Thursday, June 12, 2008

Whats Beyond The Sexy iPhone 3G

The iPhone 3G looks great, and the pleasingly low price means that a whole new generation of Apple lovers are about to be borned. But what are the features left out of the brand new device? The most obvious omission from the new device is a decent camera – surprising considering that a better camera was named as one of the most wanted features in the new device pre-announcement. 2MP is simply no where near competitive in today’s mobile landscape. Rivals such as Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson all favor 5MP cameras in their newer devices, and even their mid-range offerings rarely venture lower than 3.2MP. iPhone 3G's 2MP snapper is a real surprise, and most likely the first feature that will be overhauled with the next model.

There’s also the lack of a front-facing camera to consider. Admittedly, 3G is more often used for high-speed data access than video calling, but seeing as the iPhone is 3G enabled, it could be seen as an odd omission.

However, could it be that Apple is saving such a feature for the next release? On top of these things, Apple has yet to confirm other basic features for the new model such as copy and paste, MMS messaging and, most importantly, video recording.

With all the omission, where is the innovation? What is Apple trying to achieve with the iPhone 3G? Whats beyond the sexy iPhone? Is it just a great looking device with mediocre features? Whats the magic of iPhone?

From what i can see, its not the device but the platform. The newly launched 3G Apple iPhone is an indication that applications will be key in the battle for Smartphone market share. Apple’s recent announcement to offer a hosted webmail, calendar, address book combined with push Email and synchronization capabilities is a sign that increasingly, device manufacturers and network operators are becoming service providers. Nokia, which dominates the Smartphone market, is executing a similar strategy with the OVI portal. HP has just bought EDS for a large number of billions to be a service’s company.

What Apple was announcing to a developer conference is something that Microsoft hasn’t begun to do with Windows Mobile and Nokia is trying to do with Ovi. Not only Apple has a proven distribution and payment platform - iTunes, providing developers an avenue to create and distribute their innovations for a fee, Apple has also developed a functional mobile device - iPhone, providing end to end monetization potentials to the developers.

Most people like to buy their products and services from a proven and trusted brand and Apple has successfully created one - iTunes. It is a platform that gives the full experience of the open network. Apple knows hows to monetize and more importantly creating programs to help others to monetize their creations and to top it up, Apple does it with style.

MobileMe, iTunes for professional content, the software store, the iPhone 3G. This is not just a sexy mobile device, its a money making platform. Its a long term strategic version for Apple and only through building such ecosystem will any aspiring "service providers" see lights at the end of the tunnel.

What Apple has created with the platform and iPhone is a proof that there is life beyond the device. They have changed the whole mobile landscape with the revolutionary iPhone. I must admit that there are better devices out there in terms of features when you compare it with the iPhone. But iPhone has certainly raised the level of User Experience and accessibility. Every single device manufacturer out there acknowledged the new level that iPhone has set and all had rushed back into the R&D center to relook into whats missing on their development.

It has been for a while since we last had any excitements from any device manufacturers. It’s all just tweaks and simple add-ons, a megapixel here, a xenon flash there, its either a candy bar/clamshell/slider, an extra half inch on the screen and not forgetting a touch screen. I m glad iPhone came to overhaul and rejuvenate the whole mobile industry.

When was the last time any device manufacturers had the same kind of fanfare during the launch of a product? Not only did they get a standing ovation, Operators were going down on their knees to ink the iPhone deal and Apple actually pocketed a cool $384 million from their last full financial year from Operators payment!

Of course one single device wont be able to take the market, I expect Apple to be coming out with a range of phones in the nearest future to reposition for different market segment just like how Apple has successfully created the iPod's range. The current market price for iPhone is still very niche.

Apple may have lost their slice of the monthly network revenue but their willingness to listen to the market and tuning in to what works best for them, the road ahead is going to work in their favor.

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