Image via Wikipedia
The iPhone created the Smartphone market for the masses
The iPhone is a feature phone, not a Smartphone
The Smartphone fight is now between Android and Windows Mobile 7
Once there was this relatively new untapped Smartphone mobile market, and the existing players in the market were getting complacent and boring. Then at a meeting at Cupertino, during a brainstorming session, someone blew out a smoke ring and pointed out that Apple should do something. They also pointed out all the trending towards mobile and how the kids were chasing a way to continue their digital life once they had left the computer.
Despite not being feature competitive, or in some cases, not even being in the same league as some of the existing market offerings, Apple dropped into a maturing market the sum of all the missing answers to the masses, the iPhone. The answers may have been missing a few of the questions, but in typical Apple style, the iPhone set out to answer one question first, and that was the interface. It answered it so well most of us forgot about the other missing answers.
For those of us that were using Smartphones before the iPhone, you could say that WinMo handled most of the features we needed and more. But the way it handled them was its own barrier to entry, which meant that unless you really had to do it, you wouldn’t. The iPhone was a closed “Feature Phone” that had the opportunity to take on the Smartphone market. Just because it looked good, and you now wanted to do all those things that you needed to do.
Over time the iPhone has become all things to all men, and women, because of its ability to feel like a “Feature Phone” but do most of the Smartphone things. The greatest trick Steve pulled was making us all think that the iPhone is a Smartphone. In reality, it is just a terminal into the Apple ecosystem that is there to solve answers to the questions that we are going to ask.
However, the ride is coming to an end. Apple has tackled the mobile market and won the first couple of rounds with both iPhone and iPad. But now having set the bar they can sit back and cash in on their new fame and mind share while the Android platform, Windows Phone 7, and I guess RIM, slug it out old-school for those who for one reason or another didn’t drink the Apple Cool Aid.
I feel for the other players in the market because Apple’s disruptive foray into the mobile market was really a smash and grab for users and cash, and had the added effect of bringing the big boys, Google and Microsoft, into the market. This then turned the market into a 4 or 5 horse race, and guaranteed that the problems of Apples desktop past won’t come back to bite them, ....they hope.
Well is the race over? I think that for Apple, the urgency is gone. And if the others don’t get it just right, then Apple will be there to service the users who need them, and use the funds to find the next underdone market to disrupt. How very entrepreneurial of them.
...if it isn’t Broken, then Apple hasn’t been there.