iPhone Hit Or Miss?

I can’t remember the last time a piece of high tech equipment got this kind of hype. Of course, I’m talking about Apple’s iPhone which goes on sale within the hour.

It’s pretty neat. As is normally the case with Apple, the software is elegantly simple and intuitive. The TV commercials are tantalizing. I haven’t seen it yet, but there’s surely one where it’s slicing bread!

Unfortunately, the iPhone also suffers from some designed-in weaknesses.

It seems pretty odd the phone won’t use AT&T’s fast G3 network and instead sticks with an older implementation. That’s huge, if web surfing is going to be a large part of the iPhone experience.

The iPhone also doesn’t record video nor will it operate properly with corporate email servers. That’s not good and there’s more. Its battery is not replaceable and its SIM card isn’t removable.

There’s also the question whether a non-tactile keyboard is a good idea. I’ve never seen a successful one before.

I have been considering a ‘smartphone.’ It probably won’t be an iPhone.

Right now the (as yet unreleased) Motorola Q9 looks likely. I’m not 100% it will be sold by AT&T, my cell carrier.

The Q9 operates on the higher speed G3 network, takes video, uses Windows Mobile 6 and has a real QWERTY keyboard. It looks like an updated, better performing “Q,”. A co-worker has that phone, which I like.

The online consensus is, I can buy a ‘smartphone’ like the Q9 or the Samsung Blackjack and a $19.99/month data plan from AT&T and be done with it. I’m not sure this is AT&T’s preferred combo, but people are consistently doing it and I sense AT&T isn’t sending their money away.

My guess is, the iPhone will not be the unmitigated success this level of hype implies. It’s possible. I’m not a mobile computing analyst with lots of background info and insight. This is a seat-of-the-pants call. There are just so many strikes against it.

Working against my prediction is Steve Jobs, who has a Svengali-like ability to mobilize the Apple faithful.

What the iPhone does do is increase the profile of mobile computing and the competition between carriers and between hardware manufacturers. I don’t see a downside to that… at least I don’t yet.

4 thoughts on “iPhone Hit Or Miss?”

  1. I agree with your iPhone opinion, and also agree with your choice of alternative smartphone w/ G3. As far as Apple goes, I see them once again making a decision similar to when they rolled out the Mac – limited licensing and distribution. I guess that alows them to charge significantly more in lieu of capturing a majority of the marketshare, which would drive the price down, like the IBM clone market in the 1980’s.

    Here’s what I’d like to see: Instead of a great phone with a basic camera, I’d like to see a great camera with a basic phone.

  2. I like my blackberry. Mostly because it does NOT run windows. Want to reboot your phone all the time? Does it even have control-alt-delete 😉 ?

  3. It is easy to either gush or bash the iPhone. But after spending 12 hours with one, I have to say that it really blows away the Q, which I have had for over a year. Hopefully the Q9 tackles the battery life problem which has plagued the original Q on Verizon.

    I also agree that Blackberry still rules in the wireless email space. The new Curve model would be my choice over the Q9, and you don’t give up much on the size front for a far more workable keyboard and as Jim notes–a way better software platform.

    But once people start showing off the iPhone and all that it does, and when the inevitable price adjustment hits–I think its success will be better than most skeptics believe, though less than Apple fanatics might be convinced of.

    I have to go put on my mock black turtleneck and jeans now.

  4. I remember first hearing of the “I” when I still worked for the company almost 3 years ago… It was a “mystical creature”… It was predicted that it would sell like x-box 360’s and other popular electronics. They delivered the phones to the stores in armored cars with armed guards and had lines of people outside stores that closed early and re-opened to stock the phones… It is a great techno-toy, that a hip, stylish, young adult would love to load thier I-Pod into… As far as real computing power or real photo abilities, forget it…And to think that the phone will stay proprietary to AT&T as the contract states for 5 years…forget that idea as well…the phone is already popping-up internationally, and any true “geek” will find a way to unlock or modify the phone to use another gsm network…

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