iPhone at the turning point?
The same 24 hour period that has Mike Arrington swearing off iPhone has George Colony suggesting that the iPhone will be a Blackberry killer.
The technoweenie avant garde gripes about iPhone — based on spotty and inconsistent coverage from AT&T, flashless camera, Apple’s AppStore misdeeds, and lack of access to other VoIP solutions — are based on a comparison with a hypothetical device managed by illusory and benevolent organizations: the land of make believe. Colony simply compares the iPhone to Blackberry and makes the obvious conclusion: once they have the integration with Outlook/Exchange, that’s that:
If you’re the typical CEO, you are carrying a Blackberry. But not for long. Once the iPhone is able, in a corporate setting, to replicate all aspects of Outlook (email, calendar, notes, and tasks) with high security, the iPhone floodgates will open and you will have a new device. Here’s why:
1) User interface. Despite the annoyance of the glass keyboard, the iPhone interface is faster, more intuitive, more flexible, and more versatile. You can do more, with more content, less instruction, and faster speed.
2) Applications. iPhone has a massive head start in the battle for applications. It’s possible that your company already has an iPhone application in the market — servicing your customers. Don’t you wish you could see it? And there may already be applications available that will make your job easier — I predict that corporate dashboards for CEOs will be a small but influential segment of the iPhone apps portfolio. In some markets, it’s changing how customers connect to companies — here’s an example around mobile banking. The application revolution has begun — and it’s not on Blackberry.
3) iPhone will soon be available from more cell services providers — starting first in Europe. Once the device breaks out of its AT&T cage, the multiplier effect will kick in — and the flood waters will rise fast.
I agree with many of Arrington’s peeves, on the other hand:
[from I Quit The iPhone]
I have loved the iPhone, but now I am quitting the iPhone.
This is not an easy decision.
I was there in January 2007 when it was announced and I bought the first iPhone as soon as it was available. I happily bought the iPhone 3G a year later. I’ve proudly yelled “I Am A Member Of The Cult Of iPhone.” I’ve been an unabashed cheerleader for the device to all who’ll listen. And I’ve scoffed at developers who said they’d abandon the platform.
But I’m not going to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS. Instead, I’m abandoning the iPhone and AT&T. I will grudgingly pay the $175 AT&T termination fee and then I will move on to another device.
What finally put me over the edge? It wasn’t the routinely dropped calls, something you can only truly understand once you have owned an iPhone (and which drove my friend Om Malik to bail). I’ve lived with that for two years. It’s not the lack of AT&T coverage at home. I’ve lived with that for two years, too. It certainly isn’t the lack of a physical keyboard, that has never bothered me. No, what finally put me over the edge is the Google Voice debacle.
Arrington wants to take advantage of a long list of cool features built into Google Voice, and is pissed that Apple and AT&T are blocking the service on the phone. Arguably, Apple and AT&T could make the case that Google is potentially their worst nightmare — developing Android, and now Google Voice — is a direct run at the center of their phone strategies.
Mike wants to demote AT&T to being a ‘dumb pipe’ on which he will run Google VoIP services, and to turn the iPhone into ‘just another handset’. But Apple is trying to build a revolutionary mobile infrastructure in which iPhone is one major component, and not just selling handsets with ‘who cares what software’ running on it.
So Arrington is peeved that Apple and AT&T are resisting commoditization, and using all the powers at their command to do so. Mike says if Apple will coerce AT&T to support Google Voice, he will switch back to using the handset. Apple will not go down that road. They will open up to support more than one cell network, at some point, or maybe build their own, if they have to compete with Google. But I don’t think Mike will be switching back to iPhone anytime soon.
Meanwhile, millions of Blackberry users will sign up, cheerfully, and move into the 21st century.