Apple to iPhone fans: Bite me

All those eager Appletons who waited in line to plunk down $US600 for their new iPhones last June are probably feeling like they just graduated from Screw U.

At yesterday's 'Special Event,' Apple announced that it's killing off the 4GB iPhone and slashing the price on the 8GB models by $US200, or 33 percent. Isn't that special? No word on rebates for those poor suckers who surfed the tsunami of hype into Apple stores on June 29 in the US.

Everybody pays a premium for being an early adopter. But usually that buys you geek-bragging rights for at least a year, not two months. It's not like Apple needs to spur demand -- the iPhone was the top-selling smartphone during its first month on the market. It's more like, 'these fools will pay just about anything, so let's go for it now and cut prices later.' This will surely test the faith of all but the most devout Apple acolytes.

[UPDATE: As some posters have already noted, Uncle Steve has agreed to split the difference with angry US iPhoners by offering a $US100 discount to anyone who paid full freight for their iPhones. However, the discount applies to future purchases -- it ain't no rebate. So no matter how brilliant some people think Apple's strategy has been, plenty of others are clearly ticked off.]

The rest of yesterday's announcement was distinctly underwhelming. The iPod Touch has a touchscreen, WiFi and a web browser? Terrific. But it's only 16 gigs for $US399. The iPod Nano now has a whizzier display and comes in five fruitalicious colors? Wait a second while I grab the defibrillator paddles.

(Meanwhile, Taiwanese handset maker HTC may be singing 'U Can't Touch This', having introduced the 'HTC Touch', a Windows Mobile smartphone, earlier this year.)

And despite all the blogther about a big Beatles announcement, the Fab Four were sorely missing from yesterday's Jobsapalooza. (Fortunately, there was nothing about Sonny & Cher either.) And Jobs' now tired 'just one more thing is'.... the ability to download tunes while waiting in line at Starbucks? Hello?

Maybe the King of Cupertino has finally run out of magic tricks.

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Robert X. Cringely

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