Apple will release the long-awaited iPhone on June 29th.
The deal will be simple, you hand over $600, sign a 2 year contract and the mobile phone/widescreen iPod/Internet comms device is yours.
I still find it hard to see how Apple is going to shift 10 million iPhones in 2008I have mixed feelings about the iPhone. Sure, there are things I like about it (such as the 3.5 inch multi-touch display and WiFi capability), things that I don't like (that 2 year AT&T contract and that touchscreen - a hard, unyielding surface doesn't sound like it's going to make a good keyboard to me) and things I'm still waiting to find out about (such as whether the battery will be user-replaceable).
It's usually bad luck to bet against Steve Jobs, but I still find it hard to see how Apple is going to shift 10 million iPhones in 2008. Sure, 10 million is a neat round number and I bet investors thought it sounded nice, but I really don't see how this phone can hope to capture 1% of the cellphone market in a year, especially given the price and the fact that users will have to switch to AT&T. I'd be surprised if the iPhone could attract 1% of sales within AT&T – since the network has over 53 million subscribers that 1% would translate out into half a million units - not a shabby total but way off the predicted 10 million.
I also think feel that Apple is going to have a hard time selling the iPhone to other networks both in the US and in other countries. While AT&T in the US (and Rogers in Canada) might be willing to take the gamble and roll with the iPhone, new features like visual voicemail will need thorough testing to ensure compatibility within networks - no provider will want network outages because of some new disruptive feature - something as small as an hour without voicemail could see people voting with their feet. AT&T might be willing to take that gamble because they see the iPhone as the latest cash cow, but other networks are likely to be more wary, especially if sales aren't all that hot.
There's certainly a market for a sophisticated cellphone like the iPhone, it's called the smartphone market, but Apple is applying a reality distortion field on both the industry and consumers in regards to the iPhone. While some of the iPhone's features are certainly new and interesting, it's still nothing more than a smartphone. Once the honeymoon is over, iPhone will be left competing with other players such as Symbian and BlackBerry.
Where the iPhone has an advantage over the competition is that it won't be seen as a phone, but as a device that contains a cellphone. So instead, it's a widescreen iPod that just happens to be a cellphone. This shift in thinking is the revolutionary bit of the iPhone, and within a few years you'll see this spread into all sorts of devices such as GPS receivers and digital cameras. The cellphone feature will eventually become yet another checkbox item, like a color touchscreen or expansion slot for additional memory. Pretty soon, you won't buy a cellphone, you'll just expect it to be part of other devices and you'll move your SIM card around accordingly.