This is a response to this, an article by Paul Kedrosky about the iPhone. I’m not going to say he’s completely wrong, and I’m not going to say that the iPhone will be a spectacular success (I do think it will do very well, however, and the lust factor is very, very high.) I am simply amused by his bullet points, and their similarity to arguments I think I’ve heard before.
Presenting... the five biggest issues with the iPod in 2001 (these will only be moderately amusing – at least, hopefully they will be – if you read the source article in question.)
- The clickwheel. How do you operate a clickwheel in your pocket, or under a table by feel?
- The closed system. Is Apple serious that it won’t let third-party partners build software for the thing? If so, and put simply, the device will fail. (Yes, I know he tacks on “A closed-box consumer electronics mentality will work in music players” in order to justify this point, but the iPhone must be a useful tool first, and (perhaps) a development platform as a distant second – or has Linux on the desktop (and its lack thereof) not taught people anything?)
- The Apple relationship. While every operating system has its haters, Apple has more than most (both for its hardware and its operation system.) Tying the iPod exclusively to OS X forces some of the loudest among the digerati to wait for a newer version before they can begin touting the device for Apple.
(No, I’m not going to touch the vaporware status bullet point, primarily because I think this one’s the most ridiculous: I think there’s a pretty solid consensus that, since FCC filings are made public, Apple had to present now, lest its considerable thunder be stolen.)
The price. To be honest, I’m not as hung up about the price than most people, and I think the $399+ price is less immportant than the preceding factors. Then again it’s leaving a very large pricing umbrella for other audio player vendors, so this is going to be a confusing ride this year in that market.