iPhone neglects the prosumer

iPhone neglects the prosumer

Summary: Once the Macworld Steve Jobs glow wears off corporate types, which could be described as prosumers, are going to face a series of interesting decisions. Here they are: --Do I get an iPhone?

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TOPICS: iPhone
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Once the Macworld Steve Jobs glow wears off corporate types, which could be described as prosumers, are going to face a series of interesting decisions.

Here they are:

--Do I get an iPhone?
--Will I still need my Blackberry/Treo for business?
--How will it interact with my corporate network when synching contacts, Outlook etc.?
--How important is pushing corporate email to me?
--Will my CIO support it?
--How will OS X work with my corporate Windows environment?

Initially, none of this will matter as there will be tremendous pent up demand on the consumer side, but the lack of corporate email is one of the bigger missing iPhone elements. However, it is an issue worth raising down the road. It's also one of the issues many ZDNet readers will have to ponder when deciding whether to buy an iPhone.

The reason Research in Motion's Pearl has been a hit is because it took corporate popularity and leveraged it. Let's face it there are many Blackberry and Windows Mobile smartphones in the market because of corporate ties. Palm's Treo survives due to the ability to handle spreadsheets, PowerPoints and other enterprise documents.

What's the big deal? The iPhone has non-corporate-grade e-mail functionality and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) rather than High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) wireless Internet. That's a fancy way to say the iPhone isn't 3G. The first volley of iPhone's push email is a deal with Yahoo mail. But pushing corporate email may be more important since smartphones straddle the corporate/consumer divide. As a result, the iPhone may put off potential corporate customers, opines Steve Lidberg in a Pacific Crest Securities research note.

Lidberg adds that he expects Apple to address these issues in future models, but enterprise users need to ponder it. There's also an interesting calculation made by Apple, which by removing the "Computer" from its name, has fully transitioned to a consumer electronics company. The calculation appears to be that prosumers don't matter--at least initially.

It's quite possible that iPhone's desktop browsing experience does away with some of these concerns. But it's a bit unclear at this juncture.

Meanwhile, most analysts expect iPhone to occupy a premium brand position and then move downstream. This strategy is consistent with what Apple did with iPods and its different flavors--Mini, Nano, and Shuffle.

However, that strategy may neglect the prosumer. Some smart Wall Street types are already spotting the prosumer-iPhone disconnect. Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff--one of the best in the business--noted that "we would buy RIMM on weakness given iPhone's lack of corporate email, price premium vs. RIMM, and sole availability at Cingular and in U.S."

[poll id=38]

Topic: iPhone

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59 comments
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  • Probably seen as a lost cause

    A number of years ago, in response to a
    reporter's question, Jabs said that he did not
    have much hope for Apple's penetration of the
    enterprise market.

    Since that time Apple has done well catering to
    the consumer and specialty markets (graphics).

    My guess is that Apple thinks there are enough
    consumers and small business types oput there
    to create a very large market, ala ipod.

    I really feel that the tie in with one carrier is a
    bigger impediment.
    j.m.galvin
  • Missing a couple options...

    For the poll, how about "No, I'm not getting one, regardless". For the analysis, how about the possibility that it's not a missing feature or design flaw that will hold iPhone back...but the price?? I will never pay $499 for a phone, even with the extra bells & whistles that the iPhone has. I really only need to make phone calls and send text messages. I don't want or need a camera, video or music capability. I can much more cheaply get a 3rd party MP3 player, and as small as they are, so what if its a separate extra device. In fact, two devices is better - I can loan the phone to a friend while we're driving and still have my music playing. The iPhone has some interesting features, to be sure...but I think after the initial buzz dies down, alot of people will realize that there is too much hype about this and that it just isn't that life-changing a thing. Certainly not a $500 event as far as I'm concerned.
    Techboy_z
    • A phone is...

      a phone. I agree, for the price I could buy 3 gadgets that can could out perform the iphone. What problem does this iphone pose to solve? It sounds like everyone is still going to want an 80gb ipod to go with this and possibly a blackberry...so your pockects are still going to be as full but with just 1 more gadget. I would have preferred to see the phone part dropped and have apple make a handheld pc with some computing power and larger hard drive space.
      Obelix!
    • A $500 phone

      Hey, guess what the Motorola RAZR cost when it was first released. That's right, $500. Seems like kind of a rip-off in comparison.
      tic swayback
      • It's not alone...

        my old t68i was 500 bucks when it first came out. I thought it was expensive but
        bought it anyway. When I first looked at the iPod, I thought it was pretty
        expensive. But I bought it anyway :)

        In both cases, they delivered what I wanted - the t68i was a fully functional phone
        in a small package. The iPod was the first MP3 player that combined capacity,
        portability and usability.

        For many of us 500 bucks is not pocket-change but also not a deal breaker -
        that's Apple's market segment.

        cheers, Mark
        markdoc.geo
  • RIM stock is a good buy right now

    I think that the analysts who dumped RIM stock missed on the fact that corporate
    buyers will not implement iPhone because it is not integrated into the executive
    communications tool kit. Enterprise IT uses RIM because the whole package is
    aligned with delivering mail, security and custom systems.

    This is the area where the current generation of iPhone misses. Having said that,
    with OSX 10.5, I expect that Apple has the tool kits to deliver enterprise
    functionality, and that's when things get interesting.

    All in time. Apple will sell every iPhone that they can make to every high end
    phone, music player etc user since everyone who can afford on will want one. By
    the time enterprise IT is ready to upgrade their RIM investments, Apple will have
    more functionality.

    By going with a browser based application model, Apple tools will make it simpler
    to create really good application. Just wait on that.

    In the mean time, corporations will not be dumping RIM for apple so RIM has
    some runway left.
    mmay
  • Bingo...

    This is what my rep and I have been saying! Apple does not get the "corporate lifestyle" that folks like my rep and I lead. I need full corporate connectivity. I need an RDP client on my phone so I can remote desktop into a server and shadow an MCSE. I need MSN Instant Messenger so I can blast out IMs to my MCSEs and MCSDs and tell them to work overtime. Another HUGE issue: the Apple iPhone cannot be managed by Microsoft Systems Management Server. SMS is a very robust Microsoft management product. Without such support, I am advising all CIOs to BAN the use of the iPhone. As my rep says, "I need a phone, not an iPhone!". With that we are off to Starbucks to review some pre-release SDKs from MSDN.
    Mike Cox
    • iphone not universal panacea

      "This is what my rep and I have been saying! Apple does not get the "corporate lifestyle" that folks like my rep and I lead. I need full corporate connectivity. I need an RDP client on my phone so I can remote desktop into a server and shadow an MCSE. I need MSN Instant Messenger so I can blast out IMs to my MCSEs and MCSDs and tell them to work overtime. Another HUGE issue: the Apple iPhone cannot be managed by Microsoft Systems Management Server. SMS is a very robust Microsoft management product. Without such support, I am advising all CIOs to BAN the use of the iPhone. As my rep says, "I need a phone, not an iPhone!". With that we are off to Starbucks to review some pre-release SDKs from MSDN."

      I don't think Apple would even want to sell a phone to someone so besotted with their MS salesperson but then I also suspect you may be being more than a little ironic in your post.

      I am advising CIO's to ban the iphone because its logical interface will cause too many problems for those trained in the idiosyncrasies of MS "thick phone" product.

      Some seem disappointed that Apple has not been able to design a phone that meets the universal needs of all users. Maybe they'll have to come up with more then one model. But at least the nice phone book will come in handy when I have to call MS support when we try and "upgrade" our PC to any one of the n versions of Vista only to discover that not all applications are fully supported.

      Other than the failure to produce a phone specifically formatted to work in the MS world it suspect Apples aim of 1% of the market is a conservative estimate.

      I can see MS staff innovating as we speak, how to get round those pesky Apple patents for Windows mobile 6.
      martin23
      • lol

        "but then I also suspect you may be being more than a little ironic in your post."

        Not a little, a lot.

        Mike posts these sacrcastic responses every so often. They are usually quite amusing. This one, 'eh I give it a 7.8/10.
        Badgered
        • Got another

          I'll go a little higher and give it an 8.2 just because he roped another one in.
          UncleBubba
          • I'll give the guy a 9/10

            because through all that irony I think I see a bit of truth.
            Corporate phones rely too much on MS tech, MS protocols, why would Apple support
            that?
            Mikael_z
          • I'll give the guy a 9/10

            because through all that irony I think I see a bit of truth.
            Corporate phones rely too much on MS tech, MS protocols, why would Apple support
            that?
            Mikael_z
  • ZDNet Ponders it's Relevance

    iPhone is a computer. It runs software. It "is" whatever the software makes it. If it
    succeeds (and it very likely will), it becomes a platform. Describing the iPhone in
    terms of what is currently is "not" is to show a profound lack of uderstanding of
    digital technology.

    So nice job o' intrepid ZDNet contributor. Everyone working under this masthead
    is jockying for position and trying to find a way to rationalize the whooping the PC
    ecosystem just took. Lord knows Apple doesn't owe you a living. You are all
    keenly aware your jobs depend blowing some smoke at this critical time.

    A good portion of CES was invalidated yesterday. RIM and Palm will likely be put
    under real pressure. Windows Mobile has had circles run around it. Anyone with
    half a brain can tell exactly where this is going, with the possible exception of
    ZDNet contributors. Of course this thing is capable of handling business email,
    and of course you boss may not buy it for you. But until you duty bound
    employees start running your own businesses and make your own tech decisions,
    we're talking to the wrong people anyway. Point me to your leader.

    You folks can keep your collection of Windows talking points, bricked Vista test
    boxes, and the endless residue of gadget fetishes. But you can't keep your lunch,
    because Apple just ate it.
    Harry Bardal
    • Isn't funny how the device hasn't even shipped ....

      ... yet but everyone that uses a computer or a competing smart phone has had their ate? You are such a Mac zealot. Do you have Cingular in the UK? Run out and plop down your $ 600.00 for this phone and show us all what idiots we are.
      ShadeTree
    • Ah, poor Harry...

      Look, it is Apple trying to convince buyers to shell out money and if they left something major out of the product USERS NEED TO KNOW.

      Ummm, unless of course your an Apple zealot and function means nothing...
      No_Ax_to_Grind
    • These guys don't get it!

      half are trolls, 10% are honest the rest are sheep!
      Apple has changed the landscape, everyone else is going to be playing catch-up for years! Some of these morons are still going to buy a ZUNE! hahahahahahahahahahaha
      Reverend MacFellow
    • So you are saying that

      the corporate types are concerned about their employee's music and video collections? You are, as usual, trying to sell Apple and O$X where no market exists. Can you say why it would be useful for a business leader to choose this phone with this price with many of it's main functions not even being business related.
      Please be aware that only the zealots would buy anything you say, and they are not in leadership positions to be sure.
      xuniL_z
      • Remember iPod

        Originally iPod was just a device for playing music in the beginning. Now, everyone "PodCasts" seminars, lectures, commentary and other material. This individual is evidently several years behind times.
        Grammyputer
      • Corp movies and music

        If corporations were smart they would be looking for features like these. iTunes
        can play more than music. What about lectures and events like the keynote that
        can be listened to while driving. Foreign language learning is another good use.
        Don't forget all those Powerpoint presentations out there. Now you can sync it to
        your iPhone and have it anytime you run into a potential customer.

        As for no market existing. Who cares? If Apple can bring new abilities to this arena
        then great. The telcos needed a kick in the butt like the music industry got. This is
        the 21st century, stop doing the 'same old, same old, cause that's always the way
        it's been done'.

        The business apps will come as people ask for them. With 6 months till you can
        get one in your hand, let the software makers you use know you want iPhone
        widgets or full apps. Price will come down as more people buy them. The next
        version will probably have more of what the prosumer is looking for. The first
        adopters will have voiced their needs and gotten the apps and widgets. The
        hardware upgrades will take longer, then again maybe they've been planned out
        and this is just the 'buy me' version to get the ball rolling, then watch out.
        Mr_Dave
    • Wow, nice job Harry

      You seem to have struck a nerve with three of the biggest zealots on ZDNet.
      tic swayback