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Comment on "Do Consumers Want Indie iPhone Apps?"
by Ben — Jan 16
Ah, but see -- I se my phone for a lot more than just listening to music and making calls. I upload photos to Flickr, SSH into servers in an emergency, play (lots of) games, sync my calendar with Google calendar every hour, and more.

Then guess what? You ain't the target market.


Dane (above) says some right-on things. The term "smartphone" is misleading and is increasingly meaningless. iPhone is a smartphone insofar as it does some really key internet stuff with general browsing plus integrated maps, email, etc. Apple wants to hook you into their end-to-end world, which doesn't today include Flickr or Google calendar (but if you are a dedicated iPhoto/photocast user and you keep your iCal up to date, it'll surely work great for you). This might well be a strategic misstep if they force it down everyone's throats for too long. The iPod succeeded precisely because it carves out a crisp vertical in your music life. But people (especially business types working inside existing technologies) come to the smartphone table with more than just a stack of CDs to rip-- they have various calendaring systems, and other needs. Will the iPhone meet their needs? Maybe eventually, probably not at launch.

So who is the iPhone targeting then? Not specifically today's smartphone owners, and I think this is important to think about. The real meaty market is the people who today are using RAZRs and iPods, who are interested in the extended features of network capability, etc, but haven't ever found a phone for it that wasn't super geeky and pretty difficult to understand. They don't bring expectation baggage with them. The place where the puck will be, Apple is betting, is the time in the future when basically all average-and-up phones are internet-enabled, and they want to be the clear brand and technology leader in that space by the time everyone else gets there. The current iPhone is a first shot across the bow-- they're working on acquiring the masses of the future, not converting today's smartphone users who demand the ability to ssh into a server somewhere on a whim.

(Ranting slightly off-topic: the iPhone in its present incarnation is a relatively unimpressive ripoff. It looks cool, the basics work cool, but $500+ is a LOT of money to be asking for what it does, and it is indeed conspicuous in what it cannot do.)
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