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iPhone 7 Launch: Between the Lines

As the dust settles, we scrutinize the live streaming of Apple’s much-awaited launch event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco frame by frame to bring you the salient aspects of the new iPhone 7’s launch strategy. Here’s what most people may have missed or overlooked amidst all the reviews, live comments, and the brouhaha:

Something bigger in store for the future.

Needless to say, most of us were expecting a more dramatic update to the iPhone considering it has been three years since the last redesign, but Apple seems to have a more long-sighted plan. Next year marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. In hindsight, it is more apparent now that Apple would be saving its big new launch for 2017, and according to rumors, it’s indeed going to be big. So instead of fulfilling on a redesign overdue, they launched flashy updates like Airpods and a double-lensed camera which have received fairly polarized reactions.

People always resist change, this isn’t terribly surprising. But here’s the thing: Strategically, now is the perfect time to make this huge change and wait another year before launching a redesigned iPhone.

The pricing strategy is weirdly genius.

So the iPhone 7 begins at $649 and the iPhone 7 Plus at $769. Apple claims they haven’t changed the price from iPhone 6 and 6s. What’s new is the elimination of the 16GB phone- both iPhones are offered in three configurations (32GB, 128GB,256 GB)  with an update on previous iPhones, now starting only from 32GB. So the older phones aren’t getting cheaper. A misleading price assortment if you’re looking for the ‘best value’ iPhone.

Walk into an Apple store from next Friday with $649 in your pocket, and you could walk out with either a 128GB iPhone 6s, a 32GB iPhone 6s Plus or a 32GB iPhone 7- the best and obvious choice being iPhone7.

Also, the highlight of the launch is the new Jet Black finish. So you still have to pay $100 more to get the ‘It’ phone. So what may look confusing and senseless will actually be driving people to at least get the latest entry level option and desire more. Retailers, please take notes.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have clear demarcations in offerings. With half of the promising new camera updates only in the Plus, which won’t be offered right away, Apple may have set a smart anticipatory differential between the two.

Apple embraces Retail’s new favorite model: Subscription Commerce.

While this is not a new initiative by Apple( it started with 6S), it is even more successfully  complementing this launch’s objectives. As discussed above Apple will surely want 6S users to upgrade, late adopters to grab the 7S edition and the unconvinced lot to look forward to the bigger launch in 2017. The Apple Upgrade Program gets customer loyalty and maintains a continuous interest. With $27 and $32 monthly installment plans, it will get people opting for the subscription-based upgrade more than ever before. For higher-capacity phones, and especially for a phone that costs $969(iPhone 7 plus 256GB), a contract buy might be your most sensible option after all.

Can this be inspiring and inspired from one of 2015-2016’s biggest trends in retail strategies? We believe so.

Of course we’ll talk about Fashion and Retail.

Apple Inc. is more fashion savvy than one might think. Remember rose gold? That was a major jewelry trend that started in 2013, embraced by Apple making its widespread in 2014, preceding Pantone’s Color of the Year announcement of rose quartz being one the two predominant colors last year.

Could it be a coincidence with the ultra glossy Jet Black? We think not.

Black was buzzing as an unorthodox summer color trend in 2015 and with the introduction and hype around Vantablack, the blackest black material discovered last year, it would make an obvious choice for reintroduction in iPhone’s offerings.

One of spring season’s hottest selling item is the slinky satin black slip dress. From Alexander Wang to Zara, the style in a dull gloss, not unlike the blasted ‘Black’ finish in iPhone 7 and 7S, has been a clear winner everywhere. Fall 2016 fashion runways were dominated by the ‘Vinyl’ look- high-gloss patent leather and PVC, particularly in black.

From MAC’s 2016 Liptensity shade Stallion black to the high gloss beauty looks on the runways, the prevalence of Jet Black did not evade the Beauty sector. Apple seems to know what’s up.

The verdict.

While it may not really be Apple’s ‘best iPhone ever created’, they have managed to make all the right noise and we don’t see the popularity dipping as yet. They are playing the long game and it may just pan out right for their sales.

There are a few major expectations unmatched-like shatter-proof glass and waterproof body (it’s only water resistant now) and of course a new design, Apple may need to get some extra legwork done. And it’s not very comforting knowing Apple still provides products that charge almost $1.00 per gigabyte in 2016. But then again, if we paid less (read: reasonable) for memory we might not have as much pride in ownership.