Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Apple iPhone Will Disrupt Mobile Phone MarketIt's not too often that I get excited about a new tech gadget, much less a cell phone. However, I had no less than two conversations about Apple's new iPhone and each got me more and more convinced that this has to be my next phone. The first conversation went something like this...
Andrew: Hey Jason, did you hear that Apple finally announced the iPhone?
Jason: Nope hadn't been paying any attention to the news lately.
Andrew: Dude, I think all Labitat employees are going to need new phones shortly.
Jason: Ha, good one.
Now the second conversation was from someone who doesn't get too overly-excited about any new product or press because he's been around the marketing / branding block for a while and has seen his share of johnny come latelys. But Allen Adamson was so pumped about what the iPhone means to the mobile handheld industry that he felt obligated to discuss it with me.
Allen had infected me with his excitement, so much so I felt compelled to post about it... and that's not easy for me to do these days.
In order to understand how BIG this announcement from Apple is, its important for you to understand the current state of the mobile phone / handheld market and a bit about the iPod.
Currently I'm in the market for a new mobile phone and my two main options are the Treo and the Blackberry. I had been leanding toward the Treo because it has a camera on it as well as a browser and decent email capabilities so I could get more work done while I'm on the road. The camera is critical for being the first to release information from whatever big media event I may be covering. Also a lot of my friends and colleagues use the Treo and I personally think it's a bit more hip than the Blackberry.
Which brings me to option no. 2, the Blackberry. My personal thoughts are that the Blackberry is a bit too corporate for my own taste but when it comes to productivity the Blackberry is tough to beat since the majority of senior level executives and up and coming executives swear by it. But the biggest drawback on the Blackberry for me is having to learn another interface, who has the time or desire to learn another proprietary interface on a cell phone that has super tiny keys? Not me.
My other hesitation in purchasing either the Treo or the Blackberry is simply that I'm not going to be able to use 90% of the features of either one of these handhelds right out of the box. I know I'll have to consult the owners manual on each of them. And then with the Treo there's the question of do you use the Palm OS or the Microsoft OS? Anyway, long story short, I've been stuck at this crossroad of indecision for quite some time and was hoping for a better alternative.
Enter iPhone and Apple's Compelling Branding
So then I hear about the iPhone and some of it's usability features and I'm like yesssss! This is the phone for me. And during my conversation with Allen yesterday I told him that I wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone captures 60% of the mobile handheld marketshare in the next 18 - 24 months. Here's why...
No Owner's Manual Needed - Ever!
If Steve Jobs actually delivers on his promise of insanely instinctive touchscreen based usability on the iPhone then it's simply game over for their competitors. Think about it, did you ever open the instruction manual (my parents and in-laws can ignore this line since you're out of mshift's demographic) on your iPod before you started using it? Of course not, because you didn't have to. My biggest issue with the two other phones I was considering purchasing were that I don't have the time or desire to learn how to use another phone. However, the iPhone changes all that. First off it's from Apple so you know it's going to be cool. Secondly, the screenshots on Apple's iphone site make this thing a no brainer.
Allen Adamson put it something like this...
Apple could very well change the landscape in the mobile handheld market with the iPhone. No other phone manufacturer can boast about their ease of use or has a user base as passionate as Apple.
I think Allen makes a great point and I'm convinced he's right.
For Business Professionals
Let's forget about the slick iPodability and iTunes embedded in the iPhone for just a minute and think about what this does for the business world. This phone will be reliable because it's based on the Mac OS X operating system, period. It has email, browsing, wifi, EDGE and bluetooth 2.0 built in so you can connect to anything anywhere with or without a hotspot. That means you can use skype from Starbucks and save mobile minutes. It will come with 4gig or an 8gig hard drive which means you could store all of your email from 4 different Yahoo! or Google Gmail email addresses on this phone (another huge problem solved). Most importantly however is this thing will be simple because there's no stylus, it's all a elegant touchscreen and it's built on Mac's legendary OSX operating system... nearly unbeatable.
So sure it can help you be more productive and connected but what about looking good and stylish to boot? First off it is the best looking phone I've seen to date. The touchpad will make all of your friends jealous. It comes with a 2 megapixel built in camera so you can snap away at any celebrity filled event and get great shots while not worrying about how much storage you're using since the baseline iPhone comes with 4 gigs of data.
Now the other cool factor is that not every kid in your neighborhood is going to have one since it's suppose to retail for somewhere around $500 USD. So if you spot a middle-school or high-school aged kid with one then the kid is either spoiled or an up an coming internet mogul. If it's the latter then you should probably introduce yourself.
Big Question: Battery Life
So this phone seems to have everything but it doesn't matter if it has to sit on the charging cradle 8 hours a day. The Apple iPhone tech specs say it will have up to 5 hours of talk time including talking, playing video or browsing and up to 16 hours of pure audio playback time. I'm not sure if I believe that yet but I honestly don't know how they can do that and keep the iPhone's weight down to 4.8 ounces or 135 grams. Perhaps they're telling us how much it weighs without the battery, not sure on that one.
I guess the only question left now is, when and where can I get it. I know Cingular is going to be the only wireless carrier of the iPhone but there's nothing on their site about it yet so I guess we'll have to keep our ears tuned into the Apple marketing machine.
Note: I know a lot of you will go out and purchase one of these as soon as they're available so here's a free tip on how you can save all of your mobile phone contact information and import them super easily. It's called Zyb, try it, you'll love it.
By Jason Dowdell at 05:13 AM | Comments (6)