Monday, July 02, 2007

iPhone response

Reading articles on the iPhone in the New York Times and Slate, I am struck by the samness of the reviews.

It seems that everyone agrees that the iPhone is 1) Really cool but 2) not amazingly cool and 3) will mash the competition anyway.

I don't think that comparisons to the iPod are valid. The iPod suceeded because the other MP3 player maufacturers were dim. My first MP3 player was an Archos device with design aesthetics modelled on a brick. According to the manual the device did not even have removable batteries, turned out they lied.

My second MP3 player was a smaller, neater RCA Lycra device. It was OK but the navigation system sucked and it was bulky and clunky.

My third MP3 player was an iPod nano because after trying the cheaper competition I decided it was time to go for the one MP3 player whose manufacturer had conspicuously got the design right.

There are many things about the iPod I would change. I don't like the fact that I can't swap the battery or insert a bigger memory chip. And the ability to sync via WiFi would be really nice. But I am not going to give up the simplicity and ease of use of the iPod to get them.

I don't think that the cell phone manufacturers will roll as easily as the MP3 player makers did. They already understand that design is critical to their success. They may also know rather more about the cell phone business. And features such as battery life and reliability might well be more important than cool.

The biggest frustration with the iPhone seems to be that it is still tied in to the 'lock in' strategy that has driven the cell phone market. The real cost of an iPhone is $2,000-$3,000 for the phone plus two years service.

We don't yet know how long AT&T's exclusive deal will last. At this point the iPhone is not available in any form in Europe or Asia and the lack of 3G means it is not on the cutting edge in any case. Selling a locked phone through one service provider will be a much harder prospect in those markets.

Apple's competitors have plenty of time and even more motivation to come up with a response.

1 comment:

Laura123 said...

Actually you can change your ipod battery yourself, I found a site called that has a kit with a longer lasting battery and a tool that makes it super easy to swap it out yourself. Looks like they are working on a solution to the problem with the iPhone battery also.
- Laura