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iPhone Price Cut Angers Some Apple Customers


Technology aficionados who rushed out to buy Apple's much-hyped iPhone since its debut less than three months ago are expressing buyer's remorse now that Apple has slashed the product's price by one-third. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington, the announcement of a revamped line of iPod products has not bolstered Apple stock, which plunged more than five percent Wednesday and continued to sink in trading Thursday.

Consumers usually welcome price breaks, but not when they recently purchased a product, only to see everyone else able to purchase the same merchandise for significantly less. Until Wednesday, Apple's revolutionary cellular telephone, media player and web surfer rolled into one, called the iPhone, sold for $599. Today, it can be purchased for $399.

Apple says the price cut is designed to boost sales as America's holiday shopping season nears. Many iPhone owners are crying foul although people who purchased the gadget within the last two weeks are entitled to a refund of the price difference.

The negative reaction overwhelmed what was supposed to be an upbeat day Wednesday for Apple. Chief executive Steve Jobs announced an overhaul of the California-based company's highly-profitable iPod media players.

"It [the iPod] is going to come in all these great colors," said Steve Jobs. "It is super-thin. We think it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is just incredible."

Prices for high technology gear often fall after their introduction, but many analysts say it is unusual for the price to be slashed so drastically and so quickly for a ground-breaking product. At the same time, they note that the price cut will make it easier for Apple to meet its goal of selling one million iPhone units in the United States by the end of this month.

In other news, the number of American homeowners in danger of losing their property continues to grow. More than one in 20 homeowners are behind in their mortgage payments, and the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the number of foreclosure proceedings has reached all-time highs in each of the last three quarters.

America's housing and mortgage industries have been hard-hit by upheaval in the so-called "sub-prime" market, referring to loans with higher interest rates designed for those with poor credit. The upheaval is blamed for recent stock market volatility across the globe.

In more positive news, the U.S. Labor Department is reporting greater than expected gains in U.S. productivity, while jobless claims in the United States fell last week for the first time in nearly two months.