There are predators in the water

Apple has released another advertisement for the iPad which again takes us away from the “DUAL CORE”, “1 GB RAM” or showing people skipping (?!!!??!?!)

Apple are, of course, focusing on the apps. Apps for everything. I just read a thread on a sailing forum about whether to bring a laptop or an iPad as an onboard computing tool and the overwhelming replies were about the iPad. Only one respondent recommended a laptop and only one recommended an Android tablet. It is all about the apps.

Apple has successfully managed to avoid competitor comparisons. The closest we’ve seen has been the recent “Not an iPhone” series which divides the world into two sections: iPhone and Not iPhone.

This is essentially how the tablet market will play out. Apple will continue to buy up huge amounts of components and manufacturing for their huge shipments while competitors will be competing not only for marketshare and mindshare but for components and manufacturing – and not just against Apple but against every other manufacturer. I read today of a new Indian-sourced Honeycomb tablet on the market. The competitor for that tablet is the PlayBook, the Web OS tablet offering, the other Android tablets. Those are the predators in the water.

I don’t have a good animal kingdom simile here but it’s a bit like a Great White Shark in the water with a few hundred Piranhas. The Piranhas would love to eat the Shark but they can’t. They can only eat the scraps the Shark leaves and if one of their number gets hurt or shows weakness, they eat him too.

Lest we forget, Apple’s “old” iPod has still yet to be unseated as the music player of choice. Maybe music is old hat now but you have to imagine that it’s still a money maker for the Cupertino giant. Apple wasn’t a giant in 2001 when the iPod was released and all of their hungry, predatory competitors failed to destroy them. Instead they let them build an ecosystem, an entire new OS branch, a software store and still, ten years later, nothing has managed to destroy the iPod. Except maybe the iPod touch.

So what makes the pundits think that the now, after Apple reporting unprecedented growth for umpteen quarters, they’re going to just disappear?

iPhone vs Android: software lock-in and halo effect

From CNNMoney.com

77% of iPhone owners say they’ll buy another iPhone, compared to 20% of Android customers who say they’ll buy another Android phone.

I’ll address these as the result of two separate things.

SOFTWARE LOCK-IN
Software lock-in on the iPhone is high for most people. Once you’re in there with Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies and any of the other paid-for iPhone apps, you’re going to suffer from an unconscious lock-in. This hasn’t really occurred on Android initially because of it’s slow adoption but more recently because it’s still not possible to actually be paid in many countries if you’re a developer which is slowing adoption as well. And because the good paid apps aren’t there, normal people aren’t buying them which is again reducing the lock-in.

Software lock-in (essentially meaning the ability to transfer your software to other similar devices but not other platforms) is working well for iPhone but is currently worthless on Android. Software lock-in is not a bad thing in itself – it can’t be used as an argument for or against any mobile platforms because all of them practise lock-in – but it has an effect.

For example, this is my page of folders on iOS:

Lock-in

Every one of those folders is an incentive to stay with iPhone. Primarily because there’s some good fun in there but also because my kids are really happy to be distracted by lots of different colourful games when we’re waiting in the car or during a long journey. Therefore I get additional lock-in pressure from my kids.

HALO EFFECT
In the office where I’m based there are six people. When I started there, one had an iPhone (me!). The others had a variety of Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices. Now, two years later there are five iPhones and one Android device in use. (One of the individuals went to HTC Magic running Android from Blackberry and since then has had a iPhone 3GS and is now on an iPhone 4.) The one Android device left here in the office is a HTC Hero still running Android 1.5. I would describe this as a Halo effect. Different to the common Halo effect (easily described as the effect of buying one device with an Apple logo meaning you buy a lot more), this is showing that experiences with the device are leading to others buying the device. This is partially related to software lock-in; people are interested in getting the same software as you.

For the record, the one Android device will apparently disappear from this office when the contract ends. This is not a good trend for Android.

I, myself, have bought each iPhone as it has been released (I’m still waiting for my iPhone 4 to arrive) but despite my interest in Android, I’ve yet to buy any hardware. This is entirely because the hardware churn in Android is extremely rapid which means there never seems to be a good time to buy. With the iPhone, you know there’ll be a new model every June but with Android, there’s a new model with slightly tweaked specifications coming out every month or so. And some of them have Android 2.1 and some have earlier versions of the OS but I’m expecting Android 2.2 – hence my reticence to buy now. The minimum specifications for Android seem to be rising and some features (such as the ballyhooed Flash) do not run on sub 1 GHz devices so this is again putting me off – 1 GHz has become the new minimum and currently shipping devices don’t seem to be exceeding this. Where’s the high end device?

All of this contributes to a ecology where Android is selling briskly (helped by Buy One, Get One Free tricks – also used by RIM but never by Apple) but that people are not returning to Android as a whole. It’s something that Google needs to resolve. And Nokia needs to respond as well – though they may have sold 10x the number of handsets as Apple, Apple is making more than 10x the amount of profit (creating a factor of nearly 100 difference between the companies). iPhone with it’s singular presentations (ignoring the current ‘legacy’ iPhone 3GS still being sold) is a clear marketing position. Nokia still produces dozens and dozens of different models. This is why iPhones in cafés are so recognisable but it’s so hard to identify the market share for any other individual model of phone. This contributes to the Halo effect I mention above. You can easily spot people using iPhones (and due to the dearth of ringtones, hear them). How about the frequency of spotting any other model or brand of phone?

Wake up, Mac, time to die.

From one point of view, Apple, with the Macintosh, won the computing industry. They revolutionised computing in the early 70s with the Apple II and did it again in the 80s with the Macintosh. Nowadays you can’t sell a personal computer that doesn’t, in some way, bear some homage to that tiny, slow, expensive machine. Apple turned cursor computing into pointer computing and for the last 25 years we’ve been interacting with computers the same way – inputting data with a keyboard and using a single finger to poke at the virtual world.

In the late 90s I wrote a website which theorised the future of computing and I included the idea that we could have two pointers. We would have new methods of interaction as we could hold objects with one pointer and ‘tear’ objects with the other. I hadn’t considered touchscreens because my HCI year at the University of Ulster told me that touchscreens had lots of issues – not least that your pointing device gets in the way of your display. Who could have known that the success there would be with smaller screens.

MG Siegler of Techcrunch writes:

And it’s potentially even bigger than that. Last week, I argued that the reason everyone is so excited about this tablet is because there is the very real possibility that it will alter the role of computing in our lives just as the iPhone has. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber took that concept further: “I think The Tablet is nothing short of Apple’s reconception of personal computing,” he wrote.

It’s my feeling that on the 26th anniversary of the Macintosh, Apple intends to bring multi-finger computing to everyone, not just those smart enough to already be using an iPod touch, iPhone or new Unibody Mac. The gestures available on a Mac right now are minimal, the screens on iPod and iPhone are too small to effectively use more than two fingers – so something is coming. I can taste it.

One of the most obvious things about the proposed Tablet is that Tablets are not new. They’ve been around for years in many forms and Apple even had their own foray into it in the 90s with the Newton. Tablets have never been terribly successful however and have been limited to semi-lucrative vertical market deals for education and medical. For this reason, some pundits tell us that we don’t need an Apple tablet and if all things were equal, they’d be right.

When Apple released the iPod, there was a lot of choice in the MP3 player market. But no-one seemed to be getting it right. The DRM controls were a nightmare, the storage capacities were tiny (or alternatively the player was immense), the user interfaces were arcane and battery life was rubbish. Pundits stood up to tell us how wrong it was, how it was doomed to failure (just as they had with the iMac, the iBook) and almost a decade later you’d be crazy (or ignorant) to buy any MP3 player other than an iPod.

It’s a dangerous life for a pundit, being expected to support one competitor over another and being influenced by the advertising dollars which flow through your web site. In many cases, I think they delight in being wrong as folk out there are more likely to link them, more likely to comment and therefore more likely provide statistics (nomatter how meaningless) on readership and market penetration.

Pundits have, so far, been completely wrong on the iPhone (it’s still selling well, still growing, still being improved and still better than pretty much anything else out there). And as it grows, people are buying apps and increasing the investment they have in the platform – this becomes an assurance, part of a war chest that Apple will leverage for future products, be they iPod touch, iPhone or new, unannounced products. This war chest, the Halo effect’, will help ensure that the next product you buy has an Apple logo.

So – yes – we’re being played by one of the Silicon Valley computing companies.

Steve Jobs said:

“If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.”
— Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

Pretty much a year later, he was running Apple. He killed off the old Mac, introduced his own operating system (skinned to look like a Mac) milked the name for a decade, reduced Apple’s reliance on the Mac (with the iPod), introduced a new killer OS platform (a next great thing, iPhone OSX-based) and is about to introduce another OSX-based platform, another next great thing, which will help to cement the company in the future and further reduce the reliance on the Mac which, in it’s essence, is based on a 25-year old interaction metaphor.

Wake up, Mac, time to die.

Ten Apps I Want…

Ten Apps that I’d like to see on the iPhone. I’m also suggesting names for these. To be honest, I’d like to pull together a team to build them but that seems to be a lot more difficult than I’d hoped. If anyone wants to call me and work with me to pull together funding, then you know where to get me.

  1. MeetFreak/TrendSeek
    Helps people find each other by abusing Twitter trends and trying to suck Location Data in there. This is a lot easier now that Twitter is supporting GeoTags. So, let us see a map of trends? People are talking about #RED, where are they talking about it? Let us see every tweet with the Trend on a map that we can see. Then you’re more likely to be able to congregate with people
  2. Multitool
    Uses the five tabs along the bottom to give you a view of
    1) IMAP account
    2) Web Browser
    3) Twitter
    4) Mapper
    5) Converter/Calculator
    Redirects all http:// and mailto: seen inside the app, to the app and not outside so doesn’t launch Safari or Mail. A lot of this is kinda redundant when we have decent clients for much of this inside Safari. But some offline caching is a big deal for those of us who tend not to be inside the city centres where you can get decent 3G.
  3. Screen shot 2009-12-01 at 11.32.12

  4. Verifriend, Reputato
    This is an online reputation profiler. Yes, it’s going to be a popularity contest but essentially it all depends on trust. Adding your rating to someone is not something to be done lightly. In some ways it needs to be a trust engine – and it can be as simple as giving a trust rating to a new friend based on the trust ratings that others have provided. There needs to be some sort of anonymity (maybe like the reviews process on iTunes you only get a rating when a certain number of reviews have been processed) but unlike FaceBook it should provide that extra level of security.
  5. Screen shot 2009-12-01 at 11.30.26

  6. Director
    Allows me to text directions to someone who asks me on the street. In plain text. Or Bluetooth them. Or even just email them. Or something. Or magic them straight into their brain. Any of these things would be fine. Just so I don’t have to try to explain the directions to someone.
  7. REDACTED
    This one was so good, someone asked me to take it down. 🙂 Suffice to say it was AR related.
  8. Tweet16
    Twitter lists are all very well but they don’t solve th problem I have. I follow about 1000 people but there’s probably less than 150 or so (that magic Dunbar number) whom I regularly interact with. There’s probably only 10% of those whom I really want to pay attention to. I’d like a Twitter client that shows me my timeline, my mentions, my DMs and finally, my Tweet16 – 16 people from whom I see all of their public messages rather than not seeing the ones who are at people I don’t follow.
  9. Plannity
    So, I fill in all of this information into my calendar and that includes times and dates and, most crucially, locations of my meetings. Why hasn’t there been a social app that runs via Exchange/Outlook, on iPhone, iCal and other formats which takes this location information, munges it up with my social network and allows me to see when I can grab lunch with friends or when I’m in the same town as someone I like. I think that Tripit is meant to do this and today I read about Plancast which promises to do something about this. But this is a hot topic, guys. Location is the big thing for 2009/2010.
  10. Echelon (or TwitterBug)
    I mentioned this a week ago – a cool idea for Twitter and other social networks which again uses location. So – get this – all of your messages are geotagged, or if not now, a lot of them will be. So, Echelon ‘listens’ in for anything said in an area rather than things said about trends or by your friends. The default set is seeing tweets which are in your immediate area – the killer part though is being able to drop a ‘bug’ (for bug, read ‘pin’) on a map and be able to sample the Tweets going through that area and the surrounding radius. So, in effect, you’ve dropped a Twitter Bug somewhere and you’re able to listen in. The Freemium version could monitor one location, the PayFor version could monitor several. ( ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UK-USA Security Agreement (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States)
  11. photo

  12. The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception
    Perfect for the Sandbagger or Spook among us, this is a recently published book derived from an official manual. As most of them are small pictorial sessions, they’re ripe for viewing on the iPhone, turning the iPhone into the ultimate tradecraft manual. You can see clips from the book on Gizmodo. So scan it, make it searchable so you can quickly flick through and find the perfect tradecraft for the perfect moment.
  13. Pollenator
    For public debates, a simple push notification which opens the app and gives you a simple couple of choices accompanied with text, audio or video. Push one, it’s recorded (with time, place, ID, IMEI and whatever other data you have collected and after a certain amount of time, the poll times out. Poll answers should be “Yes”, “No” or “Whatever”. If you choose to ignore or “Whatever” it, then you’re counted as an abstention. I’d love to see this app running and see visualisations of what it could bring in terms of demographics, location and other meta data. I sat with Stuart and Phil (and with PJ on the end of a Skype call) one evening and we mocked up some stuff for this based on Stuarts idea of “Pirates versus Ninjas”. But the actual implementation could have led to entirely other applications.
  14. Polls widget from Google Wave
    Polls widget from Google Wave

I’d love to see all of these on my iPhone. Id love to talk more about these apps to people who are interested. I’d love even more to be involved in the group/company/whatever that was going to make some of these.

Please comment if they inspired you or if you’re working on something similar.

Open Data

After not travelling long-distance for around 15 years, I found myself in San Francisco twice this year. San Francisco has many similarities to Belfast – a plethora of neighbourhoods, a strong history of civil rights activity and the majority of economic activity being firmly in the ‘S’ part of SME.

San Francisco also has an initiative to open City data such as crime statistics, restaurant health codes and municipal recycling information. This will be stored at DataSF.org. Northern Ireland’s equivalent is the recently launched OpenDataNI initiaitve.

These efforts are aimed at the citizen as well as the entrepreneur. There’s nothing stopping a smart developer/designer from building and marketing a service that uses open data in a new and interesting way. Whether that’s directing individuals to recycling spots around the city or mixing school and crime data together with a property rental service (something I’m guessing we’ll see coming out of Propertypal judging by some of their recent tweets – smart guys!)

We already have some innovators in this arena and Momentum / Digital Circle is working to foster additional development. I’ve been working to develop the already exciting iPhone development community in Northern Ireland. DevDays in April attracted 155 people and Refresh Belfast last Monday got 90 people through the door focusing on iPhone Design despite a literally last minute venue mishap due to double-booking.

Momentum / Digital Circle are launching a Mobile Application Challenge in the coming weeks. The premise is to get folk out there displaying some of the work they are doing in Mobile Applications (featuring but not limited to iPhone development) and getting them in front of potential investors and also a potential audience. By focusing on the areas of Consumer, Health & Wellbeing, Public Service Value and Enterprise, we’re showing off some of the excellent work that goes on behind closed doors or under license to other companies in other countries. We’re putting together a series of workshops – highlighting design, Connected Health, applications which use the Cellular network and assistance in protection and exploitation of intellectual property.

For open data the possibilities are still yet to be realised and the OpenDataNI staff would love to hear more suggestions on data sources which would benefit the general public. What have we, the public, paid for and yet we don’t have access to?

Creative Sandbox: Show and Tell for Techies

Creative Sandbox was designed to spark the imagination of agencies by showing the best uses of Google products and creative possibilities in a high energy environment.

The more I think about it, the more we need to have more ‘show and tell’ of what we’re doing in Northern Ireland. There are risks – those of disclosure of unprotected IP – but there is a lot to be gained from showing and telling, not only the Venture Capitalists and Business Angels, but also the everyman, the tourist, the would-be entrepreneur (wantrepreneur).

Windows Mobile 7? Nothing to see here

WMPowerUser.com, a Windows Mobile focussed site, seems to have come up with some screen shots of Windows Mobile 7. This mobile OS will allegedly be hitting the marketplace in Spring 2010

wm712

Is it pithy to say that the phone icon has been ripped off? Or to question the need for the time to be present in three different formats n this, the home screen? Or to explain how I think the usability of the CoverFlow-style-Dock-ripoff is a right pain in the arse?

Does it make it worse when you look at the positioning of the signal strength and battery and volume indicators in this additional screenshot?

wm72

They shouldn’t change position like that, should they? At least they’ve got time to fix it but the amazing thing is that no-one in the WM site above seemed to notice any of the bad things?

At least it’s shiny. That’s what they put on Vista’s epitaph.

MoMoBelfast and the Apps Show and Tell

Graham weighs in on Windows Mobile 6.5

Throughout the talk, the words innovation, interaction and user experience are repeated, however just saying the words does not make it true. I found no presence of innovation in Windows Mobile 6.5, it definitely seems like they’ve tried to bolt on touch capability to their existing OS. I found more innovation in Apple’s iPhone cut and paste feature than in the whole of this Windows Mobile demo.

I hate to say this but Apple has the industry in catch-up mode again. It’s easy to get labelled as a fanboy but every second headlines seems to be about how the iPhone is brilliant or how some new phone/platform will kill it. Either way it has huge amounts of mindshare.

This evening we had a bit of a treat and were able to attend Mobile Monday Belfast’s Show and Tell for mobile apps. The auditorium had a good number of folk in there and the demos presented all had something unique to offer. I had to speak for five minutes at the start about the, until recently top secret, iPhone initiative and then we got into the demos proper.

EyeSpyFX – Anthony Hutton was on stage demonstrating his webcam viewer app which is available for 15 varieties of mobile phone in addition to the iPhone. His demo, slowed only by the really poor reception in the building, was impressive. Anton’s most memorable statements were regarding the economics of developing apps for mobile phones and the iPhone in particular. He claimed that developing for the iPhone was a fussy affair – requiring a Mac, the developer license and an iPhone to test on – quite a significant outlay for a startup with no prior Mac experience. But he said that development was quick and easy, getting the app onto the store and support documentation were excellent. He also commented that his apps sell on standard JavaME platforms and the operators and aggregators normally charge €6 for the app and he would get maybe €1 of this and in the cases of some aggregators, maybe even just €0.30 per copy. On the iPhone, Apple takes 30% of the revenue but as his app costs £2.99, it means he pockets over £2.00 per copy. And, in his own words, despite there being fewer iPhones out there, buying apps for JavaME phones is a pain, and his iPhone sales numbers have been four times the sales of his JavaME apps.

Anthony Hutton, EyeSpyFX
Anthony Hutton, EyeSpyFX

The next demo was John Martin from Total Mobile – a Windows Mobile developer squarely ensconced in Windows land and with strong sales in case management (by all accounts they’re a Consilium spin-out?). Their user interface was very Windows Mobile and people used to that would feel very at home. Speaking afterwards, I found John to be very personable and enjoyed his opinions of his various mobile devices (which included a HTC Advantage and a Redfly ‘unit’.

Next up was Ryan Cushnahan with his GAAStats Windows Mobile app. While his user interface was very basic, the use-case for the software was very strong. He licenses the software for £400, which seems steep compared to AppStore pricing but it’s a niche product by someone who knows his game. I think Ryan might be a good candidate for the getting a UI makeover!

I then went on stage and did a quick demo of three iPhone apps from ‘local’ developers. The first was Pocket Universe from Craic Design – one of the best astronomy apps for the iPhone. John’s pedigree includes doing similar apps for Windows mobile. I also gave a minute to his other iPhone release, ShootEmUp and just tonight I found out about his free Animal Track kids game, devised by his 9 year old daughter.
Next, I demo’ed Locle mini from Dublin based social networking startup, Locle. Locle is a simple app currently utilising a web view for most of their user interface but a little birdie tells me that their sales have meant they’re able to get a more native version on iPhone.
The third was close to my heart, EyeCandy Comics from Blue Pilot Software. I also made passing reference to a new service called Infurious Republic when I was asked when the rank and file would be able to get their stuff online.

Lastly, and in the door by the skin of his teeth, came Rory from Ammeon. Again the poor reception and lack of WiFi killed some of the demo but there was enough to get the gist of it. Commune effectively allows an operator to create a custom TV station with their own content which is able to be viewed over a mobile link and has a small degree of social network in a comments system attached to each video.

In the conversations after, I was explaining that my interest in the iPhone Initiative was to find digital content companies which were interested in developing skills in mobile interface design – that skills which were developed for iPhone, darling of the media, would easily port to Windows Mobile, Palm or Blackberry when the time came. It was then someone commented about the Windows Mobile offerings, that the marke share for Windows Mobile far exceeds that of the iPhone. The commenter was a dyed-in-the-wool Windows guy (I first met him over a decade ago when he was working for a DELL reseller and was trying to tell me IIS was better than Apache or Netscape Suitespot Servers). I hear you – but so many of those devices are dumb terminals, they’re used as barcode scanners, handheld credit card scanners – it’s a different market and they’re not going to ever run interesting software. It was an odd statement – really rang as defensive – and seemed particularly odd considering Anthony Huttons comment that his sales of iPhone apps far exceeded his sales of apps for the other platforms he supports: JavaME, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. In essence, while there may be more out there, they ain’t buying apps.

All in all, the night was a resounding success for Norbert and Colin, both of whom put a lot of work into Mobile Monday in Belfast. Next month they’ve got someone from Mozilla Mobile coming in and a whole new raft of interesting stuff to learn about.

Android Fans think Android FTW! Obviously.

One of the AndroidGuys speculates on whether Apple rushed out the iPhone 3G in an attempt to pre-empt Android:

“I’m going to make a prediction; Apple will find themselves in the unenviable position of fighting for market share. Yes, I know that everyone compares phones to the iPhone and its touch screen interface. A year from now, there will be touch versions of Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. Apple will be handcuffed by the fact that they only offer one model and one aesthetic. Android and the other players will be available in many shapes and sizes.”

The rest of the discussion turns into the ‘things which are missing that Android phones will likely be built with’.

The article reads like the AndroidGuys are actually watching their chosen platform spin down the plughole.

It. Is. Not. About. The. Features. Dummy.

Apple has already been fighting for market share against SonyEricsson, Motorola (maybe not so hard a fight), Nokia, RIM, LG and every other maker of every other handset. If a phone does email and internet, then it’s competing. And Apple has the advantage of 6 million handsets out there currently and likely another 10 million by year end. I don’t think that’s an unlikely prediction. It’s now available in 70 countries, nearly everyone who had an iPhone will be getting a cheap upgrade (or free in my case).

AndroidGuys continue:

I hate to break it to the Apple fanboys, but there will be more powerful Android devices coming and likely in the same price point, if not lower.

Spoken like a true fanboi.

The problem with a platform that hasn’t released any hardware to the public is that hardware specifications will always be changing and every new innovation that comes from companies who actually innovate in this space is going to be copied for use in Android (or at least it will be added in a bullet point marketing exercise). So there’s a feature creep, a slide where the hardware gets improved more and more and expectations change constantly. Not all features will be supported by all phones.

What AndroidGuy misses is that Apple is very comfortable with being both the underdog and the 800lb gorilla in a market. They’re doing okay with that ‘Mac thing’ with only a 8% market share (or whatever it is these days) and they’re also doing fine with that ‘iPod thing’ which gives them a 72% market share in that market. What percentage of the phone market do you think Apple is aiming for?

And considering the recent price drops for the iPhone and the consideration that everyone and his cousin will be buying one, why would anyone buy an Android phone until there’s a considerable market for them? Case in point:

I’m getting a free iPhone 3G when the darned thing is released. My existing iPhone will be converted to Pay As You Go and probably given to a family member. Apple will have doubled their market share in my household and this is something that is being repeated multiple times in my circle of friends and colleagues. The exception being the people who are keeping their iPhones as development devices which is already a tiny percentage of the overall market (registered developers are in the hundreds of thousands as opposed to the millions of iPhone users out there).

When Android hits the market, it will be faced with Windows Mobile 7, RIM’s new Blackberry devices and Apple’s iPhone/iPod juggernaut. And maybe something new from Palm. Or not. Their developers will be fighting a marketing battle against all of these new innovative handsets and with very little to differentiate them (oh, it’s free? Yeah, big deal).

I do hope they love a challenge.

iPhone 2007. Windows Mobile 2009? Maybe?

Mitchell Ashley, Microsoft apologist for NetworkWorld tells us why he thinks the iPhone is doomed

The iPhone is certain to fade into history as another cool Apple innovation, that others soon rushed competitive, like-products to market, blowing away any significant lead Apple might have. The iPod mp3 player is an industry Apple essentially created, the iPhone isn’t. Too many major players are in the mobile phone market, who have and will bring iPhone-like products to market over the coming months and years. LG has already done so with the LG Voyager phone, and now Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile 7 OS have been leaked and described in considerable detail by InsideMicrosoft blogger Nathan Weinberg.

Does anyone remember what the market was like before Apple released the iPod in 2001? There were certainly lots of MP3 players on the market, some of them flash based and some of them with laptop hard drives in them. There wasn’t any decent way to buy music online and there was only really MusicMatch JukeBox for syncing your tunes that you did have (ripped using WinAMP or MacAMP).

To claim Apple invented the Mp3 player market is simply a lie. A massive straw man argument designed to help prop up the further argument that the iiPhone will fail because Apple did not create that market.

Apple has a 70%+ market share in MP3 players. Are we expecting them to take the same in the phone market? Of course not. They’re never going to release a £10 phone you can buy down in Tesco along with £10 of free minutes. The vast majority of the market are these low end handsets, so feature-free that I was surprised they still existed (until I bought one as an unlocked emergency handset a few months ago).

Apple did manage to snare 19% of the smartphone market in 6 months which is a much more interesting market – one where people will actually pay for the use of a technology device. Isolating that market aside from the most basic handsets begins to crystallise out Apple’s intended market: paying customers.

The article is fluff, tripe and full of FUD. It’s meant to make you hold out for the next big thing from Microsoft. Yes, it took Microsoft six months to copy key features of the iPhone and create mockups of what they plan to ship sometime in 2009. Yes, six months to invent photoshopped images. And you’ll have to wait over a year to use this stuff.

And of course, Apple will be standing still during this time…