All excited about the Apple iPhone

When Wall Street gets overly excited, I get nervous. Today’s Wall Street Journal had an article entitled, “Waiting on Apple Cellphone Call” (paid site with preview only) which is about summed up in this snippet:

Several recent analyst reports forecast that Apple would sell millions of phones within a few years, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue. Some analysts go even further, predicting the impact of an Apple cellphone on wireless carriers, chip makers and other parts suppliers.

Then in Q2, 2007, Apple is going to introduce the replicator to make any possible product out of any matter, the Holodeck which will render any other movie, music, theatre or meatspace experience a moot point, and a new teleportation device enabling all of us to instantly leap into extra space dimensions or parallel universes and thus Apple will completely disrupt every Earth-centric industry.

Come on…I’m an Apple fanboy and own about everything they make (and multiples of each). I’m also enthusiastic enough about Apple that a large percentage of my investment portfolio is in Apple stock…but even I throttle my enthusiasm! I was in Hawaii in November of 1983 when Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the company (I was with a manufacturer’s rep company at the time as Apple had no direct sales force and we and 26 other firms were it in the U.S.) and I was pumped about the product, but even then could pragmatically understand the challenges Apple faced introducing a new paradigm in computing.

Sheesh…I thought Apple was going to introduce a tablet PC three years ago! Do I think Apple is going to introduce an Apple mobile phone?

Yes…I do think they’re going to deliver one in Q1, 2007. When rumors came that the carrier to first introduce one might be Cingular, tech pundits like the guys on the TWiT netcast #80 posited that Cingular would NOT be the carrier since the EDGE network was slow and sucked. I disagree since this article briefly discusses the NEW third generation Cingular network that rivals speeds from the fast Verizon and Sprint CDMA broadband wireless networks. It could very well be Cingular that launches this new device and that would make sense because Cingular supports the GSM mobile system. To choose the GSM standard means that the Apple phone would work in most countries in the world.

The challenges Apple faces with disruptive innovation are more considerable today then when the Macintosh was introduced since it seems everyone is looking at the entire supply chain (chips, hard drives, memory, displays, manufacturing) and are analyzing industries in a 360 degree fashion. This makes doing end-runs around competitors really hard since the ability to discover what’s possible to create is pretty simple. (Note: I harp on good design in my blog…and design + simplifying user interfaces is where Apple shines…and design really matters more than ever before).

Included in the challenges Apple faces are the expectations of a tech-savvy generation that assumes technical innovation, that Moore’s Law will continue and that evolutionary leaps will simply occur automagically…and those who are tech-savvy probably won’t be satisfied or surprised until they can actually own a replicator or pay $20 for a half hour in a Holodeck.

The iPod dominance occurred for a bunch of reasons, chief among them was the record companies experiencing their revenue evaporating with P2P sharing and other digital copying going on. Apple had the best possible answer so they climbed on board. This is NOT happening with the movie or television industries (so goes the buzz) and the wireless carriers are not just going to rollover either.

People are ready and the market ripe for innovation. We have laughingly few mobile device choices compared to the rest of the world. I posted two days ago about the acceleration in smartphones and that we’ll all have a computer on our hip or in a purse which means the timing of an Apple device is quite good.

All in all Apple dominance ain’t gonna be so easy this time but Wall Street analysts need to chill and even we (bloggers and consumers) need to wait and see what ships. Any version 1.0 product needs to get a couple of iterations down the road before full acceptance and possible dominance occurs.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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