Paris Hilton, get your wallet out.
Bringing even more attention to the iPhone 2.0, technology media’s version of what Brett Favre has been for ESPN (News - Alert) for the past two weeks, a luxury leather designer today announced that it’s going to sell a new diamond-studded pouch for the device for $15,000.
The price, from the U.S. offices in Signal Hill, California of France-based Noreve St. Tropez, is about 50 times more expensive than the pricier model of the 3G iPhone itself.
“This case is yet another step we are taking to help the Noreve brand become one of the most unique and recognized case manufacturers in the world,” said Sam Brust, vice president of sales for NoreveUSA. “We look forward to working with additional types of precious stones in our future designs.”
This design includes 272 diamonds, each between 18 and 22 points – a total weight of nearly seven karats.
The pouch-maker’s announcement comes as Apple (News - Alert) officials fess up to widely discussed problems with parts of the mobile device’s launch.
The company’s chief, Steve Jobs, reportedly admitted this week that his company took on too much when it launched dozens of applications for the iPhone 2.0 simultaneously last month, saying in particular that the introduction of a new auto-syncing service was “not up to Apple’s standards.”
According to online industry magazine AppleInsider, and reportedly first seen by Ars Technica, Jobs admitted in an e-mail sent to employees yesterday that MobileMe was launched without proper testing and even mapped out a different launch strategy.
“It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store,” Jobs said, according to the magazine. “We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.”
The consequences were considerable, leading Apple to apologize almost immediately after the product’s launch and even to offer a service extension.
According to Apple’s blog, the transition from .Mac to MobileMe presented unanticipated problems, leaving iPhone and iTouch users without a service and leading the company to offer an extension.
Despite snags with the MobileMe application, and activation problems at some stores when the iPhone went on sale nearly a month ago, Apple says that people bought more than 1 million of the gadgets over its debut weekend.
The iPhone includes built-in GPS for expanded location-based mobile services, Apple officials say, and iPhone 2.0 software, which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. The device runs more than 800 third party applications available through the new App Store, company officials say. In the United States, the new iPhone 3G is priced at $199 for the 8GB model, and $299 for the 16GB model.
For some, the sales reports aren’t surprising.
A telecom marketing company based in the United Kingdom has called for sales of the new iPhone to surpass Apple’s stated goal of 10 million sold by year’s end.
According to officials from Informa (News - Alert) Telecoms & Media, sales will pass the 12 million mark.
“Added to the estimated 2.2 million 2.5G versions sold in 2008, this brings a cumulative total of 14.4 million for the year,” officials at the firm say. “The signs are good for 2009, particularly if Apple can secure deals to Chinese and Russian operators before the end of 2008, but Informa Telecoms & Media believes next year’s iPhone 3G sales will not exceed 20 million at best.”
Gadget-lovers had been salivating for months about the possibility of an improved iPhone, and got their fill when Jobs unveiled the device at a developers’ conference in San Francisco last month.
The device is thinner at the edges, has a black plastic back and metal buttons on its side. The screen is the same and it has a camera, flush headphone jack and an improved audio system.
Importantly, the new iPhone has faster download times – an improvement that’s addressing the original iPhone’s most widely reported criticism.
GPS capability was one of those featured capabilities, as was integration with eBay, integration with Loopt, a location-based application that blends social networks with maps, and integration with another application that lets users create posts and photos and add them from a library to an iPhone on the go.
What may be the most impressive thing about the weekend’s statistics is that so many of the devices were sold despite widely reported problems activating them at outlets – a problem that may have been unanticipated, given that users activated their own original iPhones last year.
A gadgets blog reported that it had heard many accounts now from different U.S. Apple store and AT&T (News - Alert) locations that employees are having problems while trying to activate phones through iTunes.
According to Gizmodo, a Gawker Media blog that says it sees about 50 million page views per month: “From Atlanta, one camper reports, “A ‘teal shirt’ Apple representative came out to let us know they are having difficulty accessing accounts on the iTunes system. The line has been amazingly slow, but at least we are inside! In the last maybe 30 minutes only 5 people got into the store. Time to get comfy.”
With all the attention the iPhone has received, outdoing even the New York Jets’ newest quarterback, it’s not surprising that Noreve saw an opportunity to capitalize among diamond-lovers.
According to the company, each $15,000 pouch “is available in any of Noreve’s 15 color choices from Black to Pink to Sandy Vintage.”
Michael Dinan is a TMCNet Editor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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