With the usual grace and modesty that he’s know for during a product roll-out, Steve Jobs wowed the Apple Convention on the West Coast, not to mention the whole tech world with his announcement about the new iPhone that his company’s producing- it’s a phone, blackberry, Net surfer, music player, etc.. all in one device. He predicted that it would be no less revolutionary that the music player his company came out with in 2001. Sure Steve… There’s a lot of problems with that claim though and reasons to believe that it might not be the gadget to end all tech gadgets (which is to say that Apple itself may not have invented its own iPod killer).
Here’s just a few sticky problems with the iPhone.
1) Cingular (the company Apple partnered with) has one of the worst records of cell phone service around
Not exactly a secret but customers are known to complain about spotty service and dropped calls, much more so than with other providers. Is the thinking that they’ll upgrade their service based on iPhone sales? Even if that were possible, you’d still have to wait a while until the service improves. Which leads to…
2) Cell phone contracts
Are many users going to break their contract with their old provider just to sign up with iPhone/Cingular? Some will but you’re charged a penalty for doing that. And then you’re stuck with a Cingular contract on top of that. You can’t send or receive calls but hey, you got the coolest device around!
3) The price
As a Slashdot article notes, there’s no big market for a phone that costs half-a-grand. This might push some people to think of shelling out that much but that leads to another problem…
4) Phones/mini music players are fragile devices
Phones go through a lot of wear and tear- you dig them out, flip ‘em out, answer them and stash ‘em back away. But music players are a little more delicate- not just the easily scratched screens but the easily breakable hard drives. How well are the iPhones going to hold up? See ZDNet blog for more thoughts on this.
5) There’s already a lawsuit about the iPhone
And it ain’t no bunch of cranks taking Apple to court either. The Cisco lawsuit is a real one- they’ve already used and marketed their own iPhone device. That’s going to mean problems with marketing and branding the new little device. After Apple stock soared up with the iPhone announcement, it went back down after this suit was announced.
6) It’s shipping six months from now
The reason that Jobs had to make the announcement was because they couldn’t hold the secret back any longer. Now he has to keep the momentum going for half a year and keep people interested in the product. Six months is a LONG time for the tech world to stand still and rest assured that it won’t.
7) The first generation of ANYTHING has bugs
It’s a standard technie rule- always wait until at least the 2nd version of a product to buy it. That’s because only after releasing a product and getting complaints does a company get a full picture of what’s wrong with it and what needs fixing. Microsoft is (in)famous for this but it happens with any new product. So why be a guinea pig?