The hype for the iPhone is like the launch of the next "Harry Potter" book or "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. If they don't gross hundred of millions in the first few days, they are labeled disappointments, even though they are phenomenal by any other standard.
With all the iPhone hype, the iPod/Web access/cell phone device will have to be near perfect, widely endorsed by even the skeptics and be sold out in the first wave to be called a success.
Steve Jobs has brought this extremely high expectation for the iPhone on himself.
He has hyped this to the point where anything less than blowout sales and rave reviews will tarnish his golden touch, the Apple image and stock price.
When I last saw Jobs at the D conference at the end of May, he was totally confident that the iPhone would be "awesome." He hasn't back off of that position as he has orchestrated the launch of the product, including a report of guards hovering over iPhone shipments entering the U.S., over the last few months. He has dismissed concerns about the touchscreen keypad, which have been brought up in an Engadget post.
“Once you use this magical display, there is no going back. We actually think we have a better keyboard. You have to learn how to trust it. Once you learn to trust it , you can fly,” Jobs said at D.
Trust and flying would not be the first thoughts I have about a virtual keyboard, but Jobs knows how to create believers out of skeptics, who will then might give him the benefit of the doubt.
The first generation iPhone may not be the ultimate success, although it surely isn't a Newton, for those who remember that one. Plenty of Mac adherents and Apple fashionistas are standing in line to soak up the first million units and pledge allegiance to AT&T.
I don't doubt that Jobs and the iPhone will eventually end up transforming the phone and mobile device industries. It becomes a question of whether the iPhone becomes the tipping point for what Steve Gillmor calls iPhonomics, an Apple-driven post-PC era.
Apple led the PC revolution, but didn't exactly win. Now Jobs hopes to prevail in the post-PC era, once again surrounded by well-endowed competitors but with a superior technology. He claims the iPhone software is five years ahead of what competitors can offer.
The highly anticipated launch on June 29th with give a good indication of whether Jobs' all-in bet on the iPhone will pay off sooner than later.