Friday, January 19, 2007

iPhone - come on in the water's lovely

Been in Miami all week at conferences so light posting, and glimpsing the sun outside the conference window (arguably worse than no sun at all). Now in the BA lounge on my way back to grimey London, rife with its religous tension (both in Big Brother and on the street), worst storms for 17 years, and constantly shoddy transport system. Anyway, I digress. I was going to address the question made by my regular (only?) reader from Nigeria, pumba, who asked what i thought about the iPhone. Well, even though this is just a personal blog, and I'm anyway not a spokesman about such things for Nokia, my views are fairly inline with the company's view, which is that it validates our 'worldview' of mobile multimedia internet enabled devices: the most important computers going forward will not need to be permanently plugged into the wall.

The unprecedented levels of exposure for this launch have planted the seeds in millions of people's minds (especially in the key US market) that computing and the internet needn't be about PCs. Until people believe this and start using mobile devices as full members of the Internet, and web developers know this, the promise of an Internet that is dramatically more usable and relevant for people will not be realized. It's as if we've been building cars for a while, but the Americans haven't found a compelling reason to make the leap from horse-drawn carriages. To the exent that Apple - and its slick marketing machine - is joining in and validating the market for cars rather than horses, I'm grateful. The idea of the next Web is going to be the topic of the next post that I've been meaning to write for a while, and if my middle seat in cattle class actually allows me to use the keyboard, maybe I'll get to it on the flight.

Before I leave the topic, would only add that in many respects this is not really a phone such as we understand the category, but a cellular-enabled PDA, that doesn't look like it'll be operated with one-hand, and doesn't have GPS (unlike e.g. N95). So, even if Apple succeeds in validating the market for such a category that hasn't existed until now, it doesn't mean that other manufacturers will be able to repeat the trick.

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