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back to article Apple's AppStore closes in on $500m in software sales

Apple is as usual dazzling the market with stunning headline figures that frequently overshadow underlying problems and dissatisfaction with its iconic iPhone and associated services. As bullish analysts say the device is set to sell almost 4.5 million units this quarter on the back of aggressive international expansion, CEO …

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Anonymous Coward

Congratulations to Apple

Once again, Apple's superior technology leaves the competitors in the dust.

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Jobs Horns

Bollocks

Superior technology my arse.

I got tired of waiting for Vodafone to get the iPhone, so bought a N82, best decision i've ever made, a wonderful piece of technology. Even has better sound quality than the iPhone/touch, and who needs a touch screen when its in your pocket on the tube. Staggeringly brilliant camera, open software galore from getjar.com, and an all round better phone.

Also contains a DLNA server(direct browsing with my PS3!), and Nokia Phone Suite contains a home media server for remote access to my files/photos/videos.

How the hell can Apple do a patent for something that already is in use!?

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Apple vs. Nokia developer support

What the author of this analysis seems to forget, is the fact that developers are EAGER to develop software for the iPhone, even to the extent that they're willing to pay money for the "right" to develop software.

Nokia, on the other hand, has to pay/bribe developers into developing software for they S60 platform. Symbian isn't sexy.

Oh, by the way. How many people know about - or have ever used - Nokia Software Market? You know, the place where you can buy software for your Nokia phone? Seems nobody knows about that service, even though it's been available for a lot of years and applicable for more than a billion phones...

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Joe K - the only Bollocks is what you are typing

Do you really expect to be taken seriously Joe?

You start by saying "I got tired of waiting for Vodafone to get the iPhone, so bought a N82"

After that, anything you say becomes irrelevant.

What you actually said was: "I was too impatient to wait for my first choice phone (the iphone) and brought a poorer substitute instead"

If you had considered the N82 the better choice in the first place, you wouldn't have been waiting for the iphone.

Now it sounds as if you are desperate to justify to yourself that it was the right decision.

"an all round better phone" you say. How the hell would you know if you were too impatient to wait for the iphone and therefore have not used one for any length of time?

Sheesh.

People call Apple users sheep, but it appears that there are plenty of sheep right here.

The Register prints yet another anti Apple / anti iPhone article and the flood of sheep come to the comments section, talking about products they have so obviously never used.

It's actually amusing to read to seething insecurity of some comments here. Some people here sound like they lose sleep, worrying about the fallibility of their computers / OS / phone.

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Alert

Bad headline

The headline implies the AppStore is approaching sales of $500m *now*, when the reality is that at the current rate that will take 18 months. Which is a bit different!

The sales aren't bad but they're not exactly stunning - a dollar a day from the installed users isn't really that much. Especially as I doubt this rate is going to be sustained.

This isn't like music retail where people buy libraries of stuff, and lots of new material arrives all the time that people want. With applications I would suspect there's an initial spike and then people have everything they need - after all, how many types of applications can you think of that you'd want? And how many of those do you want on a phone? And how many of those need to be separate apps? And how many could be implemented via the browser instead of as actual 'applications'?

I'm sure a few apps will become must haves and every iPhone buyer will have them, but the user base isn't (and will never be) big enough to make really serious money.

I'm sure some people will make money from this, but I'm still waiting to be convinced that the iPod/iTunes model will work in this arena; both parts of the product are very different.

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Congrats

My goodness. An even handed and thoughtful article about the iPhone on el Reg. Not that the pro and anti fan bois won't find some way to continue the flame war.

An interesting thing about the iPhone (and indeed part of Job's general vision for Apple) in contrast with the other vendors. When one says iPhone we are referring to one product. When we refer to the iPhone's competition we talk of Nokia, HTC, etc. etc. Companies, not individual products. And when the iPhone (just like the iPod) moves from model to model, it remains an iPhone. And Apple upgraded the OS on the version one iPhone. This underlies a fundamental difference between the iPhone and other phones. The iPhone is first and foremost an operating system and software eco-system. The hardware is secondary. The eco-system is built around the software, not the hardware. The hardware simply has to be good enough. Something Apple have understood for a very long time. This is a lesson the other phone vendors have yet to learn. However, the article very neatly defines the lessons Apple must learn from the phone business.

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Anonymous Coward

There is a factual error in the article

Btw Box office is back on the store, but under a different name, suggesting it was a copyright issue and not a 'censorship' one.

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Still not sold

The OS looks good - but - the camera is rubbish, the security is rubbish, the major iPhone & iPod touch problems highlighted on Mac sites, the built in software blacklist and the need to send off the phone to change the battery make it a real non-starter for me.

A nice shiny toy.

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Anonymous Coward

It's the software, stupid

@ Francis Vaughan

Very good comment - the success of the iPhone is not the hardware (outside of the fantastic touch interface, that is) and is most definitely about the software. The hardware is secondary and it is this that the critics don't get, just like they don't get it about Macs.

To the other poster saying that the software market probably isn't sustainable... you are very wrong. It is pretty much guaranteed that the majority of the pay for sales are for games, and the ones available have barely scratched the surface of what is possible. Also, there is still plenty of productivity software that could be developed which isn't yet available.

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In front of every silver lining...

...there's a cloud. I love these optimistic, not-at-all-snide and inaccurate Faultline stories. I'll be satisfied at merely one example of the lazy/deliberately misleading reporting: the apps which were pulled. NetShare was specifically against AT&T's terms for internet usage on the phone, I Am Rich was crudware, and Box Office is back on the store after having problems fixed (in the US, anyway; I believe it's called "Now Playing" these days).

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This post has been deleted by its author

iPhone in Philippines

Globe Telecom is launching the iPhone in the Philippines on August 21, 9 pm.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Newt Bridges

The reason developers are eager to produce for the iphone, is because it is a very well publicised, gimmicky, flavour of the month device.

Where else are you going to find that many suckers willing to wait outside a store for 2 days just to get the hardware. Gullible and well off suckers are the right market to aim at if you want to make lots of money.

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@ Alan

And here we go with the name calling again.

What's the matter? Are you getting phone envy cause your Nokia / Motorola / Other hideous interface device is being threatened.

Funny how when I had a Nokia and Motorola phones, nobody called me a sucker, but now that I have an iPhone, suddenly I am judged harshly.

Amazing as it may seem to some reg readers, I do actually prefer my iphone to any other phone that I've used.

Like ALL phones, it has its annoyances, but for me, far fewer than any previous phone that I've possessed (and I've had a few).

Once again the jealousy / paranoia from the Apple haters is laughable.

If the iphone and Apple are that bad, why do you feel the need to attack all the time?

Surely it is just us "suckers" who are affected? How can that effect you, to the degree that you have to sink to immature name calling.

I suspect that name-calling is all you have to offer in absence of a reasonable, well thought-out argument.

And lastly Alan, regarding the comment "because it is a very well publicised, gimmicky, flavour of the month device"

Over here in Australia, leading up to the launch, the iPhone got virtually NO publicity. No TV ads from any of the carriers, no newspapers ads, no in store promotion.

Seriously, the day before the launch, none of the local phone stores had anything to indicate there was going to be iphones in-store the next day.

But despite absolutely zero hype, what happened? - Sell out, and still now with most stores a waiting list to get one.

So, flavour of the month, yes. Well publicised - didn't need to be.

In my experience with the iphone, people see it in action and want one (by your reasoning, I must only know suckers).

I've never had any other phone get that sort of reaction.

Of course these are normal people, not tech-heads or phone geeks.

They see a nice looking phone, that has many functions that are actually easy to find and use.

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Anonymous Coward

@Alan

Once again, the critics miss the point.

When was the last time you saw anyone queueing outside a store for a non-Apple phone?

'Oh great, the new Nokia P45 is here, I must go and...zzzzzz'

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Gates Horns

@Alan

The reason developers are eager to produce bloat-ware and crap games for Wintels, is because there is a very common, well publicised, cheap and ordinary, device.

Where else are you going to find that many yoofs willing to wade looking inside a store for 2 hours just to get the latest game and software. Gullible and well off suckers are the right market to aim at if you want to make lots of money.

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openess overdone

i think you exaggerate the extent that users will not buy into the iphone because apple can restrict the application choice.

Most people just want applications that work and as long and reasonable choice. The choice just needs to be good enough.

If people really wanted an 'open' platform then there would have been an explosion in linux on the desktop!!

parv

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bullish analysts have it wrong . . .

Apple will sell 7-9 million iPhones this quarter, not 4.5 million. Next quarter could be a million a week, versus Nokia's million a day. But guess who will be generating more cash from their phone sales.

The app store's big contributions are the ease of use by anyone at all, and the creation of a rewarding business model for any developer with a decent app - no other skills or investments required.

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i am ignorant, so i iPhone

the issue is ease of use, hence, the iPhone. i am a user and i have no desire to learn how to use the cell phone.

cell phones have all these features that i never use (or quickly forget how i got there in the first place).

the iPhone is easy with a limited amount of layers to get to.....if i am called a "sucker," fine, i am a sucker and proud of it.

in fact, in my house, the VCR and microwave always flashed "12:00 a.m." because i could never figure out how to reset it....again i am a user with no desire to learn irrelevent keystokes. i am not stupid, it is dorky software that is stupid. created programmers who don't under how ordinary users think. i am now in my mid-fifties in age.

i still remember my first computer (mid-ninteeneigthys)...happily unboxing it and turning to the manual's first sentence which read, "to bootup." i was dead-meat and had to call a friend who said quietly that it means to "turn on"...even the language was above me. so call me sucker, if you like. i am Arpadi, USA.

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Jobs Horns

Suckers born every minute

And Jobs has found a way to appeal to them...

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GF
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More Revenue for Apple and AT&T (in U.S.)

"But new versions of iTunes and the iPhone software propose to eliminate the problem by synchronizing only the metadata, not the content itself, from iTunes to the device."

In the U.S., this means AT&T will have a larger bill to charge to their iPhone 3G customers since they will need more airtime to play music they already purchased. I can imagine if you paid for a particular music and you played it 30 times (and it is not stored in full in the iPhone), you will instead have to be pay the same airtime 30 times.

If anyone interprets this differently, let me know...

BTW, middle and high school students are purchasing iPhones as status symbols. Why? May be they have no self esteem so they need iPhones to show how "cool" they are? Their parents have lots of disposable income to pay for the iPhone bills? Apple marketing at their finest.

allen arpadi, you would be the person that pharmers and phishers would love to have in their iPhone calling list. It is great to think the iPhone is like a refrigerator ... turn it on and forget about it. However, IMHO the iPhone "features" are very new and is really a portable computer with maturing security. PCs and Macs have protection hardware and software (antivirus, firewalls, etc) available, but on the iPhone, you are dependent on the telco and your iPhone software to provide a certain level of security. If PCs and Macs can get hacked, so can iPhones. I'll wait a couple of more generations before considering purchasing an iPhone.

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Joke

So stupid question but. . .

How many of these Assclowns, erm, Apple Fanbois have the "I am Rich" app? Seems like that should have brought in atleast half of the 360 million :)

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BoxOffice

Wasn't BoxOffice removed because it was crashing iPhones? Regardless, it's now back at the Apps Store renamed as Now Playing.

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cheapness

I am too poor/cheap to use the data apps on the many phones i have had, so i am happy that hordes of less price-sensitive folks are buying iphones as I imagine that this will push the price of mobile data down enough for me to use it. I may well be wrong.

Is the iphone's ui heavily patented? You would think that if it is the software that is so all-fired important to people, it would quickly be ripped off.

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Happy

Comments.

This just never ends.

The only thing I know is this - I'm pretty tech-savvy and I have never bought a phone application in my life... I couldn't even tell you where to start. Do you get them texted to you or can you just go to some website? I have no idea.

But the iPhone... :)

iPhone is a platform. I think Apple sees it as "a new Mac", but a Mac for the 21st century. Pocketable, connected and easy to use. Oh, and fun as well - there's no harm in "shiny toys". ;)

And as for there being a limited market for software - what a dolt. If that's so, what have Adobe being selling the last 20 years?

Lighten-up people.

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Gold badge

For a bit of balance..

I have been using mobile phones since the Motorola "brick", and was one of the first people in London to have a NEC P3 (yes, I'm that old :-). Presently I have two Motorola V3i (nice pocket form factor), a Sony Ericsson P1i (which also has Tomtom nav software installed) and a 3G iPhone (not my choice, it's a company phone). The Motorola's only ever come out if I need to travel far, mostly I use the P1i as I found the iPhone an iPain in the neck to use after the initial excitement about the gloss had worn off and I actually had to USE it.

For:

- a switch to make it silent. Briliant for meetings.

- adding 3rd party to call - one button!

- grouping SMS conversations - but it's also irritating

- looks - nice display, decent form factor, black's quite OK

- iPod inside. 'nuf said - and videos work very well on it too.

Against

- all have to pass "Start" - bleagh

- not really multitasking, thus sloooooow app switching

- SMS length or delivery feedback? Easy to overspend, oh , sorry, they get a cut of that

- app store. It sucks as the sole route. Easy for plebs, irritating for anyone else. Stalin may have liked it.

- apps - limited range, not open platform (Symbian now is, hurray).

- is "location" really a choice? Maybe it goes all the way back to Apple? Don't know - would like to know.

- PIM sucks. Not design, just switching in and out is a royal pain to the point of not being usable in Real Life

- the camera and software sucks seven ways to Sunday. It's been a while I had such a bad camera in a phone.

- can't use songs as ringtones. Pathetic lock in, which really was the last straw for me.

- no Bluetooth file transfer

- app authors appear to like putting suggestions in the box where you need to type - so you have to erase all that

- no cut & paste...

I have gone back to the P1i. It has a sensible keyboard, a decent OS, OK apps to go with it (that also sync with my PC desktop) and is in general quicker. It has a rather acceptable camera (which also doubles as the input for the business card OCR scanner app that comes with it) and is capable enough to combine PIM with phone - provided you use a headset. It's not perfect, but it WORKS, and does so reasonably fast.

I have the iPhone because the work we do uses web graphics, and an iPhone is easier to carry than a laptop. But it can't beat the Sony IMHO, so I suspect people espousing other iPhone-alternatives probably have a point too. It's OK for the average person, but as a working tool it needs a lot of improvement. But hey, it's an Apple iPhone 3G beta, no?

:-)

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tim
Paris Hilton

C'mon Reg...

...stop using the term 'Kill Switch', you're starting to sound like an hysterical Fox`News report.

Next thing, you'll be denying global warming.

Oh...erm, right.

(Paris, because she relies on lazy, bullsh*t headline scribbling journalists to get attention too.)

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IT Angle

Once you've had Mac, there's no going back.

The exquisite font rendering at all sizes on the iPhone is a reason enough on it's own to prefer it.

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Boffin

c+p fundamentally incompatible with the iphone interface

Cut-and-paste is more than just a software issue - it would complicate the interface hugely. You suddenly have a concept of a selected region, and need a selection mechanism, and I can't think of a sensible selection mechanism using the touch-screen; given the absence of c+p, I assume that neither could Steve Jobs and his merry men.

I've only found the lack of c+p irritating in combination with the trivial problem that touching a phone number only lets you call it, rather than texting it or adding it to a contacts list; that one I would expect to see fixed in a patch release.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Tom Womack

"I can't think of a sensible selection mechanism using the touch-screen; given the absence of c+p, I assume that neither could Steve Jobs and his merry men."

You assume wrong. Some of Jobs' merry men had already implemented this before, in the Newton: start tap, tap-drag, end-tap, done. Worked perfectly.

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@Peter

"can't use songs as ringtones. Pathetic lock in, which really was the last straw for me."

Sure you can. Ok so there are a few hoops to jump through to get them in the right format, but there are plenty of guides on the net and it's pretty easy once you know how. There are also some free online services that will do it for you.

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@ Gary F

"Funny how when I had a Nokia and Motorola phones, nobody called me a sucker, but now that I have an iPhone, suddenly I am judged harshly."

"If the iphone and Apple are that bad, why do you feel the need to attack all the time?"

What the hell is wrong with you? Are you actively trying to prove that only pillocks bought the iPhone? You can't say it's strange that you're "judged harshly" for getting an iPhone when the guy you're responding to is talking about it being a crap phone. That's not strange - that is exactly what one would expect to happen. Same goes for your retarded "why attack it for being bad?" question. It answers itself.

"I suspect that name-calling is all you have to offer in absence of a reasonable, well thought-out argument."

What, you mean like this one?

"What's the matter? Are you getting phone envy cause your Nokia / Motorola / Other hideous interface device is being threatened."

However, my personal favourite has to be this little nugget of irony.

"The Register prints yet another anti Apple / anti iPhone article and the flood of sheep come to the comments section, talking about products they have so obviously never used.

It's actually amusing to read to seething insecurity of some comments here. Some people here sound like they lose sleep, worrying about the fallibility of their computers / OS / phone."

As opposed to losing sleep over someone elses failure to fully appreciate your new toy?

For the record, it's generally accepted that the kid who goes around pointing out other people's immaturity tends to be the least mature of the bunch. As C.S. Lewis said...

"When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

And yes, I do know what I just did.

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One hand clapping

It's one-sided as far as regionalisation of the App Store goes - not only is the UK store flooded with hundreds of apps virtually unuseable outside of the good US of A but any item which offends the US market/partners is immediately pulled from the UK store regardless of whether it breaks rules here. The prime example of this is the Nullriver applet you mentioned - it may break the Ts&Cs of the AT&T US but there's not reason to assume it automatically breaks agreements elsewhere in the iPhone world yet once our friends Stateside complained it dropped off all the other app stores too.

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Windows Mobile 6 ...

is virtually unusable!

I decided against an iPhone for now because of the carrier lockin and the fact I can get much better and much cheaper 3G access using a Three 3G modem ... however I wanted to try out the iPhone UI and would like to develop some apps for it ... so I bought a 16Gig iPod Touch and Samsung SGH-i600 "smartphone" separately on ebay (for a total of £223) and have attempted to link them up using "WMWifiRouter" software to give a wifi to 3G bridge. In this way I have a cheap iPhone-like solution ... the ONLY downside to this has been the Windows Mobile 6 software ... yuck and spit ... when it works it is passable but it crashes so badly then the phone gets rebooted a couple of times a day to fix the various hangs it gets.

The connection to Three is excellent and I only pay £5/month for 1Gb and no matter how much I use it never get even close to running over this amount!

The iPod Touch with the 2.0(.1) software is a dream to use and gives me great Internet access and the choice of free software is not bad either. I have downloaded the SDK and have some ideas for toys and utilities and will probably also give them away, although the idea of thousands of 99p purchases is also attractive 8-)

Apple are on to a winner with this eco-system and it just shows how they can execute a software experience and delivery so well (okay so MobileMe needs a lot of work but I don't need that 8-)

When the iPhone cost comes down to a reasonable non-business level and I can plug my Three SIM in then I'll upgrade to one! (and the Samsung goes back on eBay 8-)

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Unhappy

another popular program removed..

the popular tech demo "Phone Saber" that uses the built in sensors to make Star Wars lightsaber noises when the phone is waved about. It was free too.

Gone, and the only records of it's existence are on tech blogs.

Also, i'm going to use Jobs' justification quote about control for lots of stuff. I wonder if they're gonna "erase" that quote soon.

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Flame

my work is deploying these

it's a great toy. But do i need multi-axis tilt sensors and Youtube playback for work? No. For a work device, the ugly Treo series does the job perfectly. (even windoze mobile works reasonably well for enterprise use.

But as a multimedia platform, it's fun. except for one glaring flaw-where's the stereo bluetooth?!

See, as an entertainment device, 3G problems aren't critical. Nor is the fact that most of the App Store apps are games. Not work, or enterprise productivity solutions. Toys and games. As long as we can play, the reliability issues and Apple holding the deadman switch are irrelevant.

Hell, I even forget it's a phone most of the time.

Which makes me wonder, why the Touch PDA/game system doesn't sell better...then I realize, it's OPM. Other People's Money. Try to justify it as an "enterprise" device and someone else pays for it. Hard to get 'em to pay for one without the phone (and therefore, remote kill capability) so that device doesn't sell as much. I'd never justify paying for one of these personally...

...goes back to cleaning the fingerprints off the screen....Preciousssss.....ahem!

(gimme my AD2P!)

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Go

"Kill Switch"

Oh, the fear!

To date, Apple has removed 4 apps from the store (how could you forget the superb battery-killer that is Aurora Feint?) and let two back in. The two it's not let back in are still happily running on users' phones.

So, Apple have removed apps, including one that breaks T&Cs and *still* hasn't remotely deactivated anything.

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@another popular program removed..

Umm, nothing to do with Apple ... more to do with Lucas Arts ...

http://themacbox.co.uk/2008/08/phonesabers-future/

It still exists on my iPod Touch, so no "kill switch" either.

Still, don't let facts get ... and all that.

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Silver badge

@Francis Vaughan, @It's the software, Stupid

Very good comments on this, as it is *almost* true that most non-iPhone phones are, well, lacking a presence. But:

"When we refer to the iPhone's competition we talk of Nokia, HTC, etc. etc. Companies, not individual products. And when the iPhone (just like the iPod) moves from model to model, it remains an iPhone."

So does a BlackBerry. If anything, the BlackBerry fits quite well into the description of being "an OS that uses the hardware" instead of the other way round. And unlike the iPhone, its platform is pretty much open for anything except the "restricted" libs, and even then, you only need to get RIM to sign your code. But no stupid restrictions like being unable to run apps in the background there.

Anyway, the iPhone is more of a "showPhone", it's a fun gadget for everyday users, but not really a business thing. I personally prefer the BlackBerry for useablility, though I admit that I feel envy to the creators of the "I Am Rich" app!

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It's the interface, Stupid

A most important point is being overlooked in this examination of the iPhone and how it compares to other phones. In my opinion, the most important aspect of this phone in the long term is the usability of its interface. I think the iPhone's interface soundly trumps the competition to the point where I'm not convinced they can keep up with Apple's rate of innovation.

While the iPhone may not be as technically capable when comparing certain specs on other phones, the interface makes it easy for me to use the features so much so that I'm less concerned with technical specs for now. The iPhone is the most useable cell phone ever created and that isn't changing in the near future based on upcoming competing products I'm reading about.

Don't forget how fast the iPhone development as a whole has gone. Apple is releasing major Mac OS X updates every 18 months or so and has gone from a revolutionary begining iPhone 1.x to a an extremely powerful mobile computer in v.2 The competition simply isn't moving this fast.

Apple has leapfrogged the other players because of the intellectual property and experience that comes with years of R&D stretching back to the Newton days. I think they have blindsided every phone manufacturer who are now struggling like gazelles running from a cheetah.

I think people need to start thinking of the iPhone in terms of actually being the most popular phone in the world.

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