Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple is so smart!

Apple is so smart, Steve Jobs is such a visionary. Sure, technology development and market does play important roles in the development and success of iPhone. But I can't appraise enough of Apple and Steve Jobs on their intuition of development of iPhone- what a genius product!

First of all, I own an wife does...well I pay for hers. Anyway, so I can speak from first person on the usage of it. This is not what I want to say in this post. What I'm trying to say is that Apple is so right on what consumers want from their mobile phones. i.e. the relationship of human and mobile phone; how we communicate through and live with our Mobile phone; how mobile phone be part of our digital life.
First of all, what a mobile phone can offer?
Answer: Visual info, audio info, and 2 way communication.
For visual, that includes movie, tv, text, info in web, pictures, podcasts and games.
For audio, that includes music, audio books, and podcasts.
For 2 way communication, that includes upload/download of info on web, interactive games, phone call, video call, etc.

So, most of the services and functions above are more or less covered by iPhone. Certainly, iPhone does better in some areas, but still have plenty of rooms to improve in the others. I don't think iPhone will do outrageous thing, like becoming a bottle-opener or something. Surely, they will continue to improve in other 'peripheral' or 'supporting' hardware that can make the performance better, such as storage capacity, better lens, better battery life, etc. Cos, just the areas above would be enough to get their hand full in coming decade.

In terms of mobile phone development, Apple is so right on about the importance of software. They just know that software makes the phone. Hardware matters, but up to this stage, I doubt hardware will really make or break the success of a mobile phone. Certainly, there are quantum leap in hardware development in past decade or so. From just numeric display to monochrome screen, then to color screen and touchscreen, from just keypad to keyboard, adding a camera, plus blue tooth, etc. All that are nice, unless you want to make the mobile phone into a Swiss army knife. There are not much you can add to a mobile phone continuously in future to produce ''wow' but 'practical' effect. Therefore, after Apple went through years of design which is they are very good at, they kinda finalize what the hardware of a perfect phone should be. Like, the size, the thickness, screen size, buttons location, etc. Yes, they still twit the marginal things like rounding the corners and edges, multicolor, metal or plastic, that kind of minor stuff. But, I believe that 90% of what a perfect mobile should be has already been finalized.

So, what's left? The cream of the cake is software! The make or break factor of mobile. Apple owns and controls its OS platform. Is it bad? They integrate their software and hardware just like they did a quarter century ago in the case of Mac vs IBM. Well, we all know what happened then. However, it is different this time. They are going for market share with speedy improvement of its strategy, and leveraging from their success in iPod. The spread of iTunes to PC users is a breakthrough, and the release of their SDK is another milestone. With the App store, Apple completes its own ecosystem that live and breathe really well. Apple folks are smart, but the SDK+App store catches all the talents in the world to make programs for iPhone, and Apple is make reasonable money (30%) on it. It is just a genius move. Yes, Google and RIM are working on similar stuff, but the problem for them is... Google doesn't dictate the hardware development. Nokia, Samsung, LG, they want to do different things on their hardware, yes, Andriod is what matter inside, but still, for consumers, that still cause confusion among them when it works via the hardware design. Blackberry is nice, but I think iPhone can cover most of their functions. Few more years of development on the corporate users' side. Blackberry may run its course in history....well, just a wild guess. Therefore, with Apple still speeding its development and doesn't even look at how its competitors are catching up, Apple will continue to strive in the mobile market as a trendsetter and benchmark maker. That's my current take of Apple and its cash cow - iPhone.

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