Are iPad Skeptics as Wrong as iPhone Naysayers Were?

Note I say in its current implementation - there are a few fairly basic things Apple could do (and perhaps will) to allow much wider adoption of the iPhone. The most important is not to lock out 3rd party apps, next would be to make the battery replaceable and finally to sell a nice tiny little bluetooth keyboard so that those who are serious about sending emails and messaging on the go aren’t driven insane by the touch screen. Still of all of them I can’t stress enough how important 3rd party apps are. Steve Jobs might not like the idea of you cluttering up his lovely product with your junk, but once you’ve laid down your cash it isn’t his phone any more and you should be able to customise it so it meets your needs. If it really runs OS X it should be robust enough to allow 3rd party software to run on it without one slightly buggy app bringing the phone down.

Harry says: I think Prior missed out on the impact that the iPhone’s Safari Web browser would have. He was right that third-party apps would be essential, and wrong about the keyboard and battery issues. As for the iPad, he’s taking the reasonable stance that it has plenty of potential but needs apps written to take advantage of its capabilities.

Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg, “ Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move ,” January 15th, 2007:

The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.

[snip]

There are three reasons that Apple is unlikely to make much of an impact on this market — and why it is too early to start dumping your Nokia shares.

First, Apple is late to this party. The company didn’t invent the personal computer or MP3 player, but it was among the pioneers of both products. Yet there is no shortage of phones out there. There are already big companies that dominate the space, all of whom will defend their turf. That means Apple will have to fight hard for every sale.

Next, the mobile-phone industry depends on cooperation with the big networks. Phones — the high-end ones in particular –are usually sold with a network contract. The provider subsidizes the handset in the U.K. and hopes to recoup its money with ridiculously expensive charges for calls and data. Yet Apple has never been good at working with other companies. If it knew how to do that, it would be Microsoft Corp.

On top of that, its rivals will be pulling out all the stops to prevent the networks offering iPhones. Sure, a big operator such as Vodafone Group Plc would like an exclusive deal to sell the iPhone in, say, the U.K. market. Against that, how much does it want to annoy Nokia — and what kind of incentives will Nokia be offering not to go with the Apple product? There will be lots of tough conversations between companies that know each other well. Apple will find it hard to win those negotiations.

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