Fourth, the device runs the Mac OS. This is a major constraint, since few third-party application vendors (e.g., Good Technologies for a push e-mail client) run on the Mac. There are a lot of unanswered questions. Will these vendors port to a proprietary operating system when they have the option of running on Symbian with far more devices, or Palm OS or Windows Mobile? And will the iPhone support J2ME-based applications, of which there are a growing number? Apple can’t afford to build a dead-end system with no ability for users to enhance the device with third-party applications. But Apple will likely have a tough time convincing application vendors to build specialized clients for the iPhone until the volumes are there, and the volumes could be limited by the lack of third-party applications – a Catch 22.
My advice: Unless you are a die-hard Apple fan, wait a few months to see how this all shakes out, especially if you want to use the device as an adjunct to your business. Find out how good a phone it really is and how well it connects to the world you live and work in before spending the high price for what could ultimately become an orphaned, stand-alone music player. An iPod would be a better choice for that, and much cheaper.
Harry says: Gold (A) reasonably suggested that businesses take a wait-and-see attitude on the iPhone; (B) took the notion of the iPhone running OX X too literally, and was overly pessimistic about the chances of developers supporting the iPhone; (C) seemed to assume that the iPhone would be fragile and sync poorly with PCs before there was reason to have an opinion one way or the other. As far as I can see, he hasn’t written about the iPad yet.
Rory Prior, ThinkMac Blog, “ Will the iPhone Fail? ,” January 12th, 2007:
You see the problem is you’ve got a really expensive phone here which fails to hit its two key demographics for two very different reasons. The first is the teen to early 20s market, these are people who would love an iPhone but can’t afford one. They’re also the people most likely to be stolen away by equally pretty looking phones that do more and cost less (even if they don’t have the elegance or UI glitz). The second is the ‘prosumer’ market (the folks with good jobs in the city who drive BMWs). These people can afford the iPhone, but they’ve already got phones from their employers. These integrate with their various enterprise systems (Exchange, MS Office, IM, etc) and while they might be tempted by an iPhone, the cold hard realities of non-replacable batteries, no 3rd party software, lack of blessing from the IT dept. and the suckiness of onscreen keyboards leave them stuck with their miserable Windows Mobile smartphones. Ironically the same sort of reasons why they’re probably Windows users rather than Mac users.
Without these two key segments of the mobile phone market who the heck is going to buy an iPhone aside from Apple fan boys and gadget geeks? Heck I’m an Apple fan boy and even I don’t think I’d buy an iPhone unless I could install 3rd party apps on it.
The mobile phone market is big enough that Apple can sell enough iPhones for the product not to be Cube style failure, but in its current implementation they can’t hope to do anything more than carve out a tiny portion of the fashion phone market.