Article: The iPhone Revisited

by on June 5, 2006

I bought a new phone the other day. The main reason was that my Sony Ericsson T616 was starting to show its age and certain things were wearing out. One of my colleagues asked me why I didn’t wait for Apple’s “iPhone”, as, I am the chief Apple geek at work. My reasoning? I’m cheap and I just don’t see it feasibile for Apple to enter that market anytime soon. Furthermore, I already have a 30GB iPod (video model), so I don’t need something else for my music. I ended up going with a Motorola L6, as I wanted Bluetooth in a low-priced GSM candybar model (similar to my T616).

At one point or another, we’ve talked about the possibility of Apple creating a mobile phone. iTunes on the Motorola ROKR, SLVR L7, and RAZR V3i was a start, but everyone has theories. The latest was the idea of an “AppleBerry” (Apple/Blackberry hybrid). If Apple were to enter this market, shouldn’t they do it now, while iPods are still hot, many MP3-playing phones are tough to control, limited to 100 songs, bulky, or don’t play songs from the iTunes Music Store?

Reasons for an iPhone

Obviously an Apple-branded phone would make a lot of sense, as this would allow Apple to have yet another consumer electronics device. It would feature an easy-to-use interface (naturally), good looks, and direct integration with iTunes, iPhoto, iCal, Address Book, and Front Row. A Dock Connector would allow it to truly be in the same class as an iPod. Also, just as the iPod did with other audio players, if popular, the iPhone will cause other companies to rethink their products. Flip, slider, or candybar format? You’d have to decide…

Reasons Against an iPhone

I feel that it will be expensive—most Apple-branded peripherals are, but usually because they are better than what else is out there. Besides that, it would probably become trendy and everyone and their brother will want or get one. Once the hype dies down, it will be just another “trendy” phone, ignored for the features that make it play nicely with your computer. Too many times, people want a RAZR because “it looks cool”, rather than it is easy to carry, has decent reception, and a number of extra features, like Bluetooth.

Other Problems

Apple will face other problems besides dealing with consumers. Who would sell it? People probably won’t be willing to pay $300-$400 for a device when they can get another company’s product subsidized for less than $100. In that case, Apple would have to kiss up to the carriers to sell such a product. This might be hard, since some would rather sell music themselves and see the iPhone as a threat (why do you think the Motorola iTunes phones were only sold by Cingular and rather “limited” as far as music goes?). Also, would there be models for GSM (Cingular & T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, & Alltel)? Will a European version be made of the GSM model (operating on the other frequencies), or will Apple do what some companies do and make a quad-band model? Also, how would this hurt Apple’s relationship with other manufacturers for iSync?

Quite frankly, the idea of an iPhone really could bring up more questions than answers. The iPod was a bit of a surprise, and started off in a very limited market. The iPhone, on the other hand, has been rumored for years, and would have to be sold through another outlet.

I think we’ll still be waiting for awhile…

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