Thursday, April 26, 2007


...the more I find myself in alignment with John Dvorak, the odder I feel about myself. (Ah, John. I kid. Really.)

His summation (and the obligatory public flogging that followed) of the chances of the iPhone's success was essentially right on target. Having spent the last 4 years of my life mired in the world of US Cell Phone Carriers, my feeling is that Apple has probably bitten off more than it can chew. (Not to mention the fact that Apple has never produced a v.1 product that actually worked outta the box as advertised, and early reports of the testing of the iPhone aren't good.)

Sure, 1,000,000 people gave AT&ingular their email addresses to let them know when the iPhone becomes available -- but let's see how many of those emails translate into a $500-$600 purchase.

Recent rumors, tho, seem to have altered the game a little... it seems that Apple and AT&ingular are in talks to subsidize the phone in exchange for a 2 year service contract. Not sure who is paying who in that little arrangement - but I have my suspicions. At any rate, that would be good nudge in the right direction, and would probably bring the cost of the phone into the more affordable $200 range.

Speaking of Apple's luck with version 1 products - we still owe them a debt of gratitude...they are basically the technology "canary in the coal mine." The Apple Newton, for example, may have consumed vast amounts of Apple resources before dying a painful death, but it pushed the technologies behind portable battery life, handwriting recognition, PDAs, etc. So, although I'm not as enamored by their products as the Apple Legion is, I do appreciate them throwing themselves into the fray. So even in the iPhone winds up on the Dvorak "I told you so" pile, the technologies they are pioneering for that think will materialize elsewhere...


Mike Troiano said...

And in this corner... Om Malik:

RocketMan said...

For the most part, I think Om is identifying areas where the iPhone will make a dent, but he is over overestimating the reach of the initial reach of this device as well.

Putting aside the real, physical problems with the phone (no removable battery, no 3G network, etc) - what he is basically saying is that Jobs is putting an enormous amount of faith in the Safari browser -- he's betting that people will overlook the fact there are no native applications on the phone because they can open up the browser and run a browser application. That's a big, big assumption.

Mike Troiano said...

Fair... But the real point here is that the iPhone is a big step in the future we predicted, one where it’s all one big IP network; carriers decline in authority as does the importance of mobile web, mobile flash, mobile browser, mobile whatever.

Even an aspiring curmudgeon like yourself must admit this is goodness.

RocketMan said...

Aspiring?! Dude, I was a professional curmudgeon while most people were still trying to figure out how to set the blinking clock on the VCR. ;)

Anyway - total goodness. Just so I am clear here, what I am railing against is marketing hype, and the believe that Apple is going to make a clean sweep of this. I am big believer that the carriers are going to collapse under the weight of IP communications - and I applaud the iPhone for coming out swinging. (The same way I applaud whatever the Google Phone is doing behind closed doors - this "bringing down the carriers" business is going to be a Big Company play more than a small, upstart company play.)

However, I do believe that the iPhone is this decade's "Apple Newton." A great idea, a transforming paradigm...but, ultimately, just a foot in the door that will allow other company's inside the gates. (That's not a bad thing.)

RocketMan said...

Takes a big man to admit when he is wrong, so I must be huge.

Whoa. Was I wrong.

"...the Times regrets the error."