Hmm…what a difference a day makes, eh? The media was all over the UK iPhone launch like a rash last Friday, talking up the anticipation and fervour for the iPhone launch in the UK. Shops Braced for iPhone Stampede, read one headline out of many such. However the reality has been a little less…er…exciting. It looks as though the UK (as with Germany) is not really that interested.
My Apple fan-boy friend Tom went to his local shop to buy one on Friday and found an empty store with around 50 salespeople looking very bored. This Register report on Sunday spelled it out…iPhone’s first night flopped. A round up of images from stores around the country emphasised the point. Empty stores. Very empty. The Apple fan sites (and one suspects, the Cupertino PR machine) will no doubt go into overdrive soon, as they did with Germany – ‘10,000 phones sold in Germany on launch Day’ – to try and rescue the situation, but the day itself looks like it’s a lost cause.
This doesn’t bode well for the iPhone’s European prospects in general, but the good news is that the iPhone is still one of the most beautiful devices on the market. The interface is gorgeous, the form factor alluring and it’s oh-so Apple cool. But as for us clamouring to spend that much money on a fancy phone which really isn’t earth shattering in functionality? It looks like a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ from over here for the time being.
Apple may also take some comfort from the fact that it was raining, and that with a recession looming, the British have switched to paying for their mortgages on credit cards – so there’s not a lot of discretionary cash left over. Especially not imaginary discretionary cash – to spend on an imaginary event. The only people who should really be embarrassed are the newspapers and TV channels, who’d convinced themselves a world-shattering event was about to take place. Come Friday, they were the only people in the stores.