Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Great iPhone Debate

Much too much has already been said about the iPhone in general, but especially recently, with the 3G version rolling out across Europe and news of Apple selling 1 million units in the first weekend of sale (this compares to the 74 days it took to sell the original iPhone).

What we are talking about here is an emotional product, a marketing success by Apple, who have managed to exploit an unsatisfied need in the market with a neat design and just the right amount of cleverly orchestrated hype to make the iPhone one of the most wanted objects in recent history.

That we are talking about an emotional product is clear by the way certain operators enthuse about its virtues (irrationally some may say) and how developers and mobile enthusiasts equally lambast it or praise it.

At the recent Mobile 2.0 conference in Barcelona, Antonio Vince-Stabyl from itsmy.com, expressed his hatred thus, in a now popular quote: "what does the iPhone have that makes it special? It is just about browsing, browsing and more browsing". Antonio also confided later that he had initially handed all his employees a new iPhone and was later flooded with returns because it was simply impractical for business use.

Love it or hate it, the iPhone is here to stay and Apple would be wise to maintain its pricing premium by keeping it in the niche market that it currently comfortably dominates (more media-tainment than telephony).

I just love the story told to me yesterday by a Dutch acquaintance, of a flashy business type busy discussing an important deal on his iPhone, getting out of his taxi in a hurry and putting the phone hurriedly back to his ear after paying the fare, only to have its glossy, slippery surface glide right over his face and form an arc in the air, before landing neatly in a rose bush.

Stricken with panic, the businessman shouted at the rose bush and continued his conversation from a distance...just one of those hazards of the beautiful, sleek and smooth iPhone surface you don't hear about so much..but then again, I wonder how many iPhone aficionados are actually using it for calls...