T3 takes Apple to task over iPhone

If you went out and bought an 8GB iPhone at the weekend the bad news is that Apple has no plans to assist you with an upgrade to the 16GB model

Following yesterday’s announcement of a 16GB iPhone, our friends over on gadget bible, T3, have given Greg Jozwiak, vice-president of product marketing for iPhone, a

verbal grilling

over where the new model leaves early adopters and 3G hopefuls.

The announcement of a new model with twice the capacity of the original barely three months after it was first launched could be seen as a slap in the face for early adopters, especially as Apple has no plans to assist owners of the 8GB model with an upgrade.

However, Jozwiak defended the decision, claiming that he didn’t think existing owners would be upset by the arrival of a new and improved model: “We're releasing a brand new model with a brand new price. The original 8GB price is still the same – we're just offering a different option,” he said.

Moving on to whether the iPhone would soon be getting 3G – undoubtedly seen by many would-be iPhone purchasers as the last big barrier to taking out a lengthy contract – Jozwiak remained typically tight-lipped, telling T3: “We don’t talk about future products.”

Likewise, Jozwiak also dodges the question when T3 asks what issues are holding up the launch of movie rentals on iTunes in the UK, preferring instead to put a generically positive spin on things: “We're interested to get that up and running and expect to bring [it] to the UK this year.” Given that US users have been happily downloading movies on iTunes for nearly 18 months already, we're going to need a bit more convincing than that.

On reflection, Joziwak’s interview says quite a lot about Apple these days. Apple the company might make some innovative and highly desirable products, but Apple the business doesn’t appear to really be all that interested in genuine engagement with its existing or potential customers any more.

Sure, the company is happy to give its most loyal fans the Macworld 'wow factor' once a year, while senior Apple figures like Jozwiak repeat the ‘choice’ mantra in media interviews. However, take a step back and you might be tempted to ask: where exactly is that choice? The iPhone is presently only available through one provider in the UK, and the choice of movie downloads on iTunes remains limited to a few short Pixar movies.

Actually, what Apple’s handling of the iPhone and movie downloads/rentals on iTunes to date really reveals is that the modern-day Apple business model has little in the way of sentiment for early adopters, existing product users and non-core markets. Much like any other international computer and consumer electronics company you might care to think of, really.