The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

iPhone to save Apple iHope

The eagerly awaited Apple iPhone has been unveiled by Steve Jobs to a predictable chorus of “oohs!’ and ‘ahhs!’

An impressive beast it is – reading the latest emails and listening to itunes while Google Maps show you the quickest way to Starbucks – all with the flick and pinch of your fingers.

Apple was in big trouble and fighting for its survival when saved by the iPod. However, the iPod bubble is contracting, sales and manufacturing is declining, and the shareholders aren’t happy with the share price heading south. Now the iPhone is hoped to be Apple’s economic saviour, aiming for 1% of the global mobile phone market within a year or so.I wonder if this will actually be the case, for the devil is in the detail.

Like its former number one rival, Microsoft, Apple has always required its customers to lock into some proprietory restrictions as a way of limiting competition and ensuring loyalty. (I won’t even mention the early days when the keyboard and mouse were ‘optional extras’ when buying a Mac…oops, I did.) And indeed, the tradition continues with the iPhone.

It appears that the phone will only work with an Apple service provider (although I guess these will be licensed out as well), and at this stage, you will need a Mac to effectively use your iPhone (again, I guess Apple will have to come up with a PC iPhone application). The iPhone release into Australia will inevitably be delayed, as they haven’t invented one that works with the new widely touted G3 network.

Meanwhile, I can’t imagine Nokia, Erikson and Samsung sitting on their hands quivering with trepidation. Fact is that these companies invest more in R&D, have excellent reputations as innovators, and have a far wider market penetration than Apple can dream of. Copycats are sure to follow, or even reach Australia before a truly functional, wide ranging iPhone does.

Mobile phone consumers expect to be able to change providers at the drop of a hat and update an average of every two years. How realistic it will be for Apple to lock in proprietorially loyal consumers remains to be seen, and may yet be a fatal flaw in the plan.

But what would I know, I’ve never bought an Apple product in twenty years of active involvement in information and communication technology. I always figured if I waited a year I’d be able to do anything an Apple product presently offered at half the price. I don’t think that reality will change any time soon.

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Filed under: Economics, Media, Technology

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The Dog’s Bollocks

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