The iPhone – Apple Crumble?

A lot of hoopla being made here up north about Apple’s new iPhone. I admit I’m a bit of a contrarian, but I’m not sure what all the fuss is about or if Apple’s stock deserves the big bump it’s received from this announcement.

Like the iPod this item is targeted at consumers and not business people. This however, presents some interesting problems. US$500 is a lot of money to pay for what is essential a cell phone that will likely only last 2-3 years tops. Moreover, if you are at all interested in having email functionality on your phone (e.g. attention all blackberry users) it’s worth noting that the iphone lacks a key board. It is unclear how easy it will be to type out emails using a screen as a keyboard (Like Homer Simpson, I’m pretty sure my fingers will be too big to type on a key board displayed on the screen).

In addition, the iPod works because of its simplicity… it only requires one program (itunes) that is available and compatible across both the PC and Mac platforms. To make full use of the its functional a suer will have to sync their iphone with not only iTunes (no problem here) but also their email server or software and their calendaring software and their contact manager. That’s a lot of syncing and a great opportunity for things to go wrong – especially when, for most users, this will be across the windows-mac platforms. With luck Mac will make this all seamless and easy for the casual users – one hopes so because at the moment it is probably beyond the skills of the ordinary computer user. Don’t forget there is a whole industry of “sync providers” out there, non of whom have really squared the problem.

On top of all this is the problem that the iphone will only work on a GSM network. Consequently, if you buy the on your own it will only work on Rogers’ network in Canada and Cingular’s Network in the US, effectively locking you into one service provider. Alternatively, if you choose to buy the iphone as part of a subscription package from Cingular or Rogers you know they are going lock you into a 3 year contract.

Maybe Apple’s got all these issues figured out – if so great! It will put pressure on everybody else (like RIM) to get these features done right. If not… well I guess it won’t matter. I’m sure Apple’s stock will be fine and that no one will remember this terrible 7-day stretch of uncritical and dubious story choices that graced the cover of the Globe and Mail.

[tags]iphone, technology, apple[/tags]

11 thoughts on “The iPhone – Apple Crumble?

  1. melanie watts

    You’re a stick in the mud aren’t you?
    so what if only Rogers can carry it. All teh phone companies are the same , greedy grasping capitalists. If all three companies, Bell Telus and Rogers could carry iphone, you think you would get a better deal?
    As for the touch screen that is the coolest feature. The problem with buttons is they wear out and get stuck. Everything about iphone is great. From its elegant design to its intuitive user interface. After watching Steve Jobs introduce it yesterday I can’t imagine buying any other phone/musicplayer/PDA

    Reply
  2. melanie watts

    You’re a stick in the mud aren’t you?so what if only Rogers can carry it. All teh phone companies are the same , greedy grasping capitalists. If all three companies, Bell Telus and Rogers could carry iphone, you think you would get a better deal?As for the touch screen that is the coolest feature. The problem with buttons is they wear out and get stuck. Everything about iphone is great. From its elegant design to its intuitive user interface. After watching Steve Jobs introduce it yesterday I can’t imagine buying any other phone/musicplayer/PDA

    Reply
  3. Mike Beltzner

    So, first, a couple of factual errors:

    The only thing that the iPhone will synchronize with on Windows is iTunes (that’s right, no Outlook sync for Windows is planned, nor any other address book/calendar sync conduit.) On Mac it will synchronize with iTunes, and with Address Book and iCal using the iSync application which handles conflicts pretty nicely – no word yet whether or not it’ll sync over the air with .Mac, but I kinda doubt it.

    Email will be pulled directly from your email server (using either POP or IMAP) over the wire, using your cell carrier’s EDGE/GPRS data network or WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n when that’s available. This nicely sidesteps the email sync problem, and is actually a bit of a leg up on BlackBerry, which doesn’t have true IMAP “push” support and requires users to go through a BlackBerry Enterprise Server in order to preserve read/unread state. What’ll be interesting is to see whether or not the iPhone’s email sync will work with any IMAP server, or if they’ll require some addons for data transfer optimization. What’ll also be interesting is to see if the iPhone’s IMAP support is better than Mail.app, which let me tell you, isn’t that great.

    The lock-in is very sad, especially since there had been a lot of rumour that they were going to disrupt the North American market by trying to sell unlocked phones. I guess that plan kinda fell through.

    So, I think there are some other problems here. The price is a little high for a cell phone, and even high for a 4GB Video iPod, especially when .5GB of that space will be taken up by the applications. So far people spending that much money for cell phones are business users, who will be looking for a kick ass email experience, and I’m not sure if they’ll find it on a device without a keyboard. I think Apple’s expecting that people will think to themselves: “I get a kickass cell phone and an iPod all in one!”, but they’re really only getting half of an iPod. A nano-memory size in a bigger-than-video footprint. That seems somewhat flawed to me.

    At the end of the day, the most ridiculous thing about the announcement was the market’s punishment of RIM. There’s no reason to think that the markets intersect in ways that will see people stealing RIM’s share to switch to iPhones. It might impact RIM’s foray into the consumer space, but it’s a little premature, I think, to knock them 12% for that!

    Reply
  4. Mike Beltzner

    So, first, a couple of factual errors:The only thing that the iPhone will synchronize with on Windows is iTunes (that’s right, no Outlook sync for Windows is planned, nor any other address book/calendar sync conduit.) On Mac it will synchronize with iTunes, and with Address Book and iCal using the iSync application which handles conflicts pretty nicely – no word yet whether or not it’ll sync over the air with .Mac, but I kinda doubt it. Email will be pulled directly from your email server (using either POP or IMAP) over the wire, using your cell carrier’s EDGE/GPRS data network or WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n when that’s available. This nicely sidesteps the email sync problem, and is actually a bit of a leg up on BlackBerry, which doesn’t have true IMAP “push” support and requires users to go through a BlackBerry Enterprise Server in order to preserve read/unread state. What’ll be interesting is to see whether or not the iPhone’s email sync will work with any IMAP server, or if they’ll require some addons for data transfer optimization. What’ll also be interesting is to see if the iPhone’s IMAP support is better than Mail.app, which let me tell you, isn’t that great.The lock-in is very sad, especially since there had been a lot of rumour that they were going to disrupt the North American market by trying to sell unlocked phones. I guess that plan kinda fell through.So, I think there are some other problems here. The price is a little high for a cell phone, and even high for a 4GB Video iPod, especially when .5GB of that space will be taken up by the applications. So far people spending that much money for cell phones are business users, who will be looking for a kick ass email experience, and I’m not sure if they’ll find it on a device without a keyboard. I think Apple’s expecting that people will think to themselves: “I get a kickass cell phone and an iPod all in one!”, but they’re really only getting half of an iPod. A nano-memory size in a bigger-than-video footprint. That seems somewhat flawed to me.At the end of the day, the most ridiculous thing about the announcement was the market’s punishment of RIM. There’s no reason to think that the markets intersect in ways that will see people stealing RIM’s share to switch to iPhones. It might impact RIM’s foray into the consumer space, but it’s a little premature, I think, to knock them 12% for that!

    Reply
  5. Rikia

    David, you’re obviously not a mac geek.

    Those of us who are will gladly pay $500 to get a device that synchs with our software and our lives.

    And once all the art directors and film directors and producers and web designers and game designers and graphic artists and students and architects start using them, the MSoffice slaves will soon follow. Kind of like the ipod.

    I’d bet you dinner at lumiere but I’m past my quota.

    Reply
  6. Rikia

    David, you’re obviously not a mac geek. Those of us who are will gladly pay $500 to get a device that synchs with our software and our lives. And once all the art directors and film directors and producers and web designers and game designers and graphic artists and students and architects start using them, the MSoffice slaves will soon follow. Kind of like the ipod.I’d bet you dinner at lumiere but I’m past my quota.

    Reply

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