past.



    Let's get the semantics out of the way for once.



    When someone says "IN" calender year of..., it MEANS, by the end of the year.



    The reason it means that, is because without giving a specific date during the year, such as June, it means whenever the sales reach that number during the year. And THAT means that the sales can reach the number at the end of January, or the end of December, which is the end of the year.



    Leaving a date nebulous like that is something Apple does all the time, as we are always remarking upon. When Apple says that something will come out during a specific month, we always assume that it means around the end of the month, which is usually the case.
  • Reply 20 of 56
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,979member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    To those who fear Apple will limit iPhone apps.



    His statement does sound much better. Hopefully, it will mean what it sounds like.
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