Apple jacks early iPhone adopters

Reality distortion now 33% off

When Apple first introduced the iPhone, the device was criticized for being too expensive. $599 for a phone? Surely you jest. But the iPhone sold out on its first day, fueled in part by mass media hype, but also by droves of Apple loyalists willing to line up for a taste of the latest iToy.

Something has happened in the two months since the iPhone's release, though. The hype died, and although the iPhone is still a topic of dicussion in geek circles, no one's camping out in line anymore. Early adopters who braved the initial frenzy have had their fill, and although Apple hasn't released sales figures, it appears that a second wave of iPhone-hungry consumers has yet to arrive.

Why else would Apple slash the price of the 8GB iPhone by 33%, knocking it from $599 to just $399?

Price cuts may be common in this business, but not that deep or soon after a product's initial launch. Apple has even discontinued 4GB iPhone models, clearing them out while supplies last for only $299.

More interesting than the question of why Apple would cut prices is why they'd so royally screw early adopters. iFanboys lined up for days to get their hands on iPhones, and just two months later, they've effectively been jacked for $200. Why would Apple, a company famous for its almost cult-like following rabid fans, deliver such a swift kick to the groin of its most most loyal?

I'm not alone in my curiosity, either. There's plenty of chatter regarding the price cut online, and a lot of current iPhone owners are understandably unhappy. Responses run the gamut from disappointed to outraged, some with more colorful language than others. Amazingly, however, some iPhone owners appear to be so deep within Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field that they're unfazed by this slap in the face—as if having Jobs' hand reach into their pockets is worth the $200 he's effectively lifted from their wallets.

Apple does offer price cut protection for its products, but it's only good for 14 days after a product's purchase. You're OK if you bought an iPhone less than two weeks ago, but not two months ago.

I've never had a lot of sympathy for Apple loyalists, but it pains me to see early adopters taken for a ride like this. Apple should start cutting cheques for $200—one for each and every iPhone user who paid full price in the first two months of the phone's availability. Jobs owes his fans an apology, too, not only for slapping them in the face, but for apparently thinking they'd take it lying down.

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