Mobile and Tablet Marketing

Apple Launches… a Phone. Is anyone else yawning?

You guys may or may not know that I recently moved over to a MacBook Pro at work. I’m happy with it, it’s impressive. OSX is great… but I still have applications that crash and I’ve still had problems with it. I’m not so in love with it that my household is all Mac. I have one G4 and the rest of my computers are PCs running XP, along with a Buffalo Linkstation running Linux.

Am I the only guy in the world that’s really not impressed that Apple built a phone? It’s a phone people! Terms like ‘revolutionary’ are being used. Revolutionary? Really? What am I missing? Isn’t this just Phone 2.0?

iPhone

Let’s go down the list of features and tell me where I’m going wrong:

* Instead of a standard keypad, the iPhone uses a patented Apple technology called “multi-touch”. It doesn’t use a stylus, has “multi-finger gestures” and claims to ignore unintended touches. Jobs compared it to two other revolutionary Apple UIs – the mouse on the Macintosh and the click wheel on the iPod.

Cool, they improved a touch pad.

* 3.5 inch touchscreen with a virtual keyboard.

Wow, bigger screen. I already have a ‘virtual keyboard’ on my phone.

* iPhone runs OS X, Apple’s standard operating system; according to Engadget’s superb coverage: “It let us create desktop class applications and networking, not the cripled stuff you find on most phones, these are real desktop applications.”

I can run Illustrator on a 3.5″ screen? Yeah! Does it come with 2Gb of RAM?

* Syncs with iTunes: “iTunes is going to sync all your media to your iPhone — but also a ton of data. Contacts, calendars, photos, notes, bookmarks, email accounts…”

Yup, got that with my phone now, too.

* Apple’s design chops is all over the iPhone: “3.5-inch screen, highest resolution screen we’ve ever shipped, 160ppi. There’s only one button, the “home” button […] thinner than any smartphone…”

Better… faster… stronger… it’s the $6 Billion Phone.

* 2 megapixel camera built in

Yup, got that. And my phone does video and audio, too.

* Outstanding media features – scroll through your music, widescreen video, album art, built-in speaker…

Got some of that as well. 3.5″ is widescreen? For who, a flea?

* Sync your iPhone with your PC or Mac (for contacts etc)

Got it.

* Standard phone features – SMS, calendar, photos, etc. With photos there is a motion sensor that rotates photos when you turn the phone.

My screen rotates when I slide out the keyboard. Ok… you got me… motion sensors are sweet.

* Visual voicemail

Sweet. Voice to text was just what I needed when I’m checking my voicemail on the highway! I can scroll with two fingers as I run into the guardrail!

* Rich HTML emails – works with any IMAP or POP3 email service. This spells trouble for Blackberry!

Mine does that.

* The Safari browser runs on iPhone – “it’s the first fully-usable browser on a cellphone.” Jobs shows the NYT running in the iPhone – the actual website, not a puny WAP version.

Shenannigans! I’m running Opera Mobile and it’s ‘fully-usable’.

* Google Maps

With a browser and internet connection… yup, I do that as well. Of course the extra inch of screen will help me find my way easier.

* Widgets that connect to Internet seamlessly (via WiFi and EDGE)

So I can check the weather as I’m walking to work! Oh… wait a sec…
* Free “push” IMAP email from Yahoo

Super-duper.

I know that I’m being flippant about this, but I just don’t get it. Sounds like a lot of hype for a phone upgrade, doesn’t it?

Throw broadband video to video connectivity on that bad boy and this Star Trek geek will hit the ceiling. Without it, though, this is just …dare I say… a phone.

What’s next, Apple launches TV? Umm….

PS: Special apology to Bill… he was beside himself salivating at lunch today and already calculating how many years of his retirement he had to give up to buy one. I don’t mean to insult you Bill, but this is some damn good marketing hype for a phone.

11 Comments

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    I’ve recently spent $400 on a iPod video and accessories so I won’t be looking to buy the iPhone. Some people might love the iPhone, but I prefer separate devices for phone and MP3 player rather than a device that might be “jack of all trades master of none”.

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    I think the thing that make the iPhone stand out will be its simplicity. I am now a not-so-proud owner of a phone that supposedly does it all. But you have to push so many buttons (and there are many of them), that it just puts me off. Crashes all the time. No simple synching (hey, as of today I can’t even synch it with OSX). Buggy.
    So, yes, each single feature might not be that special by itself, but the fact that they are combined by Apple makes me hope that there might be a PDA phone that actually can be used.
    Simplicity is the word for me.

    Am surprized that you experience crashes on OSX. I run very demanding video jobs on my macs, and get very rare crashes. Maybe one per week – and even then I don’t need a restart. Do you use a lot of third party plug-ins?

    Disclaimer: I am a very happy owner of about 5 Macs 🙂

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    Martin,

    I don’t want anyone to think I’m an unhappy Apple customer… by all means, I love my MacBook Pro. Sadly, it often never leaves my side! 🙂 Your point on ‘simplicity’ is everything I’ve experienced thus far. I’m just really taken aback at all the hype on a phone!

    I should have clarified… I’ve never crashed OSX, only some of the programs running.

    My Disclaimer: I would own 5 Macs if I could afford them. 😉

    Doug

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    Spoken like a true Mac N00b. Hang in there Doug…. you’ll get it.
    Aren’t you the person that would always tell me when you bought something…. “yeah…. but it’s cooool.”

    you said Super-duper

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    🙂 Yeah – us Applefans are always on the defense 😉

    Apple are just very good at their hype. When watching the keynote, I am always tempted to push a “Buy now” button. ‘Luckily’ though, the products come later to Europe (and even later to Norway) than the US, so I always can read some real life experiences from “normal” users.

    “Revolutionary” in AppleTalk means “It works”. Sadly, that is not the industry standard…

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    Me again, hope I am not turning into a blog stalker 😉
    Just saw the keynote presentation for the iPhone, and it seems that the phone will make web browsing not only possible (as most phones now do), but actually pleasant. Same goes for most of it’s features.
    What also hit me afterward was that, hey, this thing is running OSX and will have Desktop power – but there wasn’t a single app to show that during the presentation. In other words: the months up to the shipping will not be void of new hype 😉 Apple is good at this.
    I remember when the iPod first came, many geeks were critical about it. I remember one saying “well, it’s a portable harddisk, so what?”. And today they own the market.
    In the phone market they are a late entry, but they are strong on usabilty, and they will have a very good distribution network in the US. So, 1% marketshare in 2008 should not be out of reach.
    Exciting times 🙂

    Here’s an interesting link on what this could mean for publishing in general and by extension also blogging: http://www.buzzwordcompliant.net/index.php/2007/01/10/two-approaches-to-mobile-publishing/

    And you might have noticed that Yvonne is back amongst the living.

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    …in hindsight, would you revise this post 😉 ?

    Looks as though the iPhone did have a certain impact, and it has certainly changed my useage pattern of the internet.

    Other phones I owned before were technically able to perform these functions, but they were cumbersome, complicated and slow.

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      I’m not sure, Foo. The market share and popularity aren’t a surprise given the cult of Apple. The functionality is a step up, a display with better touch response, a better resolution… as well as an app store (not original). I think they raised the bar for sure – but I’m still not seeing much beyond the ‘cool’ factor.

      On the bad side, the iPhone still gets poor marks for tactile usability (you have to look at it to use it, usually with two hands) and there’s been several hiccups – including the kill switch, the disabled tethering (using it as an Internet conn for your laptop), the reduced quality under 3g, and more.

      Coming down the pipe is what’s more interesting – the iPhone going head to head with portable gaming consoles. That may be a market changer!

      Android is the Mobile OS that has my eyes on it. An open source phone that can run on virtually any hardware without limitations and an open Application store may be a huge leap beyond the iPhone.

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