Apple Could Drop iPhone to $99, Destroy Competition

Oh those crazy analysts. Always making predictions and playing fast and loose with our emotions. Consider, for instance, the latest tidbit from Needham Research’s Charlie Wolf. According to Wolf, it is well within Apple’s power to offer the 8GB iPhone at the very attractive price point of $99, after contract subsidy.

This would see iPhone pricing on par with Blackberry’s Pearl and Curve, favorite handsets of first-time smartphone owners. Were Apple to offer its own “gateway drug,” so to speak, they could expect to see their sales double or even triple, according to Wolf. Considering the numbers they put up in their most recently disclosed financial reports, this would obviously amount to a substantial market share grab.
The numbers, says Wolf, would enable Apple to still make a 42.3% profit on each handset hold at the $99 price point, owing to the heavy subsidy provided by AT&T in the U.S. and the manufacturing cost of each device as of this past summer. Not to mention the fact that Apple has some breathing room in terms of their cash on hand, as disclosed at the conference call last Tuesday.
$99 dollars enters into impulse buy territory for many consumers, and would also help prepare the company to weather economic woes. Combined with an aggressive promotional campaign, the sub-$100 price point could give traditional handsets like the RAZR a run for their money, as long as consumers are aware of the significant feature upgrade they’re getting for the extra cash. Getting people to turn away from free devices and towards the iPhone would also likely require more decreases in data subscription rates. Or they could market the phone without the data option, and wait for consumers to decide on their own to upgrade their subscription once they realize how much functionality they stand to gain.
If you haven’t already, would you take the plunge for $99?

StatShot: Top BitTorrented Movies and the Cool 100

StatShot is a weekly roundup of numbers you should know. We’ll be adding new data to this regular feature in the coming weeks. If you have a stat you want to share with readers on an ongoing basis, hit the contact button up top and send us a note.

This week, Robert Downey Jr. keeps his Iron fist clenched around the top spot as the most BitTorrented film this week (surprising that The Dark Knight hasn’t nabbed that spot). He’s joined by Jason Statham driving really fast in Death Race and Steve Carrell’s bumbling secret agent Get Smart, both of which are new to the list.

TorrentFreak’s Top Downloaded Movies on BitTorrent As of September 8, 2008
Rank Last Week Title
1 1 Iron Man
2 new Death Race
3 2 The Dark Knight
4 4 You Don’t Mess With the Zohan
5 new Get Smart
6 back Wanted
7 3 Speed Racer
8 6 The Happening
9 7 Hancock
10 9 Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

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Bay Area Mayors to Outline Plan of Attack on Climate Change

On Wednesday morning, Bay Area mayors — Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, Chuck Reed of San Jose and Ron Dellums of Oakland — will meet to discuss how to create “a regional climate compact” at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Clean and Green conference. The group plans to outline efforts to create measurable goals to meet green house reduction standards, and specifically how California can meet the goals of AB 32, which calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Other Bay Area leaders, like Attorney General Jerry Brown, former Congressman Tom Campbell, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Bill Watkins of Seagate, Tom Werner of SunPower and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, plan to attend the conference. The goals of the day are to start dialogues on ways to increase public transportation and electric vehicles, establish standards for green building and rooftop solar, and find ways to promote clean power and green jobs. We’ll be adding our coverage throughout the day, so check back here for more:

Hollywood Disrupted

Reading through the LA Times, as I do before The Oscars every year, I came across a fantastic Op-Ed written by a respected Hollywood author by the name of Neal Gabler. The opinion piece, titled “The Movie Magic is Gone”, explains how Hollywood is losing its place as the epicenter of cultural products and how movies are losing their relevance as the “barometers of the American psyche”.

And what is culprit? You guessed it… the rise of social media! As Gabler elaborates:

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Pentax PocketJet 3 shown at CTIA

Pentax_pocketjet_3Engadget got a good look at the diminutive pocket printer from Pentax, the PocketJet 3.  The little printer uses thermal printing instead of ink so it is easily the smallest portable printer you can carry.  It’s not too fast but would fit the bill nicely when you absolutely positively have to print that contract in your client’s office.  No word on pricing yet.