Everybody has been talking about the iPhone since Steve Jobs made the announcement at MacWorld last week, and there is no shortage of opinions about the innovative new phone from Apple. If you follow the talk about the iPhone on the web you will find as many articles about the perceived shortcomings of the iPhone as you will about the cool new features of the phone. Even Kevin Tofel has chimed in about the gaps in the iPhone. The buzz about the good:
- cool new UI
- the multi-touch interface
- full-screen touchscreen
- 8 GB storage space for iTunes music and video
- how cool the iPhone looks.
On the negative side, people are slamming:
- potential poor battery life
- lack of number keys for dialing
- lack of Exchange Server syncing for business users
- people will not like using a touchscreen exclusively on a phone
- no 3G, at least initially
- it’s a closed device
- uses the same DRM as the iPod.
We can talk up the iPhone, both good and bad points, all we want but it won’t make one whit of difference. Why? Because Apple knows marketing and they’ve done it again, just like they did with the iPod. They understand that in the consumer electronics market the technical details take second place to the cool factor. Apple knows they will sell millions of iPhones based on the cool factor, and they will sell them to the same consumers who snap up iPods every time a new one is released. I’ll bet that just about every consumer who has owned more than one iPod will grab the iPhone as soon as it’s on the market, just because it’s cool and different. Apple knows you don’t have to be the best technically, as long as consumers want your cool factor, and the iPhone has it in spades. Apple knows this and they are already defending the cool factor. A Windows Mobile skin that copies the iPhone interface in looks only has already been pulled off the web as a result of a cease and desist letter from Apple. A Palm skin just released will see the same fate before the week is out. Apple knows what they have here and they have already shown they will defend it just as vigorously as they do the iPod. They understand consumer electronics as well as anyone, and they understand their market.
You can point out the perceived shortcomings of the iPhone all you want, but it won’t make any difference nor will it impact sales numbers. Apple will sell millions of the iPhones before the year is out, even if the first batch catches fire when you turn it on (is Sony making the batteries?). Pre-order numbers are about to explode, as soon as they start being published you’ll see. Apple will sell more iPhones in pre-orders in the first month than Microsoft has sold Zunes since its launch. Remember where you heard that.