One month from now…
So on Jan 15th 2008, Steve Jobs will step out on stage at the Macworld Expo S.F. Apart from doing the usual recapping of successes that Apple has had, and introducing some new Macs, what about the iPhone? What will Apple do? Or more realistically, what will STEVE let US do?
There is a lot of rumors and hyperbole surrounding the forthcoming Expo. It seems that quite a few people believe that Apple will drop a brand-spanking-new 3G iPhone for all to see. I say, forget it. REALLY. There is far too much evidence to the contrary, like the absolute fact that Apple has to submit ANY hardware changes to the F.C.C in the U.S approximately 4 months before the handset can legally go on sale. Look what happened last year: The iPhone was ‘revealed’ to the public at Macworld Expo 2007. Then the F.C.C details surfaced around March. Then the iPhone was released end of June. Expect the same situation again (at the bare minimum). Ok, phew…so we have cleared that up. Of course the general belief that Apple will release a 3G iPhone is based on a very traditional view of the Mobile Industry, in that to get a ‘better’ phone you have to toss your current handset and buy a new one. Look at Nokia, look at SE, look at Motorola. An endless cycle of obsolescence every few months. Thats because these manufacturers for the most part rely on their income from new handsets. After a person buys a Nokia phone, that income for the company stops right there. They NEED you to want their new handsets. Otherwise they don’t make any more money from you.
With Apple’s approach, this is completely different: As long as Apple has a handset on the market, and people buy it with a contract, then its just a steady trickle supply of money. They don’t need to have 3478272 slightly different models on the market like Nokia to make money.
Another way to view the situation is to see the iPhone not as a piece of hardware, but as a platform. If Apple knocked out model after model to ‘keep up’ with the Jones’s, then the platform model becomes less important because people will just toss the handset every few months and buy a new one for those ‘new’ features. And let’s face it, most missing features on the iPhone will be fixed with the SDK. Want Haptic feedback on the keyboard? No problem. It will be developed. Want the iPhone more ‘Business-friendly’…again no problem, it will come very soon. Watch as the iPhone blooms next year, and expect applications to come pouring out from every angle possible. If you are a traditional Mac dev, then there is no transition to learn to develop for the iPhone. This will be one of the devices key strengths: OSX=UNIX-AQUA+iPhone UI = iPhone OSX. Even for the hardcore *nix geeks, there is something to make everyone happy.
Forget Christmas. Christmas season officially starts on Jan 15th 2008.