Chuck Jones has an interesting post up on the Forbes site, in which he theorizes about how much ‘bendgate’ could wind up costing Apple — with an (unlikely) maximum hit potentially being in the hundreds of millions.
Jones weighs up the different ways Apple and customers may respond to the meme, including consumers potentially being put off buying the new iPhone 6 Plus, to Apple undergoing a full-on redesign.
Assuming the former, Jones suggests that despite the incident having reportedly affected just 9 users, the bad publicity could put off a small percentage of would-be customers. If 100,000 people decide not to buy an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus as a result (despite the fact that the iPhone 6 is apparently unaffected by bendgate) this could decrease Apple’s revenue by around $80 million, based on an average of $799 per iPhone.
If that same number of people meanwhile decide to buy an iPhone 6 rather than a 6 Plus, then Apple’s revenue takes a $10 million hit.
Should Apple take back the damaged iPhone devices and eat their cost rather than try to refurbish the units, the 100,000 units costs Apple $52 million based on an average cost of $799 per iPhone.
Finally Jones says that a complete redesign could set Apple back “tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.”
While the figures he’s chosen are arbitrary, however, and should be taken with a pinch of salt for that reason, it’s worth pointing out that even if the number is accurate 100,000 phones or customers still represents a tiny fraction of the total number of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices out there. In the handsets’ first weekend on sale they sold 10 million+ units. Apple alone is set to make $37-40 billion for the September quarter.
As for Jones’ workings, there’s absolutely no chance Apple recalls the iPhone 6 for a redesign. What’s most likely is that the company will simply wait for this storm-in-a-teacup to blow over. As with ‘antennagate’ we may get a free case for the iPhone 6 Plus (or even $15), but given the tiny numbers of actual complaints Apple’s received, even that seems unlikely.
When even analysts are calling the feeding frenzy of bendable smartphones “irrational” you know things have gotten out of hand.
How do you think Apple should handle ‘bendgate?’