Has Apple Started a Mobile Computing Revolution?
By now everyone who can read knows that the big news in wireless this week was the announcement for “Steve’s Amazing New Device”. We’ve had several queries for comment over the last couple of days and reluctantly have decided to offer a few thoughts on his so-called ‘future of mobile handsets’. One might be forgiven for asking “what does this development have to do with Japan” but it was actually the LA Times who started it. Also related, the early rumors swirling in May last year – which were quickly denied – that we would see SoftBank Mobile roll-out Apple
Computer Inc.’s new gear here in 2006. If Jobs & Co. actually plan to hit their 10 million sales target, or just 1% of the global share, then a 3G enabled unit for advanced markets like Japan has to be part of their 2007 roadmap.
So, what do we think. After the rough ride WWJ gave RIM got for their market entry Blackberry device, you shouldn’t expect any glowing Mac fan boy type ravings from us. However, there certainly is one definite and positive aspect to this whole discussion.. Awareness. Before getting into specific pro’s and cons of the device itself – as described at launch – for just a moment lets consider the obvious impact on the general marketplace. The very nature of this high-profile move into mobile computing will, as they say, simply have to raise all boats. As more people are exposed to the possibilities of consuming content and services in the wireless arena, better product offerings will no doubt follow. That being said, HTC’s smartphone (video here), running Windows mobile with a full qwerty sliding keyboard and touch screen entry (pointer included), has been available from both DoCoMo and SoftBank in Japan since mid-2006. So it’s somewhat difficult to understand the ‘revolutionary design’ aspect as things already seem well underway.
There are several issues (beyond the no 3rd party apps) at first blush; for starters a touch screen as the ‘only’ input feature – can you say finger grease – seems to ignore the common reality of text messaging. It should be quite interesting to see how they have designed the UI for those big dumb fingers to type e-mail. Battery power will be another major challenge with that nice big screen, especially since it will be running a cpu hungry mobile version of OSX. As most readers should recall the locked-down battery saga with the early iPods, clearly their rev. 1 model of this handset might well be disappointing in that area after 12 months of routine daily usage as well.
It’s an easy prediction that it will be one of the Top Stories in 2007 and we are looking forward to
follow the product and it’s market evolution. The company has taken a very public step into this new space and considering the past success of their mobile music product offerings it should help to breath some fresh air into the telecom industry. There are dozens of related posts from the contributors to our Wireless-Watch Community site below.
After all the dust settles one thing remains clear, Apple has a loyal (and vocal) following. They managed to stage an event, where next to nobody seems to notice the total lack of any new ‘traditional’ computer announcements, and come away with literally millions of dollars worth of free PR (see Steve Jobs interview with Nightline via YouTube). With so few hard details in the a after-math, and impending lawsuits about the brand name upcoming, no doubt the ink (physical and digital) keep flowing for the for-seeable future.
As the beta device reviews begin to trickle in, and once they launch the real-world product, people will actually have some meat to sink their teeth into, meanwhile several well respected individuals have already voiced their observations and we thought it would be better to just high-light links to them for you here.
Tomi Ahonan “Really” covered all the bases in these three posts:
Impact of the Apple iPhone by ex-Palm VP Michael Mace
First thoughts ‘The day after..’
From Series 60: “aren’t you tempted to do at least some mockery?”
Regarding the iPhone lawsuit from Cisco
The Apple / Cingular connection
So ‘sometimes’ closed gardens are ok after-all..!?!
This pundit for one is betting against Steve Jobs…
How humble of HTC considering their innovative product line already deployed
What does Taro – in Japan – Think?