Weekly output: Huawei’s IFA pitch, broadband buildout, Verizon One Unlimited for iPhone, iPhone 12 and 13 discounts, pay-TV warnings, Super Bowl ads, Mark Vena podcast

A week after I got back from Berlin, I finished my Flickr album of photos from the event, plus another one of Berlin scenery. That comes just in time for me to get back on a plane to Europe: Monday night, I fly to Copenhagen for the TechBBQ conference, at which I’ll be one of the judges at a startup pitching session.

9/5/2022: Huawei exec generates reality distortion field in IFA keynote, Light Reading

The head of Huawei’s Western European consumer business gave some answers in this onstage Q&A that seemed not just detached from reality but delusional.

9/6/2022: NTIA Head: At First, New Broadband Maps Are ‘Not Going to Be as Good’ as We Want, PCMag

While the federal government will soon have much more accurate maps of broadband availability, it apparently won’t use them to distribute broadband-buildout subsidies until localites get a chance to challenge perceived inaccuracies.

9/7/2022: ‘One Unlimited for iPhone’ Is Verizon’s Sixth Unlimited-Data Phone Plan, PCMag

The lede here wrote itself: “Verizon now needs both hands to count all its unlimited-data smartphone plans.”

Screenshot of story as seen in USA Today's iPad app, with the lead art being an Apple-provided photo showing five iPhone 14 handsets in different colors.9/7/2022: Why now’s a great time to grab an iPhone 12 or 13 at a discount after iPhone 14 launch, USA Today

This explainer of the potential appeal of the newly-discounted iPhone 12 and 13 got a quick update after AT&T clarified that only the new iPhone 14 would be supported on the 3.45 GHz 5G spectrum it’s now deploying (which is not the same as its C-band 5G but also significant to its network plans).

9/8/2022: MoffettNathanson raises red flags about cord cutting, Fierce Video

On another day when I was filling in at my trade-pub client, I wrote up a research report warning media firms and pay-TV providers that cord cutting and advertising revenue each stood to get a good deal worse, while sports-rights deals would probably get even more expensive.

9/8/2022: Fox says Super Bowl spots are going, going, almost gone, Fierce Video

And speaking of sports-rights deals and advertising revenue, Fox Sports says it’s sold almost all of the spots for the next Super Bowl.

9/9/2022: S02 E35 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

I rejoined this industry-analyst host and my fellow tech journalists John Quain and Stewart Wolpin to discuss IFA (Vena and Quain also covered it in Berlin) and Apple’s product-launch event Wednesday. One point I made about the latter: While Apple’s satellite-SOS feature looks fascinating, Apple requiring a subscription after the first two years raises a risk that somebody will set out for a wilderness hike with an iPhone that just turned two years old, then realize they can’t use that feature to summon help.

I still don’t get the iPhone pre-order feeding frenzy

Today, Apple started taking pre-orders for a new lineup of smartphones–the same thing it’s done every year since 2007. And just as they have every year since 2007, enough people tried throwing their credit cards at Apple that the company’s online store struggled to respond, leading to one of the more entitled forms of tweeting: Apple won’t let me buy its new smartphone right away!

I don’t get it. But I also didn’t get this customer behavior a dozen years ago, when about the same thing happened at the debut of the iPhone 4. After having seen this kind of self-defeating crowd psychology yield predictable results over the previous three years, I had to vent in my blog at the Post:

So why do people put themselves through the cybernetic equivalent of driving to Tysons Corner Center at 5 p.m. on a Friday in mid-December? A new iPhone–or any other device–isn’t like a ticket to Stephen Strasburg’s pitching debut; your opportunity to buy it does not expire within hours. Nor will they stop making the thing after meeting an initial quota. What’s the point of joining yet another “OMG must buy now!!” shopping stampede?

And yet after 12 more years in which we all should have learned definitively that Apple will crank out new iPhones by the tens of millions, many smartphone shoppers seem to have learned little.

(You can argue that Apple has learned just as little about building an online retail system that can scale to meet this level of demand. But I can understand the company not going too crazy to optimize its retail infrastructure for a one-day-a-year corner case.)

To be clear, I’m not talking about people who have been limping along with damaged smartphones because they didn’t want to buy last year’s Apple gadget weeks or days before its replacement by a shinier successor. I’m also not talking about people who evaluate gadgets for a living–I did once buy a new iPhone on the day of its in-store debut because CNNMoney.com paid me to do that as part of a review.

But if you set an alarm on your completely functional smartphone for 8 a.m. EDT Friday so you could spend $799 and up for a new model that you have not seen or touched and know only from Apple’s staged presentation and the hands-on reports of journalists and analysts at its product-launch event Wednesday, and then you found yourself repeatedly refreshing Apple’s online store to see if your order went through… I hope you’re not asking for sympathy after gadget-hype water once again turned out to be wet.