The almost-famous John Dvorak has written an article titled Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone which is almost as insightful as the guy on the corner screaming the world will end. His argument is this:
- The iPhone hype is so intense that there is no way Apple could possibly deliver on what fanboys and fangirls are hoping for.
- The cellphone marketplace is so saturated that it’s impossible for a company to come out with one device that redefines the entire industry.
For starters, the iPhone hype was more intense for the 6+ months prior to its unveiling that it makes the current buzz about it sound like a dull roar. How many international news outlets and stock analysts “predicted” the iPhone months before it came out? How many millions of people worldwide had far-fetched preconceived features that they wanted Apple to pull together? And after it debuted, how many people sat back, watched Jobs give the demo, and said “man, that sucks, it’s totally not what I wanted”. Gee, a handful? None? The hype was answered loud and clear. Apple delivered on everyone’s magical wishes.
So the only thing now that could go wrong is if the dozens of demos and videos of the iPhone are all false and misleading, and once you buy it, it boots into the Newton OS. Other than that, the people who hold it in their hands and use it are going to love it.
John seems to be forgetting that what Apple does best is redefine markets and make everyone look like they’re running with two broken legs. Since the iPod debuted, no one has come close to the market dominance that Apple has had, and if you believe John’s article, that’s only because Apple advertised the iPod well. Oh really? That sounds like a cogent argument to me. Or maybe it’s because the blend of hardware and software usability and aesthetics has not been matched in the world of MP3 players, and possibly never will.
Remember the Motrola Razr and the absolute all-out dominance it had in the mobile industry? It started that dominance back when the Razr was over $400, and now that it’s given away free with mobile contracts, its appeal is kicking in once again. Compare that dominance with the impending iPhone’s launch, and please tell me how John’s argument that one single phone cannot dominate a landscape holds any water.
The problem with comparing the iPhone to what’s out there is that it’s not like anything that’s out there in terms of overall appeal, aesthetics, usability, industrial design, and user interface design. The total package is not currently available in any form, and when consumers see what they’ve been missing when the iPhone launches, they will flock to it in droves. Me included.