iPhone, Will history repeat itself?

Founder
Posts: 1,138
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #1
I have to qualify my post by saying I don't have an iPhone, and don't know the first things about programming for it, or issues related to marketing apps/games.

Think back to the early 80's when Apple dominated the home PC market. (OK, so Commodore did, lol). Then next thing we know, clones, and then next thing we know, an inferior OS has a large share of the market. In those days we could feel content in having the better overall platform, but a small percentage of the market. People cited the price of the platform and its closed nature. (Though we could counter the closed nature allowed for better integration and faster adoption of things like CD-ROM, 3.5 drive etc.)

Faster forward. Apple once again comes along with a great new platform. Everybody wants it... it is revolutionary, like the IIe and Mac were in there day. But again, various factors around the platform make it a "closed system". Can I call it a "close garden system" of sorts? (yeah yeah, anyone can get the SDK, etc etc.)

So with the above in mind, I've been thinking about two situations. On the iPhone side, will Google's platform mimic the rise of Wintel? Hard to stop Google, their brand/tech extends now to so many levels, especially for location related content. Of course it is also in their interest to have lots of hardware vendors produce handsets using their platform. So, do we see history repeating itself here? i.e. iPhone having a slicker OS, better this and that, a bit higher in price, yet the Google platform being "good enough" for the 90% of the market that has been tired of typical mobile OS?

The other situation though is with the iPod. It has been on the market for some time. Many hardware vendors have released iPod-killers, many with better specs and at lower price points -- yet the iPod remains a step ahead and is still on many Christmas lists.

I'm wondering if history will not repeat itself this time because of one huge factor -- the iTunes store? That seems to be the trump card, though, not a week goes by without mention of a new online music store.

Any thoughts on where this mobile market is heading?

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 215
Joined: 2008.06
Post: #2
Carlos Camacho Wrote:I have to qualify my post by saying I don't have an iPhone, and don't know the first things about programming for it, or issues related to marketing apps/games.

Think back to the early 80's when Apple dominated the home PC market. (OK, so Commodore did, lol). Then next thing we know, clones, and then next thing we know, an inferior OS has a large share of the market. In those days we could feel content in having the better overall platform, but a small percentage of the market. People cited the price of the platform and its closed nature. (Though we could counter the closed nature allowed for better integration and faster adoption of things like CD-ROM, 3.5 drive etc.)

Faster forward. Apple once again comes along with a great new platform. Everybody wants it... it is revolutionary, like the IIe and Mac were in there day. But again, various factors around the platform make it a "closed system". Can I call it a "close garden system" of sorts? (yeah yeah, anyone can get the SDK, etc etc.)

So with the above in mind, I've been thinking about two situations. On the iPhone side, will Google's platform mimic the rise of Wintel? Hard to stop Google, their brand/tech extends now to so many levels, especially for location related content. Of course it is also in their interest to have lots of hardware vendors produce handsets using their platform. So, do we see history repeating itself here? i.e. iPhone having a slicker OS, better this and that, a bit higher in price, yet the Google platform being "good enough" for the 90% of the market that has been tired of typical mobile OS?

The other situation though is with the iPod. It has been on the market for some time. Many hardware vendors have released iPod-killers, many with better specs and at lower price points -- yet the iPod remains a step ahead and is still on many Christmas lists.

I'm wondering if history will not repeat itself this time because of one huge factor -- the iTunes store? That seems to be the trump card, though, not a week goes by without mention of a new online music store.

Any thoughts on where this mobile market is heading?

Well, coming up on the 2 year anniversary of iPhone's launch in January, the answer to your question is a resounding...maybe. I would say that it is much less likely that the iPhone will be plowed under for a few reasons:

1. The public's reaction to iPhone was so resoundingly good that it's going to be difficult for a rival company to wrest that away from Apple.
2. A lot of people already own iPhones. Unlike a computer, most people only need and use one iPhone/smartphone/cellphone at a time. With all the features and compatibility the iPhone sports, it's going to be difficult to convince customers to migrate to an imitation device that has similar feature sets.
3. Hype. I think the biggest thing that sells Macs/iPhones/iPods to the non-tech-savvy populace is: It's a statement. It's an icon. People see you with a sleek, highly functional, well-known device like an iPhone or a Mac or what have you, and that sends a message to them.
4. Apple is driving down prices for the iPhone and it's support from the development community is unprecedented, making it highly flexible and powerful hand-held device for any user.

In short, yes, there exists the possibility that an "iPhone killer" may lurk on the horizon, but I believe that the iPhone is probably one of Apple's best moves. They had the foresight this time to patent and copyright a LOT of stuff before revealing it to anyone, and that above anything else will probably keep them safe for a short while longer.

I think for now, the iPhone is pretty safe. Unfortunately, I think it's major weakness is the AT&T exclusive contract. It's possible that an iPhone killer would be an iPhone clone open to ANY service.

Mac users swear by their computers, PC users swear at their computers. ~Unknown

iSayz
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 3,570
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #3
I agree with everything Talyn said. The only thing I would emphasize is price. Whereas back in the old days Apple products were really expensive across the board, they've now figured out how to reach down to the lower spending tier to keep *everyone* on-board, and earn a profit at the same time. Competitive pricing alone *could* keep history from repeating exactly as it has in the past.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #4
You've got to remember that Wintel's rise was based on Microsoft being able to get away with copying MacOS and Apple dropping the ball at the time.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 345
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
Talyn Wrote:Unfortunately, I think it's major weakness is the AT&T exclusive contract. It's possible that an iPhone killer would be an iPhone clone open to ANY service.

Although the US is the biggest single market, it's worth noting that in the UK and Australia the iPhone is not tied to one carrier. So perhaps that situation will not last forever in the US.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 215
Joined: 2008.06
Post: #6
Zwilnik Wrote:You've got to remember that Wintel's rise was based on Microsoft being able to get away with copying MacOS and Apple dropping the ball at the time.

That's very true. This time, Apple's got their s**t together and have made sure to protect themselves from that kind of incident.

Mac users swear by their computers, PC users swear at their computers. ~Unknown

iSayz
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #7
monteboyd Wrote:Although the US is the biggest single market, it's worth noting that in the UK and Australia the iPhone is not tied to one carrier. So perhaps that situation will not last forever in the US.

It's still O2 only in the UK at the moment (Carphone Warehouse are just a shop, they don't have their own network).
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 114
Joined: 2005.03
Post: #8
I think it's way too early to say that for certain. It looks similar on the outset, but the market is a completely different one. Way more people are into phones now than were into computers back then, the names of both companies refer to established big companies (as opposed to IBM, who sold a lot of the early PCs solely because of their name), etc.

An important question will be how much Apple allows the iPhone to grow as a platform. I don't think you'll ever be able to buy an iPhone or iPod touch for the then-equivalent of, say, $50 ever. Apple doesn't necessarily have to, both OS/2 and Linux tried at various points to gain market share that way and have (so far) failed because Windows compatibility is too important a point. However, Apple will have to build an insane amount of market share if they want to combat that.

I think we'll need to see a few more hardware iterations of iPhone, Android and anyone else who wants to be in this market before a definite statement is possible.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #9
Cochrane Wrote:I don't think you'll ever be able to buy an iPhone or iPod touch for the then-equivalent of, say, $50 ever.

Most of the current iPhone 3G deals let you buy one for $0 (I know, it's tied to a contract, but gadget lovers never see that Wink )
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 114
Joined: 2005.03
Post: #10
Zwilnik Wrote:Most of the current iPhone 3G deals let you buy one for $0 (I know, it's tied to a contract, but gadget lovers never see that Wink )

Wow, how unfair for us, in Germany it starts much higher! At 1€, to be precise. Wink
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 345
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #11
Zwilnik Wrote:It's still O2 only in the UK at the moment (Carphone Warehouse are just a shop, they don't have their own network).

Ahh, must have been getting confused with looking at the options available in Oz.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 469
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #12
My crystal ball isn't so clear on the big picture, but with regards to game dev I'd say that the true multi-touch capability of the iPhone trumps the single-touch of Android. At least, this is how I'm approaching my own entries into this market...

---Kelvin--
15.4" MacBook Pro revA
1.83GHz/2GB/250GB
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 381
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #13
There have been a few articles talking about this... and the developer support for Android is still a big question mark I think. I think especially the lack of consistent hardware features and lack of one centralized store will keep developers away.

One question: How was Apple really patented out someone else doing an effective mobile OS? Are all the touch screen interactions highly buttoned up by Apple?

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #14
There are two major factors against Android for software devs. Firstly, it's an OS on potentially hundreds of different sets of hardware, so dev and support for it will be more of a pain than Windows (same spread of random junk but without the years of dev tool development).

Also 99% of the potential customers will be 'freetards' as the Register calls them, who'll expect everything they get for it to be free because it's open source. So forget about making any money from 3rd party software on it.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 3,570
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #15
Zwilnik Wrote:'freetards'

LOL The Register comes up with some funny stuff sometimes!
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply