Commentary by: David Vinjamuri
Steve Jobs introduced the long-anticipated Apple iPhone today to great acclaim (and a significant rise in Apple share price). You can read the play-by-play on Engadget. Jobs teased the intro by telling the audience that Apple was introducing three significant devices: a new iPod, an Apple Phone and an Internet device. The big revelation was that the three devices were actually one – the Apple iPhone.
Over the next few weeks you will read a lot of justified praise of the Apple iPhone. Most of it will focus on how it appears to out-Treo the Treo, offering full computing features in a smaller, slicker package. And there is no doubt that the organizer capabilities, e-mail and iPod (4 or 8gb) attributes justify the $499 to $699 price of the phone and represent a major step forward for the phone industry.
But we think the most important feature of that little phone might be the third part – the Internet connectivity. For the first time we’ve seen on a mobile device, web pages can be pulled down crisply and usably on the real Internet instead of a scaled-down version.
Back in 2000, we kept hearing tales of convergence, but the supposed devices that were going to bring it all together (Internet, telecommunications, video) failed to execute well. Apple under Steve Jobs has become the master of fulfilling unrealized consumer promises. iPhone finally may create the convergence that the industry has so long sought.
Two other news items from today’s MacWorld keynote address support this thought. First, Apple also introduced the apple TV device, which brings movies and video from the computer to the television. Secondly, Apple Computer changed its name to Apple, Inc.
Even five years ago the thought that a computer company with less than 10% market share would introduce the hottest mobile phone of the year would have been laughable. Now it seems almost a certainty.
It will take marketers some time to realize the implications, but it seems that the mobile Internet may become a reality for the mainstream consumer sooner than we thought.