first of all, Jamekatt, RIM also designs the software and hardware and have been doing it a lot longer. Also, blackberry is a platform not a point-product like the iphone.
Don't compare a toy like iphone to the blackberry. They cater to completely different markets. BTW, larsonst your company will never issue you a iphone instead of a BB, know why? Because BB uses a NOC and a secure interface to channel data, which is why the CIA uses BB's even though all of the data flows through Canada. Think about that for a second.
Apple makes nice toys but dont be ridiculous!
The whole widget. Steve Jobs himself has repeated this. Whatever market Apple enters, they enter without competition because they build the whole widget. Apple also works to ensure a positive user experience from that widget. Not for altruism, for money.
It may be for good or ill, but it is nonetheless true that if you are the only one doing a thing, no one is competing with you. And Apple is the only one building the end-to-end user experience in every product they build. Hence, they have no competition.
We often mistakenly speak of Apple's competition, but there is none. Until another single company "builds the whole widget" Apple will continue to redefine every market it enters.
With the exception of the iPhone, cell phones suck. There is no comparable product to iTunes; no comparable ecosystem to iTunes/iPod. If other companies don't recognize this pretty soon and get to work competing, Apple will own the world of tech entirely.
I depend on the mobile industry for my livelihood, and I have to say the utter cluelessness illustrated by this "expert" panel makes me fear for my professional future. Steve Jobs laid bare for all to see that the mobile industry is completely out of touch with its customers and embarrassing pnel discussions like this reinforce it. This thread shows that there are at least some people who get what Apple has done with iPhone. No 3G, no HSDPA, no 17 layers of menus to find that java app - heck, not even a visible keyboard! How contrarian is that?
I think the iPhone exploits a fundamental customer dissatisfaction; mobile phones are just too complicated! An elderly Chinese gentleman on the street in San Francisco inadvertently summed up the current situation for me when he said "Too much. No good". Less really is more. After the wow wears off and you have to use the thing day in and day out, usability is what matters (reliability is assumed. . .) Nobody else designing or building phones seems to have figuree this out.
Manufacturers and operators keep cramming in ever more features leading to ever greater confusion for customers. For a lot of people, doing more than making a call or sending a text is just mind boggling. Even high-value customers who are tech-savvy sometimes struggle. I had the experience on one device after making a call that I couldn't find the key to end the call, and I work with lots of different mobile phones every day! That may be great for OpCo ARPU, but its horrible for our customers.
The problem I see is that Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, the whole lot, build phones by engineers FOR engineers! The customer seems completely forgotten in the equation. That, folks, is the Apple secret - they design products for their users with the users in mind. The iPhone, the iTouch, the iPod all work just the way you would expect them to. No hidden folders, no deep unintuitive menus, no de-coder rings required. Things are where you expect to find them. One guy in this thread gave the iTouch example; 3 days and he had it mastered. Could the average Joe or Jane do that with the typical "Smartphone"?
Simplicity spans the entire spectrum, not just the phones. If we want customers to use advanced features and data services, they have to know with certainty, in advance, what its going to cost. No illusions here, Apple doesn't hesitate to make their customers pay dearly for all this ease and panaché, but at least the tariff model is as clear as it is painful to the wallet. And guess what - people do pay! The iPhone model scares the devil out of mobile operators and brings the bit-pipe gobblin ever closer, but customers don't care about that. OpCos need to get past this 25 footnotes in microscopic font in their tariff plans. This makes customers wary and creates a huge barrier to using the advanced services the industry needs them to use.
This a very informed comment and IMHO clearly spells out why Apple is something special. Few seem to understand that the lame and troublesome PC experience is a choice and not the choice. The cost differential is small unless you are a home computer builder and that only works when you give up your time for $5/hr. Who wants to save a few bucks to buy uncomfortable shoes?
I have been a Mac guy for nearly 2 decades and despite working PC 8 hours a day I will never waste my money on one.
This Monday I got the iPod Touch (the no phone iPhone) and by Tuesday I could do everything on it w/o even opening the manual. BTW, I am on my third Blackberry year (company supplied) and it is impossible to do many things without puzzling through the process. 3 YEARS! and it still suks. Forget about using the Internet; Blackberry makes Google search look decorative.
And to your final point, Apple is truly skimming off many of the premium customers. They offer a BMW experience at Buick prices. Really a good value if you like nice things that just work. What a deal.
I have been a Mac guy for nearly 2 decades and despite working PC 8 hours a day I will never waste my money on one. Monday I got the iPod Touch and by Tuesday I could do everything on it w/o opening the manual. OTOH I am on my third Blackberry year (company supplied) and it is impossible to do many things without puzzling through the process. 3 YEARS! and it still suks.
And to your final point, Apple is truly skimming off many of the premium customers. They offer a BMW experience at Buick prices. Really a good value if you like nice things that just work.
The best you can do, I think, is to focus on the niches that Apple isn't covering, and by providing something that a given set of users may want more than a phone with an iPod. Gamin is doing this by marrying their best-of-class GPS technologies with a phone. Nokia created the N93 with strong photo and video elements, hoping to appeal to photographers and others who want or need a camera with them at all times.
I won't bet against the Dude. It's not just six years, it's 30+. In 1976 and 1977 there was a thread of systems designed by Apple (Wozniac/Jobs) and Commodore (Chuck Peddle/Tramiel) where instead of coming up in a job control language as CP/M and later DOS, you came up embedded in a tools environment, initially a basic interpreter from which you could issue OS instructions, but in which you could also write little bits of code in which these were embedded, write short programs to do odd bits, control peripherals, write text and play games, even doodle with graphics manually. You could, of course, achieve the same thing in CP/M (and later DOS), but it was more disjoint.
Additionally, Apple and Commodore had plug and play peripherals from the beginning, on-board drivers and with a consistent way of addressing all peripherals. Both also had a simple graphics environment, apple bit-mapped and commodore using special block graphics that could be deployed from text strings.
When Apple popularised the GUI, Commodore introduced Amiga, Tramiel moved to Atari and produced the ST using GEM, and both copied Apple's Lisa/Mac approach (and int erms of key ideas we could say the Smalltalk approach, except that Apple already had the same philosophy and innovated the approach). They worked in a way that Windows has not replicated to this day. Whereas in a Mac you open into a tools environment, surrounded by your files and applicatons, Windows is still just a desktop you put things on. Like with CP/M this is subtle but very different. The difference between working on a table and working on a table through a glove-box.
The Newton and later the iPod and iPhone simply carried this idea onwards. The only other manufacturer (other than Commodore and Atari) who ever 'got it' was Psion, who designed the framework that became Symbian, but in doing so stripping out the environment trading for a desktop. Early XWindows did successfully copy this idea in early desktop managers, but it has evolved in Linux to emulate the Windows approach.
Until people who create complex devices realise it is not a collection of functions but an environment for making these work together, they are not going to improve very much.
I second that. In addition, the competition always looks at the ipod or iphone and breaks it down into parts. Then they assume they can boost the specs on features at a lower price and have a winner. Apple surpasses the competition based on the sum of its parts, which in turn is a large part of the experience. Add a really well thought out yet simple human interface and you have something that everyone can get into. My father-in-law and parents, all technophobes, now text me and keep digital schedules because the technology in the iphone is accessible. Apple also knows how to throw features away. Don't give the user too many options because in the end it is less productive. Too many options and a user will play with settings all day rather than get work done.
This story is really sad. The iPhone is in this sense an open book.
The iPod is not an portable media player, like its competition. It is a total portable media experience, coupled with iTunes. After 6+ years, the competition has not figured this out.
The iPhone is not a cell phone or MP3 player, like it's competition. It is a total portable media & communications experience, coupled with iTunes and a commodity communications provider (AT&T). As this article clearly demonstrates, the competition has not figured this out.
This year we will see a dozen iPhone clones. They will have brighter or bigger screens, or more memory, or more features, or more technobable in another category. They will not replicate any substantial portion of hte iPhone total experience, so the iPhone will increase its market share in the face of this clueless competition. Does anyone care to bet against me on this?