Apple is slated to release their new iPhone, an all-in-one cell phone, mp3 player, web browser, contact manager, and organizer this Summer. The hype surrounding it has been strong, and Apple is touting to re-define the cell phone with it. Apple’s name brand recognition alone could well do this, but I think it’s a mistake for Apple, and here’s 5 reasons why:
The Cell Phone/MP3 market already exists
Apple already makes the best mp3 player on the market. They beat many to the punch in the hard-drive based mp3 player, and because of it, have continued leading the way since. They have a strong niche in that market. However, I think they will lose their mp3 player niche if they move into the cell phone market. The cell phone market has been around for a long time, and there are already many very nice cell phone makers and very big companies backing those cell phones, some with many of the same features as the iPhone. If Apple enters this market, it’s not going to be about introducing the coolest and greatest features – the cell phone manufacturers already know how to do this. It’s going to mostly be a Marketing game for Apple, and if Apple loses, by abandoning their mp3 player line they will lose this market, along with the iPods they used to sell.
Apple is Selling Through Only One Carrier
I don’t get this only selling through Cingular thing. True, it gives them an automatic audience, with strong focus from Cingular, but what carrier wouldn’t want to focus on promoting an Apple product in their product line? Looking at the Blackberry, the Treo, the Slivr (however you spell it), and others – you can look around and get all of them through several different carriers, no contract needed, even on different networks! I’d rather buy from one of those manufacturers that make an equivally good phone, perhaps with even more features.
Microsoft is Ahead of the Game in the Media Market
While Apple is gaining ground, and holds the stronghold in the MP3 player market, Microsoft already owns the Media Center market, with Windows XP Media Center Edition, and Media Center capabilities built into Vista Ultimate. Then take into account the number of Xbox 360 owners that can use these features (I’m one of them), stream (not just recorded, but live) TV, music, videos, and pictures over their network, all on one of the best gaming systems out there (in full HD!), Apple TV isn’t anywhere near that league yet. Don’t forget that the Zune, while it has its issues, it already has bluetooth and wifi capability. All Zune needs to do (which they are rumored to do), is produce a phone version of their player and they are mostly caught up to Apple in that market, with additional benefits of hooking into the system I mention above.
No Business Focus
Apple doesn’t seem to care about the business market with this release. True, they have integrated PDA-type functionality into the phone, but their target market seems to be the teenagers and younger generation. I don’t think this will hold much of a dent in the already existing Blackberry market which the business world uses. They will need more of this focus for world domination – perhaps it’s mainly a marketing move, I’m not sure.
No Outside Developer Involvement
This one irks me. A developer myself, I want a tie into the Operating System! I’ll produce all kinds of cool little programs for it to enhance the functionality, and build a larger community. Involve software developers in your phone, and you instantaneously will have new uses for the phone that Apple could never imagine, nor have time to write. By removing this functionality, Apple loses the geek and software developer focus they have maintained in their Operating System. Steve Jobs – just as music, we will hack it. It’s just a matter of whether you want to provide the means for that and maintain some form of control, or whether you want us to find our own workarounds. We like the easier solutions.
Apple, I hope you’re listening – perhaps it can be done. I love your products. I just hope you can overcome some of the flaws I list and make this just as successful as the iPod and your computers. I’m really starting to lean towards Microsoft due to the reasons I state.