Dissecting the AT&T memo on the iPhone limit of one to a customer

By making a few assumptions here and there let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on behind the scenes at AT&T and Apple as it concerns their iPhone strategy. The internal memo, shown on the AppleInsider site, says that customers may only purchase one iPhone at AT&T stores. The prior limit of three iPhones is no longer in effect." In addition the memo states that effective immediately "customers may only us

By making a few assumptions here and there let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on behind the scenes at AT&T and Apple as it concerns their iPhone strategy.

The internal memo, shown on the AppleInsider site, says that customers may only purchase one iPhone at AT&T stores. The prior limit of three iPhones is no longer in effect."

In addition the memo states that effective immediately "customers may only use credit or debit cards to purchase their iPhone. Cash or check will no longer be accepted!"

What does all this mean?

The most obvious answer is that with the launch of a 3G iPhone, AT&T and Apple don’t want to be forced into manufacturing any more soon-to-be obsolete models.

It also means that both companies must have used some very high powered analytics software to be able to figure out a year in advance how to have just enough iPhones available timed to the launch date of the upgraded product.

It is similar to figuring out six months ahead of time how to set the course to land the Mars rover on the red planet in a target zone smaller than a football field.

I’d like to know what analytics software they used.

The memo also says they will no longer take cash or checks. Why?

That’s easy. They want to know who’s buying the old model to either market to them at a later date or to discover why someone would do that. That kind of information would be invaluable in selling out the old inventory if indeed there is any left.

There may be some potential customers who do not need or want 3G versions.

A third possibitly emerges from this 75-word or so memo.

Both Apple and AT&T received a lot of bad press with the iPhone launch when they dropped the price and at first left those who paid the higher price out in the cold.

Both companies don’t want any more disgruntled users or bad press. Maybe the purchasers of the current system are unaware of the newer version coming out. A nice letter to them after the fact offering them an inexpensive upgrade path might be in the offing.

If that were the case you might actually save money if you bought the old model and then traded in on some promotional offering.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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