Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Why the iPhone reminds me of a Zune

When I think of how the iPhone was implemented, I immediately think of the Microsoft Zune. Both MS and Apple were new players in well established markets. They both came out with a heavily marketed device with the auspices of revolutionizing said market. They both suffered a serious problem; rather than revolutionizing the industry, they tried to just produce a flashy product that would sell. When was the last time you heard about the Zune? Exactly. Expect the same hype over the iPhone to all but disappear within a month.

The Zune's "revolution" was that it could trade songs between other Zunes via Wifi and it had a scratch-proof casing. Of course, MS completely crippled the Zune's outstanding feature, essentially caving to pressure from the music industry.

Following their footsteps, Apple has crippled every potential feature in the iPhone. But at least it looks fancy.

The Wifi in the iPhone has the ability to connect to the Internet instead of using the provider data service, but whether or not you use the provider's service you still have to pay for it. They force you into an unlimited data plan when you get the iPhone. So, other than the fact that the EDGE network (which you are also forced to use) is potentially slower than a hot Wifi spot, what good does the Wifi do? Nothing. It's a useless feature. Who cares about Wifi when I'm paying for unlimited provider data service anyway?

Signing an exclusive contract with at&t was just a bad move. First, you've alienated a huge business market. This makes the iPhone, which potentially has a lot of business applications, strictly a consumer product. It also means that the majority of your rabid customers will have to wait until their contracts expire before buying the iPhone, unless they are willing to pay $150 and up to severe a contract. If Apple had created a GSM/CDMA phone that could work on just about all American networks, it really would have had something special.

Refusing to subsidize the phone was a huge mistake, because you still have to sign a 2 year contract and pay early termination fees. Why tether yourself to a provider, much less tack on restrictive terms that could turn away potential buyers of your product? Apple is not in the cellphone provider business, they are in the electronic goods business, so why is Apple catering to at&t and crippling its device just to please them (and make more money for at&t in the process with frivolous ETF charges and long term contracts)?

Sorry Apple, the iPod revolutionized the portable music scene. The iPhone is overpriced and crippled. It will be soon forgotten.

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