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Apple counting on fear and greed to sell new products Pixabay

Given that Apple has decided to hike the prices of its iPhones — which were announced overnight — it would be reasonable to assume that the company is gearing up for the trade spat between China and the US to intensify.

The company, like most others, prices its products at levels that it thinks the market can bear. Last week, US President Donald Trump told Apple — in a tweet, how else? — that if it wanted to avoid the inevitable price rises that the trade spat with China would bring, it could bring manufacturing back to the US.

As that is impossible, and would be counter-productive to Apple's sales strategy, chief executive Tim Cook has pushed price levels up, anticipating that he would have to do that anyway. He has created a cushion for the company to keep earning at the same rate as it was.

The other tactic that Cook has employed, successfully, it would seem, is to use fear to sell the Apple Watch. Now that it has tech which can detect when a person falls or is having a heart attack, it will appeal to the older population who have one foot in the grave and the other on a bar of soap. It would be a nice gift for the American yuppie to get grandma for Christmas.

Fear has always been the best way to sell products and win elections. Nothing new in using this emotion to make a few bucks. Cook, of course, would be shocked if asked why he was using such a tactic. But then no journalist who gets invited to the cult meetings — which is what Apple launches are — would dare ask him about it. It would mean expulsion from the holy of holies.

iPhone users will buy the models because they love to mark themselves out as distinctive. There is little that is new about the models that have been announced. In fact, features have been taken away – there is now no iPhone with Touch ID.

There will always be changes in hardware. They mean little, for every mobile device on the face of the earth will not re-use vital bits over again.

The greed factor, of course, is the one thing that keeps all mobile companies in business. We all want something that is better than what the other guy has. (There are, of course, boring people like iTWire editor Stan Beer who will buy an iPhone for practical reasons, but then he is the exception who proves the rule.)

Apple's products have always depended on the greed factor, so intrinsic to the human animal, to sell themselves. And so it is this time too. People will postpone paying their utility bills if need be, but they will just have to buy that new glitzy toy.

Finally, it looks as though Apple has no interest in increasing its marketshare in India, the last big market where it can hope for a big rise in user numbers. But price is the most important thing in that market and Cook has chosen to go in the opposite direction. In a year or two, India will be out of range, because Android phones of every make and description are spreading far and wide.

But then Apple never was a poor man's company.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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