2012 UPDATE – It’s been 5 years now and the iPhone is probably the most successful consumer electronics device ever. Apple is now the most valuable company in the history of the world. OK. I admit it. I missed the mark. At the time though these were all legitimate problems that could’ve caused the device to fail (but didn’t). I got it 100% wrong and will own that. It’s incredibly hard to predict technology.
By now everyone’s heard of the iPhone [LINK] and with it’s launch date fast approaching I thought I’d share some thoughts as to why I think this device will fail catastrophically.
- Apple is running ads with all load times removed (edited out). Have you seen where the guy opens up Google Maps? That’ll never be that responsive in real-life as the network is just not fast enough. Expect the backlash to be significant.
- The device is set to run on GSM networks which in North America is not as widespread as CDMA. The latter is faster and some would argue more flexible. If you’re ever stuck out of digital service range on a GSM phone you can’t make a call, wheras with CDMA you can "roam". Call quality is king and without a solid implementation of a cell phone’s core functionality people will loose interest.
- The cell phone market is already crowded and fiercely competitive. Why will consumers will rush to purchase an unproven device from an unproven cell phone vendor?
- Folks change cell phones every 2 years or sooner. Technology in these devices moves incredibly fast. Within 2 years a device will be out with a better form factor, better features and cheaper price. $600 for a device that’s defunct within 2years is too much.
- Personally I don’t want a device that combines MP3s with phone. I already have two devices and like it that way. I can take whichever one I want with me and ditch the other.
- My cell phone is so small I hardly notice it’s there. Its battery lasts about 10 times longer than my Mp3 player. I like that. I don’t want to worry that bopping to music on the subway will impede my ability to call home if I need to.
- No keyboard. Sorry, I love the technology, unfortunately I don’t like the practicality. You can’t dial whilst driving (c’mon we all do it). You can’t dial without looking at the device.
- Locked platform. I want to develop thick-client apps, not just Ajax browser apps.
- Suspicious Safari on Windows – I’ve heard rumors you’ll HAVE to use Safari with the iPhone. Sorry, that’s not going to cut it either. The Safari uses OS/X font rendering tech that blurs all fonts. Makes me feel like I’m going blind. It’s also much slower loading the browser. Thumbs down.
- Corporate use – this thing is aimed at the consumer but is touting business-user price. Apple needs to address RIM’s dominance in this space to justify such an expensive device. BlackBerrys are much more rugged and secure than iPhones. I can’t see the iPhone surviving much of a drop.