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]