Thursday, January 11, 2007

what about apple's iphone?

Being in both the digital content world and the mobility space you couldn´t help it but to hear, read, think and reflect over yesterday´s apple communication (that not launch) of the iphone

I may say that I entered my assessment from the beginning with a critical eye of an industry expect, which usually makes you make the wrong assessments, but what can you do about it. IN a way my first reaction was to think about those futuristic 3G designs that first appeared on the 3G gold rush back in 2000. But I may say that Apple deserves far more credits that those vendors in 2000

First and as usual our apple colleagues managed to get a “wow” from the market, both in terms of a eye-breaking device and also a “top of class” Steve Jobs show. We just need to see that Apple went up 7% in the hours following the communication (even more interestingly Nokia and other mobile device vendors such as Motorola or RIM share values drop in similar quantities as apple went up) to get a feeling on the market reaction

I believe that the iPhone did answer as many questions as it create new ones. Let me also say that we have only seen prototypes and the web demo. It is clear at this point that Apple has not managed to get all things working yet and they have 6 months to keep working hard to get them ready for the launch.

On the positive side I believe that the device design is superb and attractive and brings to life Apple´s core competencies on device design such as simplicity, customer centric innovation and flashiness. There are some eye catching very innovative features such as the sensor, the album display when in horizontal mode (type of DJ album style), multitasking or the internet visor capabilities. Also but still to be proved but to be dream of is what having an MAC OS in the phone can bring to the mobile OS world if they manage to do for the mobile OS what they have done to the PC OS

On the weaknesses front I am very surprised that they have not built in 3G capabilities. This could be a huge drawback in mobile centric markets as Asia or Europe. Related to this point, mobile users want mobility and the fact that only through syncing you will be able to get songs could be slowing down something that just creating the iphone seems to be admitting “everything that can be mobile will be mobile”. Also it is really innovative not to have keyboard but if you are targeting current smart phone segments typing is essential and through the screen it will be slow

Just to finish I have many questions related to the performance of the iphone as a phone (battery life, screen endurance, processor speed) and also how apple will deal with the mobile operators and their business model (distribution, subsidies, network interworking). And a final question will itunes and their proprietary DRM system survive the iphone. In an open world where companies should partner Apple wants to keep a closed ecosystem. It surprises me seeing the evolution of other markets and digital media and I believe that´s so far the only thing where I believe Steve and his guys are not doing the right thing

At the end the launch of the iphone brings a lot of light and expectations and some questions. This launch will accelerate the pace of innovation around digital media and mobility and we can just wait to see the results of it

1 comment:

  1. It is also important to look at the iPhone in the context of the other products that Apple is selling. Together these products provide a total media experience for consumers. The Apple Mac (iTunes on the PC) provides the office hub for consumers to store and catalogue all their Music / Photos and Videos. The Apple TV box then allows them to use this content in their Lounge. The iPhone allows them to take it with them when they are out and about. To compete with Apple now you need to do more than make a great music player - you need to be able to provide a better experience for consumers in the Office, in the Lounge and out and about.