things to consider
regardless of the fact that the iPhone is the fastest selling phone in AT&Ts history -as you point out it might all be that hype that only the media can whip up, same hype that has been selling the iPod for the last 6 years which doesn't show any signs of slowing down....
ok let's start this over.
consider the facts:
- The Apple design department is arguably the best in the world, in any industry.
- Phones are status symbols so looks are extremely important
Those two facts would tell you that Apple is in the mobile phone market to stay. To rule.
then there are other facts:
- Apple has a real operating system which beats the pants off of symbian or win mobile, which can do things the others can only dream about
- Apple has the imagination to invent new things that people actually want
- Apple has proven that they can make a working phone. Entering a new market is a huge risk and a huge effort, but it's already behind them. They will only get better after that.
Yes, the other manufacturers are running around like headless chickens. Because they should. But I believe they have the problem that they have nothing to compete with OS X. Symbian just doesn't cut it - they will have to develop something entirely new, either improve Symbian like crazy, or get Microsoft to make a Vista Mobile edition (thereby selling their soul to MS).
Frankly, given the ineptitude these companies have handled software in the past, I think their best bet is a radical improvement of Windows mobile - and you know you are in trouble if Microsoft is your last hope.
I see only one flaw in Apple's mobile business - being too greedy and wanting a cut of the operator's income. It worked with AT&T but that's because AT&T really needs the iPhone, it won't work with (many) others, and it has the potential to severely hamper Apple. If I had to bet, I'd say Apple will adapt and get over this though.