(I must admit, I took this MG Siegler set of posts a little bit too seriously. I had sworn off that guy, but since his nonsense was being discussed by others I follow on twitter, I had to peek.)
Second, after Ed Bott brings it up and appropriately schools him on how Windows works within the OEM ecosystem, MG goes out and shoots himself in the foot by arguing (like a kid, nonetheless) that OS X was only updated after it became generally available to the public. Well, that is bad, isn’t it? That would mean Apple let a buggy OS out to the masses and only fixed issues a month or so later.
Oh, and that nonsense about calling Ed an “Apple malware blogger”? Sigh. More childishness.
Wow, time has flown. It feels like only yesterday that I was rocking my Blackberry Curve 8300 (no WiFi) and actually proud of it. I did not buy into the iPhone hype when it was released and stayed out, mostly because my Curve had video recording capability which the iPhone didn’t. Believe me, I took some videos on that thing that I still cherish, bad quality and all.
Instead of doing a normal retrospective I thought I’d pick up random articles written around the time the iPhone launched, and laugh at the ones that mocked the iPhone and predicted its doom, some even before it was released. Hindsight is so beautiful, innit?
Ad Age: Why the iPhone Will Fail
Prediction No. 1: The iPhone will be a major disappointment.
The hype has been enormous. Apple says its iPhone is “literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” A stock-market analyst says, “The iPhone has the potential to be even bigger than the iPod.”
Prediction No. 2: The media will blame the execution, not the concept.
Instead, the iPhone is going to fail because its design is fundamentally flawed.
First, the iPhone ignores the main reasons that the iPod succeeded: simplicity and ease of use.
Second, the iPhone crams too many functions into a single box.
Third, users will detest the touch screen interface due to its lack of tactile feedback.
An iPod with just a cell keypad on the back would have been, may still be, a smash hit product for someone. But the iPhone as currently consituted? Forget it.
Because its designers forgot Platt’s First, Last, and Only Law of User Experience Design (“Know Thy User, for He Is Not Thee”), that product is going to crash in flames. Sell your Apple stock now, while the hype’s still hot. You heard it here first.
The Register: Why the Apple phone will fail, and fail badly
This one is a great read because all the reasons mentioned in the article are exactly what Apple destroyed with the iPhone. Incredibly, a lot of the same type of chatter is heard now for the TV business, except the bad guys in control are the Hollywood mafia and not the carriers. We shall see how that story unfolds later in 2012.
Commsday: THE LONG VIEW: Why the iPhone will fail
But then – and here’s my prediction part – something strange will happen. In a week or two the fuss will fade and people will start to realise an important point: it’s just a phone, and not a particularly “smart” one at that. And then people will start to find flaws in it, because let’s face it, version 1.0 of anything is going to have flaws, particularly something loaded with sensitive radios and electronics like a mobile phone.
And finally, there’s the competition. The likes of Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG won’t be idle bystanders as Apple tries to do to the mobile phone market what it did to MP3 players with the iPod. Building a mobile phone isn’t rocket science – it’s much more complex than that. And the traditional guys have been doing it for the best part of 20 years.
It’s hardware, it’s proprietary, so I really planned on keeping my mouth shut about it. But there is one point I have decided to make, one related directly to this beat, which is the real reason I believe the iPhone will, at best, disappoint in the market.
Open spectrum. We don’t have much, and we are nowhere near getting more.
The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.
First, Apple is late to this party.
Next, the mobile-phone industry depends on cooperation with the big networks.
Lastly, the iPhone is a defensive product. It is mainly designed to protect the iPod, which is coming under attack from mobile manufacturers adding music players to their handsets.
The best one, by John C. Dvorak on MarketWatch: Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone
There is no likelihood that Apple can be successful in a business this competitive. Even in the business where it is a clear pioneer, the personal computer, it had to compete with Microsoft and can only sustain a 5% market share.
What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a “reference design” and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures.
It should do that immediately before it’s too late. Samsung Electronics Ltd. might be a candidate. Otherwise I’d advise you to cover your eyes. You’re not going to like what you’ll see.
(Thanks to Kevin Nunez for reminding me about Dvorak’s classic.)
Finally, a couple of point-by-point mythbuster pieces by Tom Reestman, which in fact were inspiration for this blog post: Red Ferret’s list of “serious problems” with the iPhone touchscreen, and What a shock. Another BS (Baltimore Sun?) list of reasons to avoid the iPhone.
Oh, how the world has changed. “Late to the party” is now Motorola and Nokia. “Carriers control the whole thing” is now flipped over to carriers like TMobile begging to get the iPhone. “Too complex” is now flipped over to the iPhone being the simplest and the most intuitive user interface.
Let’s all use this 5th anniversary of the iPhone to thank Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple who opened this new world up for us, where it’s not just smartphones but mobile, highly-connected devices that help to get work done more efficiently and in more places than ever before.
Hat tip, iPhone.
The Valley Fair Microsoft Store opened last week. I intended to go for the opening, but saw the long lines being reported, and decided not to bother.
So finally, today I went to check the store out. It is almost exactly opposite the Apple Store in Valley Fair, but I didn’t care about that too much. My idea was the check out the Microsoft Store and see if there is anything to like, and then compare the experience to that of being in an Apple Store.
The store is big, and has a lot of open space. The first thing you see from the outside is a bunch of people playing Dance Central on the Kinect. That is clearly the crowd-puller, both to get the people to come in, and also to get people to gather around.
As you enter, you notice the red color like the new Windows Phone theme across the entire store. You also notice video running on the giant screen that wraps the store. It has videos of Windows Phone, Xbox games, PCs, etc. showing in a loop.
Another thing I immediately noticed was the familiar fonts from Windows Phone and elsewhere, identifying the various sections in the store, like Windows Phone, Xbox and accessories, Service, Business, Cloud Services, etc. The middle of the store had a few tables with various laptops. The all-in-one PCs and tower desktops were lined up along the side. Xbox games and accessories were on the back and so was boxed software on the other side at the back.
The Windows ecosystem has a huge benefit in terms of choice it offers customers when it comes to buying a PC. I saw several laptops, from the regular and boring types to ultrabooks/ultralights and large-screen, gaming type of machines. I saw slates running Windows 7 from multiple providers, all-in-one PCs of different sizes and desktop PCs with large monitors set up for gaming and high-end graphics work.
I saw the new Windows Phones (and in fact, witnessed a regular guy buying a Windows Phone!), many custom Xbox consoles including a Stanford themed box and of course the “Service” desk which imitates the Genius bar from Apple Store. I saw a lady who had brought what seemed like at least a 5 year old laptop, trying to get something addressed there.
The very back of the store had a giant (~70 inches easily) screen hooked up to Xbox (I think). Since I went so early (almost at the time of store opening), I didn’t see that area being used.
I settled down at the Samsung slate and was playing with it when Foo (seriously, his name tag said that!) came by, introduced himself and started a casual conversation about tablets, technology, etc. No sales pressure, mostly consulting/advice and product stuff (“yes, all these PCs are upgradeable to Windows 8″). After a few minutes of discussion I went over to see the other PCs. I was actually impressed with the various ultrabooks on display. I liked them a lot and can’t wait for one of my PCs to die so I can replace it with an ultrabook.
The other PCs I liked included an HP laptop with red accents (seemed like a gaming machine?) and the Samsung Series 9 laptop, which I saw for the first time. After seeing those ultrabooks, the Series 9 seemed just-ok.
Finally, the had Windows Phone placed in multiple places and I especially liked the HTC Radar and the Samsung Focus S. The Focus Flash, which looks chunky (to me) in pictures, is actually quite cute. Speaking of the Focus Flash, as I entered the store, I overheard one of those consultants talk to a customer and the thing I heard was the customer saying “what? it’s only $50??”. Later, I saw him buying the phone. I guess the hard cost of the phone is in fact important sales factor, never mind that the cost of the phone with the 2-year contract includes a $15 data plan for 24 months.
Finally, the “Service” area, aka Genius Bar for the Microsoft Store. I did not actually interact with them but while I was waiting for closing out my transaction I saw a lady who had got her old (seemed VERY old) laptop with keyboard, extra battery, power, etc. and was talking to the consultant about the problem. Compared to the Apple Store, these “geniuses” have to understand/handle such a large variety of software and hardware combinations. Wonder what kind of quality of service they provide.
I ended up buying a Nyko Kinect accessory (to reduce the distance requirements in my house) and the 320GB Xbox hard drive.
I typically don’t go to Apple Store, and I don’t see myself going to the Microsoft Store much either. However, I do see that the store becomes a place where Microsoft can show off their consumer-related stuff like Windows Phones, Xbox, Kinect and also a place where they can aggressively sell “pure” PCs with the Signature image. In my limited experience with the Apple Store in the same mall, I felt the Microsoft Store was more cheerful, happier, colorful and generally, more fun.
These things will not be making money for Microsoft anytime soon, but will definitely help in increasing awareness among the non-tech crowd, brand recognition, and hopefully for them, therefore, sales.