Apple: Value of the UAL deal more than the $17 million

United Airlines has just announced that it will purchase 23,000 iPhone 6 Plus smartphones from Apple for use by flight attendants. This will be a huge win for Apple.

Apple and IBM just announced the first round of MobileFirst apps from their partnership, including 2 designed for airlines. These are not the focus of this purchase, however. It seems that United has its own apps slated for the release.O-23829+PR_Ex-Newswire_2800x1920


Sam Risoli, United’s senior vice president of inflight services: “iPhone 6 Plus will enable them to deliver an even higher level of flyer-friendly service and will offer our flight attendants simple, one-touch access to valuable work information, enabling them to better serve our customers.”

Assuming that UAL purchases the 64 GB model, which retails for $849, and they get a $100 discount, then this would be a $17.2 million deal for Apple.

But the sale is only a portion of the benefit to Apple. There is an even bigger value in this deal.

Every single day, on 5,100 flights, a total of roughly 150 million customers per year will see an iPhone in use by the attendants, helping them solve the daily problems. Among these are business travelers who will encounter first hand real world usage scenarios for the smartphones.

The price $17 million.

The advertising? Priceless!

(The deployment is set to take place in Q2 2015. It is likely that that many iPhone 6 Plus units will not be available earlier than then!)



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