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Summary:

Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote, demo of upcoming Leopard and Safari for Windows may have generated a lot of oohs and ahhs, but it was towards the end that His Jobness revealed the game plan to irreversibly change the world of wireless. No one knows for sure […]


Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote, demo of upcoming Leopard and Safari for Windows may have generated a lot of oohs and ahhs, but it was towards the end that His Jobness revealed the game plan to irreversibly change the world of wireless.

No one knows for sure how many million units of the iPhone Apple will sell – 5 or 10 million in the first year, an insignificant number when compared to over 950 million phones shipped worldwide every year. It is still not clear if and when Apple will be able to sell this device in Europe, Asia and rest of the world.

And still, it will challenge some of the conventional notions of the wireless business, take the hidebound industry by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. Nokia will join Microsoft and Dell in experiencing Apple envy.

“I am certain that the mobile telecoms world will count its time in two Eras. The Era BI: time Before the iPhone, and the ERA AI: time After the iPhone,” writes Tomi T Ahonen, co-author of book, Communities Dominate Brands, who believes that even media business should be very very worried about iPhone.

A true web applications platform for the mobile

“We have been trying to come up with a solution to expand the capabilities of the iPhone so developers can write great apps for it, but keep the iPhone secure,” he said. “… And we’ve come up with a very innovative new way to create applications for mobile devices… it’s all based on the fact that we have the full Safari engine in the iPhone. And so you can write amazing Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that look and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone, and these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services.” (Steve Jobs keynote at WWDC via Engadget.)

Charles Ying thinks that Apple just reinvented the mobile applications platform. “This isn’t mobile Flash, mobile Java, or even the mobile Web. It’s the real Web, the real deal,” he writes. (True web should also mean 3G and not pokey EDGE connections that the device currently offers, one major Achilles heel of this device.) The ease, with which developers can develop and deploy apps on both web and the phones, will put pressure on other companies (and OS vendors) to play catch-up or lose developer attention.

Break the Wireless Walled Gardens
iPhone is fully functional iPod, with full tracks of music. Do you need to download ring tones for $2.99 a pop, when you get a full song for a third of that price? Ditto for Wallpapers, and themes, and everything else that is being sold on the carrier deck.

Shift of control to the customers

If the embedded (Safari) browser if it performs the way as hyped by Jobs & Co., will give us the choice-control we have on the web. Search engines to web sites – nothing will be determined by the wireless carriers who have thus far done nothing but create barriers between what we want, and giving us what they want to sell.

Slow demise of subsidized, boring phones filled with bloat ware

The introduction of the unlocked iPhone will do two things – it would basically get US buyers savvy to the idea of buying full priced unlocked phones. Secondly, it is going to cause a behavior change – of buying phones instead of freebies. (Will iPhone save the handset business?)

Keep it simple or else

One of the lasting (at least for me) changes that iPhone will bring to the mobile market is simplification. Their new user interface is going to make complex mobile services relatively simple, and can have the same impact as Blackberry had on the corporate market.

Photo courtesy of Engadget

  1. The ‘real web’ is certainly the clutch feature in the iPhone’s arsenal- and once again their distribution of a development ecosystem is as strong as anyone’s. Redmond will have a tough time moving a proprietary mobile silverlight in the face of the Safari apps which will probably work in Firefox and Opera as well.

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  2. Interesting post. Makes me courious about the things to come with the iPhone.

    Until now I am quite happy about the liberties my Nokia E61 gives. It already feels like a small computer where I can install the applications I like. But there could be more of them.

    I very much like the idea that my phone could behave the same way as my computer because they use the same browser.

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  3. Yawn….

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  4. This of course assumes that the mobile carriers will all simply hand over the keys to the castle, right?

    The iPhone will be fantastic (well, the 3rd version anyway), but it’s a bit far fetched to think that the carriers will give up and just be dumb pipes.

    Think about what a fully open browser with AJAX would do.

    1. SMS revenues would be cannabalized by a resurgance of web based IM style applications. In the sender pays model of SMS, it would become free due to web based SMS services.

    2. XSS attacks, on your phone. This will go over really well! Keep in mind the massive amounts of data that could be pushed through even a simple AJAX bug. The carriers data networks are not exactly resilient.

    3. As this post says, a total lack of carrier control. If you have ever met with a carrier you know that they are control freaks, and are terrified of compromising the network.

    Just because someone shows them a shiny iPod with a microphone doesn’t mean they are going to roll over.

    I’m sure I’ll still buy one eventually, but lets not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?

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  5. “Search engines to web sites – nothing will be determined by the wireless carriers who have thus far done nothing but create barriers between what we want, and giving us what they want to sell.”

    well put, couldn’t agree more.

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  6. Well, I think that the real barrier is indeed the wireless telephony providers but not in the sense that they promote what they want to sell (instead of what is or the users find interesting). What’s killing almost all mobile phones potential (the iPhone being no exception) is the cost for accessing the web through the provider. The key factor is that providers have huge infrastructure (cf investments) in place and they will not give away their control over them – as people have already mentioned. So that can pretty much exclude a large fraction of ‘openness’. Even, if we the users can put up with this, it’s probably too much to ask of to access the net when we know that every minute spent online on the phone ‘bleeds’ us. And it’s only so much that can be done using telephony packages such as “x MB of online transfer using your phone for y USD/mnth”. The wireless capabilities of iPhone are quite something but still limit it if access to the internet is crippled.

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  7. @Todd,

    The mobile carriers are already “dumb pipes”. Their value is the voice and SMS service.

    Their content offerings pale versus market offerings, and have higher prices. Ultimately, market forces will tear down their walled gardens in the same way that market forces tore down AOL’s walled garden.

    If they focused their efforts on their communication technologies we wouldn’t suffer through poor quality voice and data connectivity. The carriers would also be much more than dumb pipes if they drove innovation in their core technologies instead of positioning their services as entertainment hubs.

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  8. It’s too bad that the iPhone can’t help (encourage? force?) the carriers to open their pipes. Think of how ridiculous it is to pay additional fees to send text or pictures. They want to charge for airtime? That’s fine (and necessary). But why tack on additional fees for services that use the network? We wouldn’t put up with it for Internet access, even in the dial-up days.

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  9. Om, regarding “reinvention of the mobile applications platform”, not quite yet. I could see that in later version, sure if there’s a proper SDK someday. But for now: “No iPhone SDK Means No Killer iPhone Apps ”
    Great analysis really worth reading–
    http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/fast-and-furious/no-iphone-sdk-means-no-killer-iphone-apps-267899.php

    Let me know what you think. Many software developers want to do more than Ajax in a browser-based rendering engine. They want hooks into native to do real 3rd party app innovation.

    I agree with the rest of your points, most notably the huge shift users will now have in higher expectations for gorgeous UI and user experience simplicity/delight.

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  10. Dear Om and readers of Gigaom

    Good posting. Wanted only to correct the number you quote. The annual sales volume of mobile phones is not in the 700 million range. Last year they sold 950 million (sources: Gartner Dataquest, Informa, etc) and this year its likely to be over 1 billion mobile phones.

    Notice the scale, worldwide there are about 800 million PCs total installed base; 850 million cars on the roads; 1.3 billion fixed landline phones total in use around the world. Yet the mobile phone industry ships a billion phones this year alone.

    Thanks

    Tomi Ahonen :-)

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  11. Can you write web apps that scale down to the iPhone (480×320) and up to the desktop (1024×768 to 1920×1200)?

    There is a lot to be said for mobile apps, meanings applications specifically written for mobile hardware.

    Now, if the iPhone leads to 480×320 smartphone screens everywhere, that’s a good thing.

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  12. Sebhelyesfarku Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    The iPhone is an overhyped and underfeatured turd for Mactards, fashion lemmings and dumb U.S. RAZRers.

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  13. why am i not crazy about the iphone. and what is the craze around it? it is just macmania or is there something the iphone is offering isnt already available?

    instead of going to battle in a new market sphere, apple should have capitalized on its music business where there is room for growth .. can apple become a music studio, yes it can.

    As for an corporation buying iphones for its workers as a blackberry replacement, thats a laugh, blackberry become popular because of its push server. As individuals, throwing away their mobile phones, just to get an iphone, another laugh.

    Anyway bets are on.

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  14. SmartPhone has been on the market for a couple of years. I still don’t see what iPhone brings on the table that warrant any breakthrough.

    I used Danger since it came out, switched to a HTC phone recently (because T-Moible’s signal does work out for me). Both of them does a fine job of putting a browser that works for many web sites. But I can’t say they provide great value for me in anyway. Poor signal means it is used no more than a last resort mean for me to access the web. Things that take you 30 seconds to do on a desktop, like looking up a branch address closet to a zip code, take 5 minute on the mpbile because of the small screen and slow speed. For aspired iPhone web application developers, the network is your reality check.

    I finally dropped the data network plan to save $40 a month taht I don’t use that much. Turns out that a simple note taking app is the killer app for me. Since iPhone does not has a keyboard it will offer no value for me in this respect.

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  15. Francis,

    actually if you read the last point, what is said, iphone could do for consumers, what blackberry did for corporate workers. just clarifying.

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  16. Tony,

    I have trying to get some data on mobile app downloads and hopefully that would give a better sense towards the whole argument – whether this browser based approach is actually good or not.

    regardless, you make good points. I think the web apps that scale to fit the iphone screen/browser combo could be at an advantage. i am sure that is easier to achieve than create specific apps.

    lets see how it shakes out…

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  17. “unlocked iphone”?

    1. I don’t think it is going to be unlocked. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2082059,00.asp
    2. I don’t think you can even access/remove/change the SIM card (just like the battery).
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  18. Tomi

    Good point, though I wonder if there is a difference between ship and sold. I will update the numbers to reflect correct information.

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  19. Hi Om,
    I think your article is yet another overhyped article on iPhone and let me counter each of the point that you mentioned as breakthrough

    << Break the Wireless Walled Gardens >>

    All features like wall paper,ring tones etc that you mentioned can be done in all smart phones and even some feature phones today .Example you can create your own theames using Nokia theme studio from long time .

    << Shift of control to the customers >>

    Again this not new all Nokia S60 phones have full blown browser infact it uses same browser engine as safari.(both are using same open source khtml engine).So in your words shift has already happened .the real problem is not if you full blown engine or not it is due to small screen size of these devices including iphone which makes big screen optimised webpages not so lucrative on small screens .

    << Slow demise of subsidized, boring phones filled with bloat ware >>

    This is anyway not happening with iphone so i was wondering why did you mention this at all .Today Nokias N95 is sold unlocked so that is an example that justifies your heading .

    << Keep it simple or else >>
    This may be true but again we need to wait till iphone start shipping and what are the services that it offers and how accessible and easy to use it is .so till that time we can just speculate on apple track record that it might be really easy to use .

    And regarding the point in your article that Ajax is development platform .First of all ajax will not serve all usecases as mentioned in earlier comments .Ajax has mobile development platform is not new it is already supported in Nokia S60 platform and also by Opera mobile Browser so again this neither new or anything brea through in mobile world .
    My feeling is apple would open up os X for developers in future release as they stabilise the platform as they need to tweak a lot the orginal OS X to fit into phone .So their decision of not opening up is more due to technical difficulty in stabilising the API in short period of time rather than that they believ that AJAX can replace the native development platform for 3rd party developers.This is infcat the same reason that all linux phones released so far even by Motorola dont open up the native linux as developer platform .

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  20. Name an iPhone feature that my Treo can’t do today…

    iPhone is just more hype for hipsters.

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    1. Where’s your Treo now?

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  21. @Curtis

    I’m not suggesting that the carriers should be the main content provider or have a walled approach; simply that they do.

    If you are a content provider today and sell non-porn content, the carriers are your biggest channel. Most people, especially in the US, don’t know any better. They probably should be dumb pipes, but they certainly don’t want to be.

    As I said before, SMS would be cannibalized by a fully open environment. Voice isn’t defensible as the price wars continue and Wi-Fi makes Skype more usable.

    Anyway, I agree with you in theory, but don’t expect the carriers to go down without a fight.

    -Todd

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  22. I hope that the iPhone shakes up the industry. Anything the forces service providers to examine their often arcane practices is a good thing.

    I also have a Nokia E61 w/ 2GB memory card. Plenty of music and photos, browsing via wifi, and multiple IMAP accounts. Although I love the E61, I must admit the media player and multimedia manager software used to transfer music to the device could use more attention.

    Agreed, many of the aforementioned features are not new. But neither was portable digital music when the iPod was released. What is new will be the ease of use and consumer awareness.

    Just a couple of comments:

    Consumers have had the ability to purchase full featured (unlocked) phones for some time. On mid-high end devices you can transfer music, wallpapers, and movies to your phone without paying 2.99 to the carrier. I think the problem here is behavior, and not the walled garden. I don’t think many consumers are in the habit of paying full price, for full featured unlocked phones. The iPhone may be able to change this.

    There are good mobile browsers, including Opera Mini. The problem of consumers not being able to visit the sites that they want is not a technical limitation, but rather artificial controls derived from business decisions.

    This “kiosk mode” for mobile browsers is part of the problem. Another part is restrictions imposed on the network level. There are content type, IP, port, and protocol restrictions that are not circumvented by full-featured in-hand devices. In fact, the mobile web could be a lot more open to consumers today if the carriers made gateways changes.

    We will have to see how well the service integration and AJAX works. I think we will see some cool apps. It is definitely a good thing for making web applications mobile, but I will take a wait and see approach for mobile applications. Nokia has widgets (widsets?), which combines AJAX, CSS, and HTML and offers a level of service integration. “Chatty” applications may not go over so well with consumers who are billed for data.

    The ability to leverage the hardware and local services is paramount for mobile applications. We have full featured browsers on our desktops. But we will not set out to build the next Skype, SSH client, Joost, or VLC in Javascript.

    Security, distribution, and performance concerns aside, we need to see mobile applications the make the most of the GPS, voice, storage, multimedia, PIM database, and connectivity capabilities of mobile devices.

    Apple has an advantage here. Mobile application development as it stands today needs much improvement. Media formats, keycodes, key layouts, screen sizes, memory, storage, connectivity, color depth, API support, and more vary between models. A single, stable, rich platform will definitely ease development.

    Also, we can not overlook the interdependency between the carrier billing model and the walled garden. Almost tautological, I don’t think there is an easy way to remove the walled garden with changing the way that consumers are charged. After all, something will need to change when the average consumer is able to use voice (VOIP) or messaging (socket) over WiFi on their carrier subsidized device.

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  23. A nail in the coffin for IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystems) — the offical walled garden protocol suite of 3GPP/3GPP2.

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  24. techuntangled Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Wow, Om – very interesting insight.

    Regarding “Slow demise of subsidized, boring phones filled with bloat ware”, I think that purchasing an unlocked phone and buying phones instead of freebies are part of the same thing. The reason to buy a phone at full price (behavioral change) is to have an unlocked phone that can be used on another network. otherwise, purchase a 1 or 2 year contract at a subsidized price (some carriers don’t have contracts and still use subsidization as an purchase incentive ).

    I too, am very interested in how the Apple and iphone will challenge long held notions and ‘change the world’. An article I penned today on Smart iPhone Strategy to launch on June 29. Let me know what you think.

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  25. Allowing access to the iPhone API only throgh the browser is really quite limiting. It is a PR stunt to show a token effort by Apple to allow developer access to their revolutionary device.

    So developers loose with minimal possibilities to make money and innovate on the iPhone. Did you really expect anything different from Jobs inc.?

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  26. I am so gatting an iphone when they come out.

    But the only thing is though, they come out later in the uk.

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  27. Two things splash cold water on some of the far-reaching predictions you make. One is the slow connection speed — which you acknowledge. Two is incorrectly saying the i-Phone is unlocked –if I wasn’t forced to use Cingular/AT&T, then yes i-Phone would be a dramatic break from present choices.

    One thing i-Phone is that hasn’t been mentioned — a harbinger of why the .mobi domain doesn’t make any sense. Eventually we (the masses) will have devices that give a true web experience, making a separate site designed for mobile superfluous.

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  28. David Millsaps said:

    ” … Safari apps which will probably work in Firefox and Opera as well.”

    Highly doubtful unless Firefox and Opera ripped out their rendering engines and supplanted it with … have you checked out WebKit < http://webkit.org/ > ?

    Todd wrote:

    “If you have ever met with a carrier you know that they are control freaks, and are terrified of compromising the network.

    Just because someone shows them a shiny iPod with a microphone doesn’t mean they are going to roll over.”

    Ah Todd dude, have you forgotten that Cingular is rolling over and re-branding as AT&T leveraging the iPhone release event to do that? They may be control freaks but there are control freaks in every industry. Microsoft is a company full of control freaks from the top down and they didn’t see the Internet coming in 1995 (remember Windows95 and the Microsoft Network)? The mobile telecom carriers have been touting data services for years and years and years but the reality is that not many people have been using a lot of data because of the costs. So these guys can be control freaks all they want but if what they really fear is eroding sales due to alternative ways to dial (Vonage, Skype, et al) then they really have no choice but to give up at least some control and Cingular has done just that with Apple. If there’s no carrot dangling in front of the customers, then the carriers can be control freaks until the end of time and it won’t matter. This crap about the walled gardens of content is for the birds and it obviously doesn’t work and doesn’t generate huge revenues for the mobile carriers.

    Stephen wrote:

    “Many software developers want to do more than Ajax in a browser-based rendering engine. They want hooks into native to do real 3rd party app innovation.”

    Oh really Stephen? But do the “mere mortals” who depend on a mobile phone doing what its supposed to do really give a rat’s butt what the developers want to do? The iPhone is NOT about developers its about customers. Have you ever met (like I have) three people who have thrown their Treo against the wall and shattered them because the Treo’s operating system would crash during a phone call? Ooh la la, there are lots of developers of apps for the Treo. Do you think that Steve Jobs is an idiot and that he didn’t study the Treo?

    Tony wrote:

    “Can you write web apps that scale down to the iPhone (480×320) and up to the desktop (1024×768 to 1920×1200)?”

    Oh Tony dude, you obviously haven’t studied WebKit have you.

    Om wrote:

    “… actually if you read the last point, what is said, iphone could do for consumers, what blackberry did for corporate workers. just clarifying.”

    Om good point but have you by any chance read Von Hippel’s “Democratizing Innovation”? One can’t help but wonder if the lines between “consumer” and “enterprise” are not starting to blur perhaps? What I mean is that there is no reason why the iPhone can’t also function (with excellent back end infrastructure in the clouds) as a “corporate” tool. Really, no reason at all (hint: Scott Forstall, VP of iPhone yesterday showed off in the Keynote presentation a web-based app on the iPhone that was using serious network-based cloud tools to look up an address of a business person).

    Om wrote:

    “… I think the web apps that scale to fit the iphone screen/browser combo could be at an advantage.”

    Om: WebKit WebKit WebKit (note: Nokia S60 also uses WebKit)

    Todd wrote:

    “As I said before, SMS would be cannibalized by a fully open environment.”

    Why on planet Earth would SMS be cannibalized? SMS is a totally different protocol. Do you really know how SMS works at the nuts and bolts level? I have my doubts.

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  29. “buying full priced unlocked phones”. As several other posters have noted, getting to a situation where the American wireless operators accept this will be very difficult. Contracts and locked phones allow the operators to retain control of the customer. There already are no-contract operators in the US. If they start getting better traction having locked phones will be one of the few remaining impediments to true wireless competition.

    Let the games begin!

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  30. Om, imagine that wireless service gets commoditized into a broadband wireless pipe. The iPhone evolves very well into that future; does AT&T really evolve as well? Also one of the big issues with the iPhone is that from the available information it’s not clear how well it integrates with corporate IT systems (blackberry, exchange servers). Perhaps Apple doesn’t intend to let it integrate super well, and will use that as a leverage point to sell more of its own middleware server software to enterprises (with AT&T providing distribution, they might have a shot).

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  31. “Why on planet Earth would SMS be cannibalized? SMS is a totally different protocol. Do you really know how SMS works at the nuts and bolts level? I have my doubts.”

    SMS is the most profitable business the carriers have. If there is an app that would supplant the use of SMS AT&T will not let it on the network.

    It’s not a protocol/nuts and bolts issue, it’s a business issue. It’s about use cases, not technology.

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  32. ATT let Apple get away with some things, but Apple had to give something back — no VOIP or Skype.

    At least they could add Google Gears to Safari or something. I am surprised there was no announcement..

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  33. No bars = no Apps.

    I read almost all of my news offline on my Blackberrey 8800 using a fat client. Offline capabilities are critical for any serious application platform. Calling Safari an iPhone API is the goofiest thing I have ever heard of.

    That said, if pressed to make sense of this post and specifically the first point, one could argue that the iPhone may hasten the 90′s vision of a web app world (AJAX is that old afterall) if only because people will be starved for software for their sexy new device. Alas, up to 50% of the time such software will be useless until the cloud is universally accessible or the iPhone plays nicely offline.

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  34. “Why on planet Earth would SMS be cannibalized? SMS is a totally different protocol. Do you really know how SMS works at the nuts and bolts level? I have my doubts.”

    I know far more about SMS than I care to. If I need to start spouting off hex codes for binary SMS, let me know. The protocol is pointless anyway, it’s the way SMS is used that is important. (Simple phone messaging)

    As Erik pointed out, it’s a business issue. SMS is so popular because it is simple and quick. It’s also extremely profitable for the carriers because they can charge for it, and the margains are gigantic.

    How big are the per-message margins on AJAX based IM clients, or a webapp that polls a website for your latest message every 5 minutes? (You’ll note that SMS messaging charges apply for most mobile IM clients today.. that goes out the window with an open environment as well)

    As for the rebranding comment…. I understand that AT&T is using the iPhone to create brand awarness. That doesn’t mean they want to give up control. BTW, by “control freaks”, I meant it in a business sense. They believe that opening up doesn’t help them financially.

    Who sells the most content in the US?

    Verizon, the definition of closed garden.

    Will the world become more open? Sure. I don’t see any walls crashing down around us though.

    I guess we’ll see shortly though won’t we! :)

    -Todd

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  35. I’m a Mac-guy, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just a teensy-weensy iPhone’d out.

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  36. Om:

    I am intrigued by the fact that popular blog sites such as this and Techcrunch consistently attract sizeable number comments, whereas the volume of comments on a no less popular site such as Danny Sullivan’s SearchEngineLand fails make the Gieger counter move on most days. Is this due to the fact that the latter requires one to register before s/he can enter a comment, whereas TC and Gigaom have no such restrictions? Or does it have to do with style – TC, Gigaom’s provocative, almost forcing people to take positions vis-a-vis the author tone versus more informative, descriptive style found on SEL?

    I am mindful of the fact that from a pure metrics point of view i.e. visitors/visits/uniques/page views etc, SEL may not be laggards by any stretch of imagination, but perhaps on a measure of user’s ‘engageability’ or ‘interaction’ as demonstrated by the numbers of comments per article or number of comments per unique visitor, it appears to lag in a big way.

    I don’t know if this makes sense… but maybe there is some information to be discerned by evaluating comment/feedback volume.

    Your thoughs?

    Thanks,

    SunnyvaleBizDev

    p.s. I wanted to enter this comment at SEL but was deterred by the implied ‘cost’ of registration. What prevented me from incrementing the comments counter at SEL is that solely what’s keeping their feedback volume low?

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  37. Jonathan Frate Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Why do people think that cingular is going to roll over and slice it’s own throat with this iPhone?

    Cingular is the king of marquee announcements.

    They’re looking at the iphone as the next moto razr. they’ll use it to attract sales, but they’re not going to let apple create it’s own mini mvno on the backs of cingular over night!

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  38. Hey come on!

    No open APIs for developing native iPhone apps, no big deal.

    I think apple is trying to make some time before fixing issues for API stability.

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  39. Interesting conjectures. I agree that the prospect of real Web applications is really attractive. We have a digital magazine platform which is pure web (pages=urls, with the JPEG image of a page and server-side database, cf Google Book Search). Since we also convert international phone numbers to live numbers on the page, I am keen to try ringing from a magazine on an iPhone using the click through phone Number of the advertiser. This should all work out of the box, but we wont be seeing iPhones in the UK for a few months. Will there be an emulator on the Apple web site? First authenticated instance gets subscription to magazine of their choice from our selection. See blog about this
    http://exacteditions.blogspot.com/2007/06/iphone-with-bated-breath.html

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  40. The following was also posted to Dvorak’s Weblog:

    Problems with the iPhone:

    1. The “buttons” are a flat surface. No tactile feedback, unlike “real” cell phones.

    2. Only works with Cingular/AT&T (Aside: why did AT&T resurrect the widely mocked Death Star logo?)

    3. I want fewer “features” on my phone, not more. If I want a portable Web device, I’ll bring along a readable laptop. I’m still trying to figure out how to remove text messaging/SMS/browsing/whatever from my Samsung cell phone, without success.

    4. Safari is a lousy browser (on my wife’s Mac anyway) compared to Firefox, Seamonkey, and even IE 7, and the iPhone “screen” is too small to let us older guys read Web pages on it.

    5. I have an iPod with lots of room for music and file storage; I don’t need music on a cell phone except for a ringtone.

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  41. Plenty of devices could offer a few extra features if they were twice to three times the price of competitor products. It doesn’t mean that they’ll sell well, or be influential except in the minds of a few Apple fanboys.

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  42. I still don’t buy any of the hype. No SDK kinda sucks, because what really makes the device “a killer” is to have a lot of third party apps. My Windows mobile phone probably has a dozen apps that I refer to often. I don’t want to have constant web access to do stuff. I want to be able to read news feeds while I’m on an airplane.

    You’ll see a lot of sales of it, but it’ll be dull. It doesn’t do anything that my phone does now and has done for quite some time. And if you’re seduced by the voicemail component, then you’re a rube.

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  43. CTRL-SHIFT-APPL

    On your walled-garden comment — I am not sure if I want to cede control to Apple any more than I do to Carriers…. They are hardly the posterchild for open platforms.

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  44. well the iphone looks cool and all but my sidekick can do all of that plus it looks SO much more fashionable and cooler. You see blackberries, razrs and sidekicks in all the movies and tv shows, not sure that the iphone will be everywhere so quick

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  45. I had no idea unlocked iPhones would be available. Any idea what the price will be?

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  46. I’m with Floyd
    If I want to take a picture i’ll bring a camera
    Listen to music I’ll bring my mp3 player, or God forbid my TAPE player, :)
    Floyd whats up about the ring tones, you can’t understand whats playing anyway.

    Give me omproved quality and I’ll be happy!

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  47. I’m always intrigued by the geek squeek about Apple’s new products:

    The reason Jobs doesn’t want to allow 3rd party access to the operating system, why he wants other companies apps to be “sandboxed” is obvious: he doesn’t want the iPhone to be the target of the first major cell phone virus! Apple may be a small target in the computer world, but it is rapidly building a HUGE bullseye on it’s corporate chest in the mobile phone world. Nothing would hurt them more now than a catastrophic worm or virus. I’m not a programmer, but it seems Jobs has left an avenue for the serious developer to create interesting, useful apps within the Safari environment. And don’t forget, his security paranoia has worked pretty well for the average Mac user.

    According to Scott Bourne the unlocked iPhone will be just under $1000.

    As for having too many features… Ricky Boy and Floyd, are you guys sales reps for Scott Evest? (http://www.scottevest.com/) From a technological pragmatist’s viewpoint, the fewer unique devices I have to pack around, the better! If those wonderful Apple industrial engineers added a key holder and a bottle opener it would be approaching perfection.

    All in all, I’m reminded of the Arsinio Hall line, back when Dan Quayle was ragging on Rap music. “Dan, it’s not FOR you!” Well, we’re getting to a place in technological history, where the new, latest greatest, technological gizmo isn’t aimed at the technophile, the übergeek if you will. It’s designed for 57 year old businessmen like me, for young girls more interested in Barbie than bandwidth, for the proverbial soccer mom who uses the internet to check out the price of a new pair of Reeboks for little Jimmie. And you know what, this is exactly who the product should be designed for and appeal to. This is an evolutionary event! Maybe it’s not what the advanced computer community dreamed of. That group represents, maybe, 1/100th of 1% of the potential market, and frankly, the things that most appeal to those folks, scare off most of the rest of us. We want our stuff to work. All the time! We neither want nor need a choice of 15 different timers, or the ability to run Linux on our phone because, “wouldn’t it be cool to run GIMP on a phone?” I expect my phone to make and receive calls. If it can play movies, and double as a hard drive for data, and has a bunch of music I like, plus a gaggle of other stuff that I can learn to use easily, that’s terrific!

    This is what sets Steve Jobs and Apple apart from the vast majority of technology producers. He and they get it. They see how the world has shifted. We are seeing the first signs of the computer industry maturing into a mainstream organism. For good or ill, the influence of the geek is waning.

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  48. Ahem…. as I was saying about the carriers…

    http://gigaom.com/2007/06/15/tmobile-truphone/

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  49. As enjoyable as all this discussion has been, it’s a relief to have only days before real data begins rolling in. Plan ahead to set aside more time Monday July 2nd to read the Web.

    Thank Om.

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  50. It is refreshing to see Apple break the mold of the cell phone as we’ve known it, opening windows for more market-defying, style-defining phones that draw attention to the full potential of a mobile device. Yet, to truly experience the content, entertainment and communications of the Mobile Web, consumers might find themselves hamstrung by the same limitations of the iPhone’s predecessors. The availability of a sophisticated, innovative interface – voice, text, touch – holds the key to truly making the concept of ‘elegant simplicity’ a reality, something consumers have come to expect and gravitate toward when experiencing their mobile devices.

    • Nuance (www.nuance.com)
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  51. It’s refreshing to see Apple break the mold of the cell phone as we’ve known it, opening windows for more market-defying, style-defining phones that draw attention to the full potential of a mobile device. Yet, to truly experience the content, entertainment and communications of the Mobile Web, consumers might find themselves hamstrung by the same limitations of the iPhone’s predecessors. The availability of a sophisticated, innovative interface – voice, text, touch – holds the key to truly making the concept of ‘elegant simplicity’ a reality, something consumers have come to expect and gravitate toward when experiencing their mobile devices.

    • Nuance (www.nuance.com)
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  52. Wait until tell comes out with its iPhone killer. And don’t be surprised if Samsung has one in the works, too.

    The iPhone has way too many shortcomings and I doubt that they’ll effectively adapt to market forces. Apple might know music; it does not know mobile telephony — and there’s no reason to assume that they do simply because they have a cute GUI.

    Time will tell, but I’d still bet on the Microsoft platform for mobile devices, for ubiqcomp in general.

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  53. Despite the buzz, I have a hard time seeing how this product strengthens Apple, which enjoys a reputation of . . . well, how to put this? Of not selling broken products. Apple prod is supposed to work out of the box, and work intuitively. Apple’s rep is that they work the bugs out of a product before they sell something. And while you learn to use Windows, Apple is intuitive.
    With iPhone, that all changes, doesn’t it? AT&T had activation problems, there’s already reports about bugs . . . and there even seems to be some security gaps, a new problem for Apple. It’s a neat phone, don’t get me wrong, but one that may provide little incentive for consumers to rush out and buy the next Apple intro.
    I’ve written more about Apple’s iPhone and brand at http://www.furniturestyle.com/Departments/EtcPage/tabid/80/Default.aspx?tid=1&ContentID=1119

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  54. So far it seems like the iPhone has been able to hold its ground and remain relatively unchallenged by any real competitors.

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  55. Time is still ticking away, and the iPhone has hardly lived up to the huge buzz that was created (not so much by Apple, but certainly by their fans!) I’m not really that impressed with it, to be honest. And the ‘unlocked iPhone’ is a pipe dream : that hasn’t happened. And, that’s one of the reasons why I think it hasn’t been the success it could have (that, and the ridiculous price tag!)
    I think this was a test case. The next generation will probably be better – but this is a very competitive market Apple are entering, and they shouldn’t be surprised that others will come up with much better designs.

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