Thursday, November 16, 2006
Apple thinks different about marketing iPhones

Bloomberg.com reports today that Apple has signed with contract manufacturer Hon Hai to make 12 million iPhones next year. Given that this is a product untested in the market, if this is true, it would certainly demonstrate how serious Apple is in attacking the phone market.

One of the rather interesting marketing aspects I've read about is the idea that the iPhone won't be tied to any specific carrier. Instead, it will be sold "unlocked", requiring you to insert a GSM subscriber identity (SIM) card. The downside: Apple won't get any subsidies or special deals from working with the likes of Cingular or T-Mobile. The upside: such an approach opens up most of the world as the target market instead of just the US. This approach would prove that Apple is thinking globally with its next product segment -- and that phone market could bring literally hundreds of millions of new prospects to Apple.

Who knows: that 12 million unit phone contact could be too small.

UPDATE: Other sources such as CNN attribute the contract to Foxconn, not Hon Hai. Could Apple possibly have let two different contracts for 12 million each? More likely, this just means that our translations of the original Chinese source, Commercial Times, aren't what they should be.

UPDATE 2: A reader notes that FoxConn is the registered trade name for Hon Hai, so there's no confusion above. They are one and the same company. Thanks, Jersey Guy!

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