Thursday, January 11, 2007

My 2p worth on the iPhone

Rather than post this at the time of Steve Jobs announcement that Apple had joined the handset market I decided to wait and see what others had to say before adding to the noise.

What I know about the new phone has been gathered from the Internet and Press rather than me actually seeing the device at MacWorld. Carlo and Russell have done a good job looking at the launch of the phone and others comments. Ajit over at Open Gardens has done his usuall meta analysis of the situation. Ged at Renaissance Chambara says that like all Apple fan boys his thinks that the new phone is sexy it is not for him.

I think that what Jobs has done is disruptive but I do not think that Nokia and Sony Ericsson needs to worry too much about this first release. My hope is that the launch of the iPhone will effect the way that Mobile Networks deal with User Interfaces. I think that as a closed system rather than a smartphone what Apple have done is launch a niche handset for the US market. As such I do not think that the iPhone will get a market share much larger than either the Blackberry or WindowsMobile.

Working with Mobile Networks as I do I have to say that they have issues supporting all the formats and operating systems that they do at present adding another will increase the complexity by another factor. Just look at the number of people who have complained about the lack of support for Treo handsets and ask why would Apple be any different?

I think that in a months time we will see a number of new handsets that will make the iPhone look very dated and this will mean that the iPhone becomes something akin to the Mottorola Razr i.e. the Fashion Victims handset where form out does function. This being the point I fear that I might just be buying two when the launch so that my twins can fit in at their new school.

It looks like the the Independent has the same view as me. Hamish McRae says that Apple's entry into the phone industry will not change the market, its innovation might! The more I chat with others the more my opinion crystalises. I do not think that we can expect to see Apple replace Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung at the top of the tree after all we are talking about ONE handset. The fact that are in the market might however finally force Motorola to do something about its appalling user interface. Apple could force Sony Ericsson and Nokia to take their A Game to the networks and insist that customisation of the interface is no more than the placing of short cuts onto a phone. A word of caution for Apple has to be that the list of those who no longer make handsets is very long and if they are not careful they will join it.

1 comment:

Ged said...

Hi Ian,

My concerns were more about the mundane things that smartphone usage, like if it is excessively vulnerable to getting broken. The way one treats a PDA and a mobile phone. The mobile goes everywhere and gets treated more robustly than a PDA. Having written two PDAs to death, I would like to see more protection for the screen.

Secondly, Steve Jobs didn't articulate any statements on whether it would be compatiable with PIM software like Outlook, Entourage as well as the standalone Mac apps.

A good case may change my design on the product design, as for the software compatability: we'll see.