You’ve got to hand it to Apple’s marketing department for naming their new device after someone else’s VoIP product, but unveiling their new iPhone has some intriguing new features that will change the way we use mobile devices.
The US market won’t be able to purchase the device until June this year, Europeans get their hands on it in late ’07 and Asian countries a further wait well into ’08.
Watching the Keynote address by Steve Jobs about the iPhone, you become aware of the incredible marketing hyperbole that surrounds highly anticipated product launches such as this one. With outlandish comments such as "5 years ahead of any other phone" or "we have reinvented the phone" they could make you believe they have, but have they?
Apple has produced a differentiating product that has some new features such as the multi-touch large screen interface that haven’t been seen on other mobile devices yet, but they have missed some key industry trends such as using inferior 2.5G connectivity (especially for such a heavy media centric device), implementing an inferior camera (only 2Megapixel) and no mention of how 3rd party developers can (and more importantly IF they can) build their own products into the device.
Apple however, has implemented something that has been missing in mobile devices for a very long time and that is a seamless intuitive interface that from the demonstrations seen on the keynote, give a superior user experience. Overall a major factor of why large portions of the new generation of mobile telephony do not use the new services, is because of the very poor user experience. Hopefully other mobile device manufacturers will see this and act.
The iPhone’s success relies heavily on partnering closely with a carrier, in this case US carrier Cingular for the launch in June, to ensure the user experience is positive across all the iPhone’s services. This can and will prevent the product from moving forward into other markets quickly. If Apple must partner with carriers to deliver these enhanced services, then this will greatly impede delivery in other countries, not to mention choice of carriage.
With the success of the iPod, all eyes have been focused on what Apple’s play in the mobile arena would be. Now that they have played their hand, they must back the gratuitous hype with actual sales of the devices. Their target is 10 million by the end of 2008.
Hopefully they do release a 3G version very soon and upgrade the camera out of the dark ages too, but more importantly, that they open the development environment for other 3rd party developers and not create yet another locked down proprietary Apple product.