Industrial Design is King – What Else?

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In his latest Business 2.0 article, Om Malik analyzes the “iPod Influence” on the handheld communications device market, comparing the ROKR to the RAZR:

Why Did ROKR fail and RAZR didn’t? Call it the iPod effect. Apple, which has sold 25 million units of its popular music player so far, has had a huge impact on product design in the consumer electronics industry at large. [Read More]

Based on the article’s last sentence, one can’t help but imagine the fascinating turns the handheld communications device market will take once Apple decides to make a true entrance, which the Motorola ROKR was not.

The very sleek designs of recent high-end devices put forth by Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia show these giants are learning from Apple ahead of its becoming a fabled threat.

But beyond industrial design, Apple would bring another strong set of threats to the phone giants: its ever-growing, self-reinforcing ecosystem:

On Mac and PC:
– iTunes
– iTunes Store – Music
– iTunes Store – Video
– iTunes Podcasts
– QuickTime
– h264

On the Mac:
– iPhoto synchronization with iPod
– iSync / Address Book / Contacts / Calendar

On Handhelds:
– Nokia announced around WWDC2005 that it is developing a web browser based on Apple’s open-source WebKit/WebCore. If Nokia successfully leverages WebCore on a handheld device, it shouldn’t be too much of long shot for Apple to follow suit on its own device.
– Apple has also consistently pioneered widespread end-user adoption of Wireless technologies such as WiFi. It shouldn’t be too surprising to see Apple further embrace WiFi into the handheld world.

Imagine all of this packed into a beautifully designed ultimate convergence device that doesn’t reek of “built by nerds, for nerds”, and which seamlessly plugs into our existing digital lifestyles, from the computer, to the living room.

Beyond Apple, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, Korean devices haven’t even yet entered the U.S. market. But that’s about to change.

If Apple were to make an entry into the handheld communications device market, 2006 would be a ripe year. Say hello to the real iPhone?

What do you readers think? Do you believe there’s a chance in this reality Apple will make an entrance into this market?

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