iPhone's lesson for mobile market

Robert Clark
11 Jun 2008

Only Apple could create a sensation by being two years behind the market.

That may say something about Apple and its zealous faithful, but says a lot more about the mobile device market.

Not only did iPhone 1.0 trail the pack with a mere EDGE radio chip. Its touch keypad, music player, browser and email all had been done before.

The original device was a game-changer because it wrapped all these together with a hot LCD display and a cool form factor.

It's had an extraordinary influence on the market, despite selling a mere 6 million of the roughly 1.1 billion handsets shipped in the past year.

The 3G phone, selling at half the price and double the number of countries, will surely be more so.

Apart from HSDPA, it tech innovations are GPS and longer battery life - hardly revolutionary, and a disappointment to the diehards who were expecting video and web conferencing - but a lesson to the Samsungs, LGs and Microsofts whose specialty is cramming features into a phone.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson are much better at editing out unnecessary functions but lack Apple's touch in threading the whole seamlessly together.

The departure for the 3G iPhone is its play for the enterprise market, a nice earner for that other wildly popular niche product, the BlackBerry.

The iPhone's MobileMe offers calendar and contacts software and is capable of accessing corporate VPNs. But for once the cool form factor could be a drag here.

I'm betting it will take business customers some convincing to abandon the hard keyboard. Likewise, CIOs may be reluctant in entrusting their corporate data to the Apple cloud. But the enterprise battle has been joined.

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