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With ‘Defensive’ iPhone, Apple Tries To Redefine Category

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As Apple joins the S&P 100, this Economist offers some iPhone hype (along with messianic Steve Jobs comparisons) and takes the views of a couple of analysts, three weeks ahead of the gadget’s June 29 US arrival.

Tim Bajarin, Creative Insights: The iPhone is a “defensive” move for Apple, which was faced with rivals improving their handsets’ music features to a degree that could jeopardize iPod – the challenge was not so much defining a new product category as reinventing an existing one.

Ben Reitzes, UBS: iPhone’s new touch-screen interface “should be seen as a new ‘mega-platform’ that will support other products – ultra-portable computers, say, or new TV sets – … [providing] a logical chronology of products for years to come.”

A second piece, on “what others could learn from California’s master of innovation”, reminds us that some of Apple’s most innovative products, iPod included, have originated outside of the company, with Apple partnering with consultants and others in a “network innovation” approach.

Jobs may only be targeting one percent of the handset market initially, but, crystal ball gazing side, whether mainstream consumers will want a multi-function device with no buttons, and available from just one carrier will only be borne out by sales figures. We also will be interested to note responses to the iPhone in the first few weeks – the first weeks after 2005’s iPod nano launch were dogged with complaints about easily scratched screens – and the iPhone’s screen is a whole two inches bigger on the diagonal.

3 Responses to “With ‘Defensive’ iPhone, Apple Tries To Redefine Category”

  1. Peekay

    People are going crazy over the iPhone, but the apps are really already out there. The presentation is sleek, but I can already get my music wirelessly through the "M" app from Mercora. People are so hyped about the iPhone because it's an Apple product. How about just looking at what's being offered?!?!

  2. Scott Hannan

    Tim Bajarin, Creative Insights says its defensive – point is taken, but look at it from another angle – Apple are improving the user experience for mobile device users dramatically (multimedia viewing/sharing, voicemail interface, touch screen, form factor). So regardless of the fact that it is the world leading music platform/service, they are bringing an integrated, user friendly and market changing device to the masses…that is not defensive in my mind.

    This is also the first time (since the dawn of carrier portals) where the device vendor has had leverage and pretty much retains ownership of the customer and the experience.