Are iPad Skeptics as Wrong as iPhone Naysayers Were?

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Apple gives us an MP3 player, which other brands of smart phones have had for several years. What I want is a phone that won’t make calls from inside my pocket.

Harry says: If Greenspun couldn’t tell from Apple’s site whether the iPhone was a flip phone or not, he wasn’t looking very carefully. (For the record, the iPhone autolocks in a manner that comes close to eliminating the possibility of pocketdialing.) I haven’t seen him say anything about the iPad.

Jack Gold, Computerworld, “Will Anyone Answer When Apple iPhones Home?,” January 10th, 2007:

Why am I not impressed?

First, making an entertainment device is much different from making a phone. Over the years, plenty of phones offering lots of nice “toys” for users have disappointed. Ultimately, they were not very good phones. And the bottom line is that you have to build a good phone first, and then add features on top of that. Otherwise, don’t bother. You can ask Nokia, Motorola, RIM and others about this. All have had flops with what on paper were devices that looked marvelous. Another difference between phones and entertainment devices is that phones must be much more rugged and less prone to breakage while being subjected to all kinds of abuse. Can the iPhone take such abuse without a high failure rate? We’ll have to see.

Second, the price is steep. Yes, I understand that the astronomical list prices of $500 and $600 are simply initial inflations meant for the early adopters willing to pay almost anything (and to limit volumes while Apple ramps up to catch up to demand). But even if the prices were cut in half, that is hefty for a phone device these days, even one with loads of features. How many consumers are willing to pay that much, plus $40 to $80 per month for a plan that includes data services (which will be necessary to access many of the phone’s features).

Third, who is the target for this device? At $300 to $400 (assuming the price falls rapidly), an iPhone clearly is not a casual buy. In the past, most high-end phones have been sold to business users willing to pay for a fancy phone with the capabilities they wanted. But these users almost universally demand connectivity to corporate systems, especially through push e-mail and Outlook integration. How well the iPhone does at integrating to these systems remains to be tested. And although I would bet the iPhone will integrate and sync well with the Mac, very few businesses run on Macs. If the iPhone doesn’t do a good job with PCs, Apple has a big problem.

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