iPhone

Apple dupes iPhone users into beta testing iPhone 3G

According to TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler, Apple's original iPhone was little more than an iPhone 3G beta test, which Jobs convinced Apple fans to pay for. The iPhone's lack of common Smartphone features and prototype-like construction, along with the iPhone 3G's evolutionary design, provide the evidence for Detwiler's iPhone Betagate theory.

According to TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler, Apple's original iPhone was little more than an iPhone 3G beta test, which Jobs convinced Apple fans to pay for. The iPhone's lack of common Smartphone features and prototype-like construction, along with the iPhone 3G's evolutionary design, provide the evidence for Detwiler's iPhone Betagate theory.

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I'm usually not a corporate conspiracy theorist, but while disassembling the iPhone 3G, I couldn't keep a single, nagging suspicion out of my head -- Apple's original iPhone was little more than a beta test for the iPhone 3G. Adding insult to injury, Jobs and company convinced millions of iPhone users to pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege. I think three pieces of evidence prove my case -- the original iPhone's lack of common Smartphone features, the original iPhone's prototype-like construction, and the iPhone 3G's evolutionary design. Let the iPhone Betagate investigation begin!

Original iPhone's lack of common Smartphone features

The original iPhone had a lot to love -- a sleek design, innovative touch-screen interface, beautiful display, and great multimedia capabilities. Yet Apple's cell phone/music player combo lacked basic features found on many competing Smartphones.

iPhone celebrates a yearMost noticeably, the iPhone relied on AT&T's painfully slow EDGE network. By the time Apple released the iPhone in July 2007, I had been using one of AT&T's 3G-enabled 8525s for several months. The iPhone's Web browser was much better than the version of IE running on the 8525's Windows Mobile 5 OS, but the slow data speed ruined the experience.

Lack of 3G support wasn't the iPhone's only shortcoming. The iPhone was a nonstarter for many business users because it would not synchronize with Microsoft Exchange through ActiveSync. The lack of stereo Bluetooth support seemed odd in a phone that cost almost $600. And the iPhone offered scant internal memory (4GB and 8GB at launch) for a music player.

Original iPhone's prototype-like construction

As an engineering student, IT professional, and gadget geek, I've disassembled, repaired, and reassembled hundreds of electrical and mechanical devices. For TechRepublic's Cracking Open series alone, I've probably dissected a couple dozen pieces of equipment. I have a good handle on when a device is built to be replaced or built to be repaired.

Cracking Open the Apple iPhoneI believe the original iPhone was built to be replaced. How do I know? First, the original iPhone is extremely difficult to open and service, even with specialized tools. Second, the front screen (digitizer) and LCD are a single unit. Cracked, chipped, and scratched screens are a common type of iPhone damage. Replacing a cracked screen requires you to also replace the LCD. Third and most noticeably, the battery is soldered to the PCB assembly. If you need to replace the battery on an out-of-warranty iPhone, you must send the unit back to Apple and pay $85.95. According to Apple's Web site, the process takes three business days and you will lose all data on the phone.

It's not uncommon for first-model devices to have a few flaws and bugs. But the three flaws I mention above are obvious defects. I can't imagine Apple's product designers and engineers didn't recognize them during development. Even if I let the fused digitizer/LCD screen and difficult opening process pass, the soldered battery is a no brainer.

It's true that iPod batteries have never been easy to replace, but the iPhone is primarily a cell phone. What happens when your battery fails? If you rely on your iPhone for business, you really can't wait three days for a battery replacement. Apple knew most iPhone batteries would last until they launched the iPhone 3G. The company hoped most customers would immediately upgrade to the new phone or upgrade when their original iPhone failed. Apple did not build the iPhone to last.

iPhone 3G's evolutionary (not revolutionary) design

The iPhone 3G addresses most the original iPhone's shortcomings but offered no ground-breaking technological advancements.

Cracking Open the Apple iPhone 3GFirst, Apple addressed the iPhone's critical feature deficiencies. The new phone supports AT&T's 3G network. So important was this fix that Apple put the term "3G" in the product's name. The iPhone 3G (through Apple's iPhone 2.0 software) also supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Enterprise users can now receive push e-mail, calendar information, and contacts.

Second, the iPhone 3G is easier to disassemble and service. Cell phone technicians can open the device by removing two external screws and lifting up the front screen. The screen (digitizer) and LCD are separate components and can be independently replaced. And most important, the battery is not soldered to the main PCB. iPhone technicians can even put away those bent paperclips. Apple provides a SIM card removal tool in the iPhone 3G's box. Overall, the iPhone 3G seems built to last much longer than the original iPhone.

Yet all these improvements are just bug fixes, not revolutionary technological advancements. The original iPhone should have supported 3G and ActiveSync. It should have been easier to service. The battery should never have been soldered in place. Apple knew this, but released the original iPhone anyway.

The lesson for IT leaders: Don't pay to beta test technology

Apple's iPhone Betagate scandal illustrates a fundamental truth all IT leaders should take to heart. Unless you have an overwhelming reason to do so, do not deploy first-run technology. Wait for the service pack. Conduct limited product trials. Test the product with a small group of early adopters. Rush into a deployment, and you might just be paying to beta test someone else's product.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

32 comments
matt955
matt955

if u want to test ur product visit this site www.mattbeta.xn.pl

markgw
markgw

Pile of arse. A non-story. Think back to the launch of the original iMac and iPod. How many changes were made to subsequent versions? Also the response to the original iPod? "A ground-breaking device? It's just another MP3 player". Hmmm. Lots of accurate analysis there. The iPhone is following the a similar sales and marketing plan to generate revenue, profits and brand loyalty (Apple is a business after all). It's a simple model, and it works.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think this all depends on what you think is acceptable for production deployment. This was Apple's *first* Cell phone. Is it really any surprise that they didn't have their product as spit-shined as it could have been on release day? Their market has never seemed to be corporate enterprise penetration. Their entire market philosophy is toward personal electronic devices - and they often ignore business considerations when catering to the needs and desires of the home segment. I've argued elsewhere that Vista has met with such harsh industry criticism precisely because the quantum improvements it introduces are aimed squarely at home/personal device convergence users. The areas where OS X was superior to WinXP were all in media content and management, eye-candy, and nifty features that have personal benefit but don't necessarily enhance business productivity. With Vista, Microsoft has addressed those deficiencies, but nobody got the marketing memo - Vista doesn't offer much to the business user that XP didn't already have - it is the home user who will reap the biggest benefits in upgrading. By the same token, the iPhone lies somewhere between a regular phone and a smart phone (the lines between which are growing ever more blurry, anyhow). It seems that several contributors to Tech Republic, and a lot of image conscious executives, desperately *want* the iPhone to be more than this - but that doesn't make it so. Is the LG EnV and EnV2 a smart phone or a traditional phone with a lot of enhanced features? According to Verizon, it is really just a cam-phone. I think what you REALLY want is an iPhone that is actually a Windows Mobile and/or Blackberry device. You want it sleek, with a trendy logo etched on back, with innovative features that impress at the night-club - but you want it to do all the things that your boring BUSINESS oriented SmartPhone does as well. But that wasn't their target market for deployment, over at Apple. They wanted personal home users. They wanted iPod owners. They wanted OS X users. And, the 1G iPhone was designed well enough for that market - the "New Every 2" personal use market. So your summary conclusion may be right. Business users shouldn't jump on the hype bandwagon for a new device just because it is shiny, trendy and has nifty features that have no real business relevence. But I'd think that should have been clear long before Tech Republic published two dozen plus articles pondering the potential business penetration of the iPhone. I think this article only really illustrates this much... "You're just coming to this conclusion NOW?" That isn't offering proactive advice to a community of IT leaders. That is offering reactive observation I could have told you before the iPhone was released. Could you also tell me what horses I should have bet on, after the race has finished?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

The new phone STILL doesn't offer even the most basic features of even a free cell phone though, let alone a Smart Phone. This indicates that perhaps it is left stripped down to keep costs down and profits high while they develop the 4G phone. 'It has great mulitmedia capabilities'. Er..does it? A wimpy camera that's not worth the time to use, those $20 keychain cameras take better pics. As for multimedia one would assume, as even with the most entry level free phone, it would have some form of Video recorder, but NOPE not in this new, cutting edge device. No bluetooth stereo either. Hmmm, seems like all they did was get a heap of apps to run on it, if you're lucky, and released the iPhone4G with 3G abilities. Note to those excited about 3G: WiMax is not only faster it is cheaper too. Digital networks have alway will trumped analogue network speeds, 3G will not be the fastest for long. Perhaps that's the big deal, iPhone was driven by poor connectivity speeds, it was quickly trumped by the digital service providers such as Sprint who offered faster speeds. With the upcoming Wimax network it was in Apple's best interests to get onto 3G networks and market the hell out of thier product to beat the rush for WiMax, which will essentially kill any interest in a slower device that does less than a cell phone or smart phone. And what about 4G? Withe the shortcomings of the iPhone3G, will it be deemed the prototype for iPhone4G networks? Jobs' 'yacht', helicopter and all, was bobbing 25' from by boat during the fireworks the other night, if I had an iPhone I could have asked him "What's up with this semi-functional P.O.S?" At least we know that he got crappy pictures of the fireworks and couldn't shoot any video of them. LOL Maybe I shoulda just thrown an orange at it.

Imagine22
Imagine22

I'm a geek. I'm an earlier adopter. I love beta programs. I have loved my iphone this past year. Thank you Apple. Kevin

KarlVon
KarlVon

Your comments are very interesting ! But why do you publish them now ? It reminds me of the old truth that it is so difficult to make forecasts, especially concerning the future. Your "forecasts" (in effect double guessing Apple's intentions at the time) safely deal with the distant past. You are a wise man !

reasonableman
reasonableman

The first iPhone was enough of a leap from other cel phones that it was worth getting out there to sell, and people who bought it as early adapters, as far as I can tell, were very happy with it (even at the high price), particularly compared to the alternatives. I don't think the upgrades or fixes were so much to beta test as they are incremental advances to continue the hype and make more people want to either buy an iPhone or upgrade. Apple does this all the time by adding small things or changing the look to freshen up a product. Whether the first gen iPhone was to beta test or not, it's just good marketing to send out a product that will sell as much as the first gen iPhone did, and to have improvements on their way. It's a business, and Apple makes money from people who want the latest and greatest (perceived or otherwise), so they have to always have a "latest and greatest" just around the corner. That's what they do. That's their business. That will be never-ending so long as they can continue to upgrade and think of things consumers want that's not out there yet, but that doesn't mean they are sending out products as a beta test.

charles
charles

Interesting hypothesis. But soldered batteries alone in an Apple MP3 player does not a prototype make. If so, that would mean the 1st Gen nano, 2nd Gen nano, and 3rd Gen nano are all prototypes, since the battery in those players are all soldered in (source: http://www.ipodjuice.com/apple-ipod-nano-repair.htm). However, i think you do have a point that the first gen iPhone could have been a prototype for the new iPhone 3G when you mentioned the differences in the backing (metal to plastic) and the other features. I have had a first gen iphone but lost it a week before the iPhone 3G launch, and i just got a new iPhone 3G yesterday (white/16GB) and i have to say the new one just feels better in my hands, and the faster speeds are well worth it.

aharris02
aharris02

I'm not sure about the hardware points. Apple seemed to have been spending more time developing interface functionality that far surpassed other mobile devices. People will debate this point, but there's no denying Apple nailed the interface part when you consider other devices. As for software if you think about the amount of time it's taken Apple to be able to fully support Exchange/"Activestink" (Snow Leopard), it might explain why the iPhone 1.0, built on Darwin 9.0 just as Leopard, didn't offer that functionality. I don't disagree with you that the iPhone 1.0 was an incomplete product, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a beta for 3G.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In an IT Dojo blog post, I explain why I think Apple's original iPhone was little more than an iPhone 3G beta test, which Jobs convinced Apple fans to pay for. The iPhone's lack of common Smartphone features and prototype-like construction, along with the iPhone 3G's evolutionary design, provide the evidence for my iPhone Betagate theory. Original blog post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=154 Check out my evidence and let me know if you think Jobs pulled one over on Apple fans.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Okay, so this is supposed to be a great tool for multimedia. It doesn't even record video? Not such a great multimedia device afterall, my free Motorola phone records video. So maybe its a great platform for photos? Nope, has a very basic camera. Both my cell phone and smart phone have better quality cameras. Perhaps its the great music support? i-Tunes? Terrible compression, no Ogg vorbis codec, can't play FLAC or similar lossless formats. Okay well it has a touch screen, right? They bought out a company that was tryign to compete with ELO/Tyco for a chare of teh touch screen market, they use inferior touch technology, not even as good as the antiquated IR Touch. Other devices that have been around for a couple of years already offer capacitive touch that you can use a stylus on, enabling handwriting recognition. So perhaps its the keyboard? Well there isn't one, only an on screen keyboard. QWERTY? nope, not even that and again due to inferior technology, it is hard to use unless you have very slender fingers and it isn't very resilient to debris, smudges etc.. Hmmmm, the operating system? Okay for a toy but nothing that I don't have in my much older smart phone. The battery has been improved? As we all know rechargeable batteries last about a year and a bit before losing much of their charge ability. Except it is proprietary and requires servicing. Damn, so what IS so great about the i-Phone? 3G? Nope, 3G is already slow compared to the emerging 4G and WiMax is faster still, they just beat out the market by a little but on that one and as always AT&T will be sucking hind teet when Sprint's WiMax is incorporated into smart phones. Too many drawbacks for a 'brand new cutting edge device', It offers less than similar products that have been on the market for a few years now. nice try Apple, you can build a grea tnotebook but your toys need a lot to be desired. Only one who is set on following trend will buy this toy, same as teh iPods, which are easily trumped by numerous far less expensive and non-proprietary MP3 players. "iMac and iPod. How many changes were made to subsequent versions? " Exactly, they sold god knows how many substandard versions befor ethey finally caught up and even then, iPods just don't beat competitive products. Its just like the XP fanboys, no matter what is released and proven better, no matter how many issues they had and now choose to ignore, they still rant about how wonderful it is without taking another loko at the competing market. They have their minds made up, and that's it, no room for reality. Nice try though.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

You're wrong if you think Apple isn't targeting business users with the iPhone, check Apple's own iPhone Enterprise Web page: http://www.apple.com/iphone/enterprise/ Here's a quote from Mark Dajani, CIO Kraft: "Kraft's GAL consists of 64,000 people spread across the globe. With iPhone and the 2.0 software, our employees now have the ability to find anyone, anyplace, just by reaching into their pocket." Furthermore, you would be surprised how many people can be swayed by a slick marketing campaign--even when they know better. My observations about the iPhone and iPhone 3G should "remind" IT leaders to be wary of the hype, not alert them to its existence. As for the horses, here are a few hot tips: - Secretariat is a lock for the 1973 Kentucky Derby - Alysheba should take the 1988 Breeders' Cup Classic - Norton's Coin will win the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup Place your bets accordingly.

GoboSlayer
GoboSlayer

*Business users shouldn't jump on the hype bandwagon for a new device just because it is shiny, trendy and has nifty features that have no real business relevence.* I couldn't agree with you more. However, you'd be surprised to find how many people allow image to affect their business processes or technology selection. Apple has done a great job of luring people into selecting a product that is very likely the wrong fit for them.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Stand in front of the others and share please. "Hi I am Oz, and I am an alcoholic." "Hi I am imagine22, and I am a beta tester for new toys." Lol, sorry just struck me as funny; why admit you are proudly a guinnea pig?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

That's why people, who like jumping on new gadgets, benefit others who wait. Some people prefer to wait with skepticism, those who love teh new toy can proudly state teh benefits and others will deny its worth. Then the clever people get to weigh both sides and get the real picture and avoid making mistakes by buying into new hype that is neither new or improved technology. Hindsight is 20/20, foresight is for the hopeful.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Yes the 3G is faster than the old network, but the old netwrok was also MUCH slower than the Digital service providers. But what about WiMax, faster than 3G and available for Smart phones with more useful features than iPhone? They are already working on using 4G to compete with that, WiMax will kill 3G, so they have to get 4G up and running pretty quick.

GoboSlayer
GoboSlayer

I've not used the 3G, but I personally feel they failed miserably on the iPhone interface on the 1gen device. The softkeys are small and difficult to hit if you have larger fingers. There is no stylus and the softkeys are not QWERTY, which is a fairly big deal for me. That being said, the interface shortcomings alone were enough to disinterest me. They made it pretty, but for a 4 year smartphone user like myself, it doesn't offer nearly enough.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Perhaps fomr a network intergration standpoint I will agree, as I have no counter information to offer. Though my SMart phone does synch with Exchange and MS Office/Outlook very nice and seamlessly. But as far as user experience, you have a touch screen that does not use resistive touch. You CAN'T aven copy and paste with it?!? It doesn't record video. It can't be used with a stylus, safely. Most smare phone use either 4 or 5 wire, resistive touch technology, they are more reliable, more durable, can be washed off (or wiped witha cleanign solution)and are teh most contamination resistant. Most Bank machines and restaurant POS stations use 5-wire resistive touch technology from ELO (Tyco)....sold them too. The iPhone uses MultiTouch technology by Fingerworks. This is more lik ethe old Infra Red touch that ELO once used. The problem is, especially with a device like this, it is NOT accurate enough and doesn't respond to touch by a stylus. Talk while walking through a country fair and you'll find that al of a sudden it starts unputting things that you haven't touched. When airborn sticky fibres, such as candy floss are attracted to and adhere to teh screen, it will start reading false inputs. Okay we might nto all talk whil eat the fair but the point is, it is NOT areliable technology, is VERY out of date, the company shut down making technology for other uses (mainly touch keyboards) when they teamed with Apple and just plain...OLD. Now you have an overproiced phone, which lacks tha basic featuers of a phone offers SOME of teh features of a common smartphone and uses old and out of date touch technology to function. Yet it is teh latest and greatest? Someone is getting screwed here, it seems to be teh people who lined up in wait, paid top dollar, signed long term contracts with a substandard network and are now locked into it. No thanks.

kknepple
kknepple

I really don't mean to call you out, but Apple users/followers/fans all sound alike. I mean o you really have issues with ActiveSync and what are they? Or are you of the ilk that says M$, internet exploder, nutscrape and other genius mockeries. As far as saying they were spending more time developing the interface and letting the hardware slide and that is somewhat acceptable really does not cut it for the everyday consumer. Apple can do this and get away with it because the Apple fans will find an out for Apple. This is not an option for my line of thinking. If I am going to buy one of the most expensive items in its product line out there it will be a complete product. That includes cars, refrigerators, washers/dryers etc.... If I had to send in my fridge for them to replace the water filter and pay them a 6th of the original cost to do it I would be upset, wouldn't anybody because duh I should be able to replace the filter but you know Maytags climate control interface is so nice ahh whatever I love it. I conclude the hardware section by saying that from what Mac users claim they expect and receive from Apple the original iPhone fell far from expectations. The interface is nice but I have used an iPhone quite a bit and really I think the web surfing is its best attribute. But I dare you to try an HTC Touch on the Wimax network it is right there and yes works with "ActiveStink" I will skip iPhones but the product is perfect for Mac fans who will lend a blind eye to the issues at hand and lean towards that it is a Mac and "it just works." Will MobileMe 'just work' for the rest of us?" (genius mockery alert) really it doesn"t matter because you will buy what comes out next.

SundayBiker
SundayBiker

Who bought the first iPhones, that's irony... Good job explaining the whole process!

Wally Bahny
Wally Bahny

Excellent points, Bill. I think you hit the nail on the head.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Either only apply to an ubernerd perspective, or are relatively irrelevent. Videos and Pictures - How important is this, *really*? The camera element on even the best cam-phones is a low quality device. How many people do any serious photopgraphy or video making with their phone? Or do you have a nice digital camera, perhaps an SLR, and a real video camera, as well? I've had half a dozen phones with movie and camera ability, and I've used them all, and I've never been impressed with the capabilities of any of them. I've got a DV handcam, I've got a Coolpix digital camera, I've got a Canon Digital SLR. If it is something I want to *keep*, I use these devices. I'd love to see the lens on a phone-cam improve to where it could compete with these other devices, at least the Coolpix snapshot camera. I see a trend in that direction, but no one has really delivered yet. Until they get away from webcam grade optics, it won't change, either. "no Ogg vorbis codec, can't play FLAC or similar lossless formats." You know who cares about this? Super-nerds and audiophiles. Do you know how much of the market for portable music players this crowd represents? Less than the market share of Linux on the desktop, is my guess. This is a generation raised on music that is PRODUCED to be LOUD and FLAT on the master recordings. Do you think they're really worried if they're not getting the full dynamic range of Pink, Nelly, 50 Cent, Ludacris or Shakira? My HTC XV6800 works very well with the stylus, but is very unreponsive to finger input. I'm sure we'll see more devices in the future that are competent with a stylus or a finger, but right now, it seems like the competition all sways the other way. QWERTY keyboard. I dig my keyboard. It rocks. But it also makes my device bigger and more bulky than an iPhone, and the guy I know who has an iPhone and is the "texting generation" can keep pace with me. Even the best QWERTY keyboard, you're not touch typing. You're thumbing your way through an e-mail or text message. I/O issues are part of the bargain with devices this size. OS... again, Win Mobile and PalmOS aren't the most robust operating systems. They're scaled down. Linux embedded as well. It goes with the territory. The iPod/iPhone OS applies the same logic that all Mac OSes apply. Keep the user experience simple. I don't think there is anything quite like it on any other smartphone, older or newer, except for those newer phones that try to emulate the look and feel of the iPhone interface. 3G... Dude... I am *so* against statements like, "AT&T will be sucking hind teet *WHEN* Sprint WiMax is here." Just like I didn't want to hear about how the app store was going to open up iPhone on the enterprise once Apple delivered 2.0 and the 3G iPhone. Tell me about right *now*. Don't tell me about what is *promised*. I should be enjoying a 16gb MicroSD card in my smartphone right now, if what SanDisk said last year was true. Instead, right now it is "sometime between August and December 2008". **** in one hand and wish in the other and see which fills up first. Speculative comparissons against what *IS* with what MAY be are dangerous, at best. Come on. I'm not an iPhone fanboy. I don't own one and have no current plans to change that. But the iPhone is just one of hundreds of other choices out there, all of which compromise in one way or another.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

A sketchy horse at best. Not consistent and is going to be all chalk anyway. Now I have to go and listen to my new INXS cassette in my Grand AM.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think Apple targeting business segments is a lot like Microsoft targeting non-business segments. The Games For Windows initiative is a great example. "Well, it kinda competes with our own Xbox, and we have no control over the hardware, but, it is a market we don't want to just let go, just in case... although it would be best for us, really, if this didn't exist as a concern at all." I'm not saying that having a business penetration strategy isn't part of the Apple marketing plan. But I think it is still incidental to them. They know it is a segment they want to be competitive in, but I think it is a smaller component in their overall strategy. Honestly, I think Apple has a larger vision of these devices than Microsoft, and I think they have had this vision since they introduced the Newton. If Microsoft was smart, they would be exerting more of an influence in the world of Win Mobile apps. Perhaps setting up a Games for Windows or Windows Performance Index type initiative for Win Mobile devices that assigns ratings for hardware suitability to a particular app, and otherwise pushing convergence across Microsoft platforms. Apple products tend to tie seamlessly together across their product line. There is a disconnect between Win32 for PCs, Xbox, Zune and Windows Mobile devices. Microsoft is improving, but they're still not executing as well as Apple in this market, and THAT could spell more potential long term trouble for Microsoft than Linux or OS X alone ever could have.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Even the most experienced CIO, IT manager, network administrator, or help desk tech can be swayed by a slick marketing campaign. I've worked at numerous companies where the vendor with the best-looking presentation and free swag was repeatedly chosen over the best product.

tikigawd
tikigawd

Apple currently has the ability to dupe people left and right, and the people gladly oblige. It's quite amazing.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Although, for a lot of Cell phone users, national or international coverage isn't important, local coverage is, and Verizon has consistently had the strongest coverage in the areas that concern -me-. AT&T fell way behind a long while ago (after the purchased and mishandled Cellular One, IMHO). I guess we agree on that much, though... AT&T is one of the larger reasons that the iPhone remains a "No" in my book. Now, the way that Apple established iPod dominance was by being the first to establish digital music LEGITIMACY. With legitimacy came a lot of benefits. Not having the RIAA kick in your door to sue your grandmother or 12 year old daughter just being one of those. Creative was first out of the gate with MP3 players with generous hard drives... but your Napster collection of MP3s was dubious at best. Is that song REALLY "Madonna, Like a Virgin", or is it going to be the first 15 seconds of "Willie Nelson, Stardust", looped over and over for 3 minutes and 15 seconds? Multiply that by a 30gb collection of MP3s, with no standard titling method, and you've got an unmanagable MESS of a collection. "I KNOW I downloaded Prince, Erotic City, somewhere, but I either lost it, or I'm wrong. Oh, some how it got in my Debarge folder as "Rythm of the Night"... Apple made it accessible to the mainstream. Your suggestion about watching Batman, Dark Night, on your HTC is another example of that. It *certainly* can be done, moral/ethical questions of IP aside, and it isn't HARD, especially from the perspective of someone avid in this industry. But there are a variety of reasons why this isn't a mainstream accessible method to the masses. Finding and downloading a high quality torrent, or ripping a DVD to ISO then converting it into a mobile format at a suitable bit-rate and resolution for a portable device not only takes awhile (or so I've *heard*, having no experience with this kind of thing myself, of course), but it isn't exactly something that is easily accessible to your average end-user. While the rest of the industry went head to head with the RIAA and MPAA over DRM issues, Apple quietly slid in, started offering easily accessible, legitimate product, and started soaking up the market share. About the time that the iPod really started gaining steam, the Creative players started dying like flies due to some really bad design/engineering in their first couple generation of players. Outside of Apple and Creative, everybody else was pretty late to the game. Which all kind of illustrates my point. Everyone else had these ugly, 1970s transistor radio looking MP3 players, they didn't really have a legitimate solution for filling those players with content, and the players were built poorly. The competition had a sleek, sexy solution that looked like something from a 70s Sci-Fi movie, they had a legitimate and reasonably priced solution for filling those players with content, and they were aggressively marketed with hip and slick campaigns. Add a few scare stories about 12 year olds getting sued, get Metallica running around like music nazis preaching the gospel of IP rights, sue to destroy Napster... what else happened... the other music stores were horrible, legitimate Napster being probably the best of the bunch and still being worse than iTunes in so many respects. At the end of it, you've got Apple, not necessarily with the best product on paper, but as the market leader with a strongly entrenched position. I think the iPhone is a part of their strategy, and their strategy revolves around personal electronic devices with a focus on media management. I think... *think*, that they may be working toward a single media convergence device. The iPod, the iPhone, and the MacBook AIR show a general trend in this direction. Apple TV and their aggressive move to expand media content on iTunes is just another example. OS X being focused on personal media management is another example. This *is* why Microsoft is in the game console business, and the 360 starts to deliver on their real goal with this platform. It is set-top media box with PC integration and content delivery that they're after, not console wars with Nintendo and Sega. And eventually, maybe this direction will pay off for Microsoft and make the iPod era moot. But for now, Apple's position seems stronger and more strategically coherent, to me. What I see eventually, and have seen for awhile, is a single device that sits on my hip and replaces a lot if not all of the personal electronic devices I lug around today and integrates seamlessly with other electronic devices I interact with daily. My desktop PC, my notebook at home, at the office - the projector in the board-room. With Apple TV, the Macintosh, iPod, iTunes and the iPhone it seems like Apple is moving rapidly in this direction. Oddly enough, the closed architecture and tightly controlled hardware gives Apple the advantage, for once, in the seamless integration across platforms. The long term implications of this proprietary approach becoming the default are troubling, though, I'll agree with you there, as well.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

And while I disagree with some of the analogies used, I see your focus and agree with it as a whole. however I am not sure that Apple is really pushing this as he latest media/entertainment device. Or maybe they are but shouldn't be, it has too many shortcoming s on that front. You MUST use the proprietary i-Tunes to transfer media to it. not so bad but this also means that you can't transfer any FILES to it, no docs, no PDF's, no instruction manuals etc. I really don't know how so many people were sucked into i-Tunes to begin with, it results in a horrible, proprietary and overcompressed audio format that sounds awful. My friend's kids were all excited about the iPhone the other day, a couple of kids in school have one and they are "Sweeeet! I have to get one, do you know all the stuff you can do?". So I showed them my HTC Titanium P4000. WOW! You can write on the screen! (well you can with an iPhone but not using a stylus and there's no handwriting recognition of course, also due to an old touch system they used). http://techrepublic.com.com/5218-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=269787&messageID=2557712 "Yeah but iPod plays movies!" So I let them watch 'Batman, -The Dark Night' on my HTC. The slide out keyboard and landscape screen rotation had them "freaking right out"! "SWEEEEET!" "yeah, but you can make videos on the iPhone, right?" Um, no, you can't. No video recorder like the one HTC and countless others have had out for years now even the most basic cell phone has superior multimedia abilities. "It has a camera too!" he said while holding his own Motorola phone with an even better camera in it. They were sold on hype and marketing, just like many others have been. They now want Smart Phones as they "DO WAAAY MORE COOL STUFF!" Too bad, they are too young anyway, 12, 13 and 14. but one day they will get one and perhaps by then, they will be a little brighter than these yes folks who lined up for a few days to get the first iPhone with no knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses. ANYWAY, how do they market the iPhone? that was the point, right? They have gone to great lengths to be the first 3G device of that type. "3G" is the great speed issue everyone says can't be beat. Obviously they are unaware that 4G is actually already faster and AT&T can't keep up with Sprint's WiMax speeds at all. Ever since Ld deregulation, it has been a speed race between AT&T and Sprint, Sprint has always had a faster network and this is the first shot AT&T has had at being the quick ones on the block, though not for long just long enough to catch the gadget suckers. Times are changing and soon all the Smart Phones will be MUCH faster than the iPhone, Apple just got the marketing out early. Having worked in telecom for a good 10-12 years, I know the nuances and ins and outs of who owns which switches, which infrastructures, who piggy-backs on who etc. At least pretty well anyway, I have visited their switches and data centres, I have run National marketing campaigns for them etc. I'll can tell you first hand, Sprint has the superior network, both in the US and in Canada they are definitely a better provider for internet and mobile devices.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I've got a couple of loose rules of thumb. 1: The industry leader is usually in this position for a reason. A lot of people seem to hate #1 in whatever industry. But there is a reason Toyota used to consistently beat out Nissan, and why Honda has since surpassed Toyota. AT&T versus MCI... pick your corporate battle - #1 may cost a premium, but it is almost always worth it. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't question and look for a better deal. Simply that the market leader usually got there for some reason. 2: Best on paper doesn't mean best in application. Anybody who has been involved with IT for any length of time should have a readily available example of this principle in action. VHS or Beta, Amiga/AtariST/Mac versus PC, Zip-disk versus, um... those other guys with the 120mb solution that looked more like a floppy disk... HD versus BluRay. And this is where I consider it a fine line we walk. Sometimes the slick marketing campaign, best presentation, and nicest free swag is going to make a product dominant, even if there is a competitor that is clearly superior. Picking the "superior" product rarely pays off in this situation - ask anyone who played countless EGA IBM game ports on their much superior Amiga. I don't think this differs much for the enterprise. You may have picked the far superior network appliance, but if the company goes out of business because their competitor more successfully marketed their product, you're still left with an orphaned product - and your executive management is unlikely to be sympathetic to your plight. Which is why I am cautious about the iPhone and my opinion on it. The consumer demand for this item may make it an eventually dominant device. Remember, not to long ago Palm had this market tied up. Now Treos are available with Windows Mobile and the Palm OS Treos are being phased out. Whereas Windows Mobile beat Treo on strength of hardware, iPhone threatens to upset Windows Mobile based on sheer volume of sales based on user oriented entertainment and convergence "killer" apps. I can't think of a single "killer" app for Win Mobile that could drive sales of hardware, but I can see someone playing Super Monkey Ball all evening on his friend's iPhone and then deciding the next day that he must have one. Sales like THAT lead to market dominance. And that isn't even considering the sheer popularity and success of the iPod and iTunes. Apple is setting themselves up to be the dominant player in personal media, entertainment and convergence technologies. That could lead to a market dominance that makes business follow. It is the reverse of what works in the WinTel PC world, where being the dominant force in business leads to make home users follow suit. Apple will "never" turn the latter around. Win32/IA systems are too entrenched in business. But personal and convergence devices are still a market wide open for someone to establish themselves as the dominant player. Apple already has a strong position, clear and solid market strategy, and great lead here, and the iPhone may be another link in that chain. While Microsoft fumbles around with things like Xbox 360 and the Zune, and a totally disorganized Windows CE/Windows Mobile strategy that has languished (in relative terms) for almost a decade now. Point is, Apple is executing very well in this segment, in a way that positions them to be #1, if they're not effectively already. That means eventually iPhones may be the right choice, even in the business market. But they're not, yet, for all the reasons I stated in my original post.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I'v eoften offered the better swag and the best looking presentation and won quite a few deals because of it. I always have a product that stands up to what I say it is, I don't need to BS people in order to close sales (that's for amateurs and starving salesmen), but whether or not the REALLY need it is irrelevant. As long as it solves some issues, then anything else is just a bonus.

jfowler
jfowler

much farther than the iPod and iTunes to see it in all of its glory.

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