Why Feature Lists Can be Deceptive
You know what the saddest thing is? There is ultimately precious little new with the iPhone save "convergence". Many of its "innovations" are purely interface/GUI driven. The worst part of it, is that people have been working very hard to arrive where Apple has now landed years in advance of them, and if Apple is successful, they simply WILL NOT GET CREDIT for it. People are quick to point out how nice Opera mobile is, yet I can see no demo that looks and functions as nicely as Safari does, and yet the advanced technology is there. Widgets were introduced years ago, and just last year mobile widgets were announced. It's just poorly presented, or held back by a carrier's warped sense of "accessorizing" and "product variation".
Excellent Bluetooth savvy functions and multimedia features have been cropping up, yet they've been hit or miss. Some commenter earlier said the most utterly brain-dead thing about why Apple will fail. They said: "Fourthly, successful phone companies don't do well just concentrating on just one or two models. Symbian is the most successful type of smartphone, and they've sold over 100 million units, but that's spread over about 60 different models that look and work in radically different ways."
I'll repeat that... "about 60 different models that look and work in in radically different ways". Limited product line, in fact, has been Apple's biggest strength in the consumer electronics market.
This is EXACTLY why iPhone will make its numbers. At the end of the day, despite all the attempts to keep producing phones that sell, the cellphone market has mostly come out with an annoying undulating tapestry of inconsistency that has fomented a very palpable hatred from customers. Customers purchase them, not out of a sense of clear desire, but usually out of confusion and a hazy conviction that the phone they're purchasing will do right by them. I've personally "upgraded" my phone after boldy reading everything I could and fiddling with the device in the store... yet, taking for granted certain features would be present, only to find that these features are being SOLD back to me, feature by feature... or not available at all alongside the new capabilities of the hardware. ALSO, let's not forget that Stan Sigman, previous CEO of Cingular, did note that Apple already has new iPhones in queue that take things up a notch (although he said this somewhat defensively, and I could almost imagine the black ninja moving in the shadows to take him out).
I'll be trying out a Blackberry Curve, an iPhone, and purhaps a Motorola Q in the next month. I'm perfectly happy with my iTunes ecosystem and existing iPod accessories however, so the gravitational pull towards iPhone doesn't really seem possible to resist. I just want less complexity and solid useable features that only get added to in the future. Is that too much to ask?
Will Apple have trouble with other networks? Perhaps. I'm sure there is a roadmap, and 2008 will show whether Apple has the versatility to garner a similar percentage of the cellphone market, as they have the personal computer market.
I'm still a little angry that most phone manufacturers have done NOTHING to demonstrate use cases for their multitude of phones (which might be the reason), and how well they do in performing day-to-day tasks and advertised features. From the demos I've seen by third parties, it seems that these things are usually NOT done for good reason. Eeriely, Apple will be one of, if not THE only phones, customers will be able to fully test the features of in every store that sells it.