I’ve seen several comments and posts recently suggesting that iPhone is just another boring story.
I believe an historic day passed us by last week. Sure, Apple opening up the iPhone App Store received some press, but I haven’t yet read anything that really “gets” the significance of this event. There’s all kinds of moaning and groaning about the quality of apps, the price etc. and while there may be truth to these gripes, the fact most people are missing is that, unless Apple screws it up in some big way, the world changed last week.
I consider it as potentially significant as the effect the introduction of WWW and Mosaic had on the Internet. Last week, Apple changed everything about the mobile phone ecosystem and I don’t think very many people noticed – yet. That world will never be the same, just like the Internet was never the same after HTTP.
The other players, whether device makers or carriers, are not even on the same planet – it seems like they aren’t even aware of the situation. They aren’t even asking the right question, to say nothing of having the right answer. There are hundreds of millions of mobile phones with Java on them – and nobody knows it. Most people have no idea how to buy anything for their phone beyond ringtones (if they even know how to do that). Their phones probably have the capability to run apps – but there is no place to get them. Well, or say in the case of Symbian phones, there are too many places to get them.
Apple is changing all that with the iPhone store. And gripe all you want about the warts of the current apps or the prices or whatever, all that mises the point. Ordinary people now know how to obtain apps (free or otherwise), how to install them – perhaps more significantly, the entire idea of adding apps to a phone is now “normal” – it’s now part of the collective consciousness.
And developers have a place to put them, not “yet another place”, but the place, the one and only place. I always said iPhone was about iTunes from the start.
Of course this is about distribution and execution – Apple has the right capabilities to create this “perfect storm”. Unlike carriers, Apple knows how to build and manage software and services (can you say iTunes?). Unlike other device makers, Apple has their own distribution and marketing – they don’t need to rely on the carriers to market their device.
The future of Mobile is now Apple’s to lose and the rest of the mobile space better be worried.