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The Apple Enthusiast vs. The Apple iNvestor


Will vanity prevail?


In the past 24 hours I've received a lot of e-mail on my iPhone article. I want to clarify a few things. Almost all the responses have been thoughtful and intelligent, and I appreciate the time and effort taken to write me. Especially with the barrage of "what are you insane!!" e-mails I've received in the past 24 hours.

I'm not backing off the fact that I believe the iPhone will not have a significant financial impact on Apple (AAPL). If anything it will hurt the stock price because expectations are so high.

Don't mistake being an Apple enthusiast with being an Apple investor. I remember back when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and the stock was around $7 I told everyone I knew (and liked), now's the time to buy Apple. They all told me I was insane. Then I owned a Mac Powerbook 140 - the second generation Mac Laptop because my first was stolen off my desk. I had held off on buying a laptop for nine months in anticipation of a Mac laptop, and I was not disappointed. Prior to that I had a Mac 512K (No internal hard drive) and prior to that an Apple IIe. Today I have a Macbook Pro, a new iMac (two weeks old) and an older iMac (passed down to my kids.) I also have four iPods. So that should tell you how much of an Apple enthusiast I am. I still own every Apple device - sans the IIe - that I have ever owned. I think it's safe to say I'm an Apple enthusiast.

So, here are some further thoughts:

1) First generation revolutionary devices do not do well. It's a fact. I've yet to find anyone who can point to a first generation device from any manufacturer that has had a significant impact on revenues in year one. Many of you stated you're going to wait at least a year to 18 months before buying an iPhone – that's exactly my point!

2) This is NOT a device for a mom or dad. As sexy as it is, there are many moms and dads that can't even figure out how to properly use an iPod. An iPod has five buttons and is pretty easy in my book. They have one, but they don't use it the way I do or someone that is technologically adept would.

3) Here's some perspective: There are between 150-200 mln people in the US that have cell phones. There have been 100 mln iPods sold world wide to date. The product launched in 2001 but really didn't see significant sales growth until late 2004. The potential for what my step dad always called "psychic income" is huge. The iPhone will make investors feel good, but the real revenue growth will not be seen for some time. I think about two years.

The fact is this is a very sexy, very expensive, very sophisticated first generation device. Heck - I'd love to have one, but I'll wait for the second or third generation version. iPod sales did not take off until the holiday season of 2005 - four years after it was introduced. By that point, Apple had sold less than 7 mln iPods.

As one person I just talked to - a serious technophile - said, unless my cell phone and iPod die at the same time, I'm not buying an iPhone…right now. Maybe vanity will prevail.

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