iPhone: The iPod Economy Reacts | iLounge Article

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iPhone: The iPod Economy Reacts

As with every major iPod introduction, iLounge has polled leading iPod accessory manufacturers and services for their opinions on Apple’s latest invention. This time, it’s the iPhone, the details of which we’ve covered here. What do iPod-related companies think of this hybrid phone, iPod, and data device?

What’s your general reaction to the Apple iPhone?

Answers:

Chris Lyons, Manager, Product Marketing & Retail Support, Shure Inc.
Shure has been watching the portable device market as it has continued to grow over the years, and it’s clear that convergence is the wave of the future.  We’re excited about the launch of the iPhone because we believe that consumers are looking to have fewer devices that deliver exceptional experiences, and Apple is exceptionally well-positioned to deliver.  As is evidenced by the iPod, these experiences are not complete without the premium accessories that both enhance and personalize the experience.

Corey Cathcart, Business Development, Core Cases
What’s your general reaction? Apple has undoubtedly educated the smart phone. We are excited to watch the iPhone evolve just as the iPod has. The applications and technology developed for the iPhone will create new challenges for the other providers and ultimately stimulate better technology and how we can use it.

John Grzeskowiak, Chief Engineer, RadTech
I think Apple has created a great multi-function device with extraordinary ease of use.
One of my lucky children will soon be inheriting a well cared for RAZR V3i.

I would really like to see a more capacious model in terms of storage, a rotatable or front-mounted imager and video iChat - which we all know will happen down the road.  It would also be nice if the battery were more easily accessible, but not a deal breaker by any means - I’m just really glad it’s finally here!

Rusty Everett, Director of Product Development, Monster Cable Products
It’s super cool and if anyone can make touch screen work for the masses I am sure it will be apple. It appears to be incredibly intuitive.

Scott Huskinson, President/CEO, iFrogz
Very impressed with the sleek design, large and bright display is really impressive as well.  Like everyone else, the navigation, especially the “pinch” was really cool.

Federico Fiocchini, Marketing Dept., Vaja
It looks fantastic, another hit from Apple. Without any doubt this product will make history.

Ben Levy, iPodMods
Very sleek and stylish phone. Gives me an excuse to finally get rid of Nextel as my carrier.

Amber Vander Vliet, COO, Dopi Karaoke
We at doPi Karaoke think it’s great!  It supports MP4 files and therefore is compatible with doPi karaoke files - bringing karaoke to your phone!!!

Bernie Kaplan, iLoad
I think many people feel that the fewer devices they carry the better. iLoad will work with it.

Dan Millet, iPod Fix It
Coolest piece of technology to come out since the iPod. I’m not much of a cell phone user but might become one real soon! I think this will eventually change the way we use computers in the future. I will probably repair the iPhone when they start breaking, most likely screen repairs first as I can see people dropping them

Denise Salvaggio, PR Specialist, EVOK Advertising
Of course, I’m excited about the iPhone. No other product has ever before enabled Macworld Conference & Expo to upstage International CES! After the iPod changed the way we acquire, store and experience music (and video), the world is taking the iPhone very seriously. It was all everyone could talk and post about yesterday.

Edgar Matias, President, Matias
This is going to be iPod Round II…

I think Palm and RIM and others should be very worried right now.  As Moore’s law kicks in, and the price of this thing eventually goes down (just like it did with the iPod) I can’t see how the other companies will be able to compete.  This is so far ahead of the pack, and the pack doesn’t have the R&D chops and financial backing that Apple has.

Furthermore, it took Apple only took 2 years to develop this thing!  Palm has been at it for over a decade, and what have they got to show for it?

The only question mark and possible negative is whether or not they open up the iPhone to 3rd party developers.  If Apple is greedy/political and
decide to keep developers out (software developers especially) that would put a big damper on things, and leave an opening for Palm and others to fill.

Interesting times, for sure…

Geoff Sacco, Sumocases
Its cool, I’ll get one.

Greg Gutierrez, Founder/Designer, Helix Vault
I think this is another great, innovative product from Apple that could wake up the entire cell phone industry (just as it did with the music industry).  This is not an iPod and therefore won’t replace them in the market.  But it is a great phone …and so much more.  This phone is just packed with great features!  It will appeal to many consumers that are unhappy with current phones that lack a well thought out, intuitive, easy to use interface.  The wide screen format is a nice plus.  This is a whole new industry and market for Apple.  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out for them.

Kurt Goszyk, President, iPREPpress LLC
Our reaction is quite positive. Because we develop multi-media education downloads that can be read, heard and viewed on the iPod screen, the new iPhone provides a bigger and easier-to-read screen that finally fulfills the promise of the long awaited eBook reader.

I’ve read some comments on iLounge of people saying this just a ripoff of the Treo (or other smart phone).  I own a Treo - if this works just half as well as Jobs says it will, the Treo is not even in the same league.  Excited to try this out and I plan to subscribe in June.

Kevin Muoio, Co-Founder, iPopMyPhoto & iPopMyBaby

Karim Salemohamed, President, Atlantia
Leap forward in the cellular market –true vertical integration

Oleg Logvinov, President and CEO, Arkados
It offers a great combination of features, and is the next step in the
device integration and the focus on the UI.

Guy Monson, Managing Director, Proporta Ltd
At Proporta we aim to support all the mobile devices which our customers own and, of course, Apple products always grab our attention.  The new iPhone looks like a beautiful bit of kit (no surprises there) and we will of course bring out cases and accessories that match its great looks.  Without giving anything away too early we’ll have a range of case options that combine protection with style and function and we’ll be looking closely at car solutions and power supply.

Kevin Palmer, President, RexRegina, Inc.
Favorable.  It doesn’t look like a replacement for the BlackBerry or Treo, but there is very probably a market for mobile communications & entertainment devices.

Laszlo Barabas, CEO, DICE Electronics
It appears to be everything we expected from Apple.

Melody Chalaban, Public Relations Manager, Belkin
The new iPhone completely exceeded our already high expectations.  The design of the product is flawless.  The UI—as with all Apple products—looks fabulous.  The Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and touch screen features make this much more than a phone; it is what we would expect a UMPC to truly be.

Michael Massat, Director, Noreve St.Tropez
Certainly the best product of the year….I need to use it to tell you my real opinion, but in all cases, it will be a commercial success.

Nathan Aschbacher, Cell Sixty-One
Apple had a real opportunity to change the face of the mobile device market by NOT getting mired into the draconian practices of the cell service providers.

Make it cool, make it quad-band, and make it available.  Unlike Motorola, SonyEricsson, Nokia, etc. Apple already has highly visible, highly focused, and highly successful retail locations and direct online sales.  The phone is expensive, or I should say… the cost of having the privilege to purchase the phone is expensive.  $500-$600 is not a lot for what you’re getting, but the additional $2000-$2500 over 2-years is.  Especially considering that no small number of the features could be readily used by someone who had absolutely no need for the cellular capabilities.  It would almost stand alone as a media and wireless internet device.

The bigger issue is really how limited the market is for this thing.  In order to pay $500-$600 you have to be in one of two categories:

1) You’re currently NOT a Cingular customer, AND you’re willing to switch to Cingular, AND you’re outside the terms of your current service contract.

2) You’re currently a Cingular customer, AND you’ve NOT purchased service or upgraded your device within 2-years prior to the release of the iPhone. (not to mention that the same restriction will prevent first gen iPhone owners from being able to buy new versions as they’re released)

That’s a pretty small market, and a very high barrier for entry.  The irony is that, with respect to buying an iPhone, you’re actually better off not currently being a Cingular customer.

The device is also missing several critical features.

By the time it hits market it will be the only $300+ phone that doesn’t support any UMTS or HSDPA connectivity (not that it would be affordable or widely available through Cingular anyway).  Considering that the phone touts probably the best set of “connected” software features of any other device the fact that the cellular connection support is so poor only adds insult to injury.

The battery isn’t removable.  Which, while a source of irritation on an iPod, is unforgivable on a device you’re liable to conduct business on.  If the battery-life isn’t absolutely STELLAR, then the inability to at least cart around a couple spare charged batteries is going to seriously hamper the adoption of this by a professional or “prosumer” crowd.

This takes me to one final point of criticism.  So far a few reports have suggested that the device won’t support developing and installing 3rd-party software.  If this turns out to be substantiated then the device won’t stand a chance of competing against SonyEricssons high-end UIQ devices, any Palm, or any Windows Mobile device.  It would seem like bad form to build a device with such obvious flexibility and then armbar an ISV ecosystem out of existence before its even born.

On the flip-side.  The phone certainly is lust-worthy from a purely gadget standpoint.  It’s nice looking, it sports easily the “coolest” interface of any phone/PDA/smartphone on the market, and it definitely raises the bar for the other device manufacturers when they go to compete on user experience.

The iPod was an expensive near state-of-the-art device in a market rife with competitors when it was first released.  The problem with the comparison to the release of the iPhone is that ANYONE who wanted to pay the premium for the iPod went out and spent $399 and was done with it.  The iPhone is only available to a small subset of even the potential demographic, and it drags a lot of baggage with it after the purchase.

Paul Kafasis, CEO, Rogue Amoeba Software
As a consumer, the iPhone looks incredible. Watching the presentation here at Macworld has been awe-inspiring - it really does everything I’ve
ever wanted, since I last had a PDA (a Palm Vx). If I can merge my iPod and my phone into one device that does much more than either of them, that’s fantastic.

Peter Wohelski, Marketing Manager, GCI Technologies
My general reaction is awesome!  The closest thing to a handheld Mac!!! (the Newton doesn’t count) Now if only Apple hadn’t gone exclusive with Cingular, I’d be lining up to get one as soon as they hit in June.

Phillip Chipping, Founder and VP of New Business Development, ShieldZone Corporation
We love the phone and are excited to get one for ourselves

Pinakin Dinesh, Moftware
It is a well timed move, If the launch happens as per the schedule date,  It will really be a good sell. But I do not think,  it will be in stores before End Aug or Early Sep.

Although, it is the right move for Apple, I think it is a little bit late to jump into the wireless phone business. This market is a risky market for Apple. With a hefty price tag of the iPhone, Apple has to do absolute perfect job handling phone quality as well all the other features. An area that other big players have already proven their quality. Less than perfect quality will not be acceptable for Apple.

Ramsey Oten, Ph.D., CEO, Sena Cases
Sena Cases is happy to hear this long awaited announcement since Sena Cases is very strong in creating high quality functional chic leather cases for high-end phones. This is what this expensive device will need.

Ross Petrocelli, Product Marketing Manager, Sima Products Corporation
Awesome, but $600? Ouch! And iTunes is going to have to have a complete overhaul to support all the functionality of this device…I expect a suite that will have iTunes as a component. The concerns I have are the lack of a removable battery, and the locking to Cingular’s network - How will the recent ‘unlocked phones’ legislation affect their decision to lock to Cingular? Most power users have 2 batteries for their smartphones, and swap them out when one dies. I look to this device to push the other manufacturers in the market (Nokia’s N95, Sony-Ericsson’s W900i, Motorla Q, Samsung Blackjack, HTC) to take a hard look at interface and usability.  They’ve already got the other side of it figured out, and now that Apple is trying to redifine human-computer interaction with their touchscreen, perhaps everyone will meet in the middle of the market, and the consumer will benefit. Convincing consumers that are stuck on generations of tactile feedback to move away from hard buttons is going to be a tough sell to some people. I’m sure the ‘wow’ factor will push that concern firmly aside, though. (BTW - I’m expecting these to be in Nintendo Wii-type demand and supply from launch through the Back to School shopping season, despite the price and lack of 3G.)

Roy Smith, VP Marketing, BroadClip
We are delighted with the iPhone because it has married the best portable media experience (full screen, lots of storage, great UI) with the cell phone experience. It’s the completion of the trend of media players merging with cells.

The high cost will limit its initial market share but we see it taking big chunks of the market. 

André Klein, President, SendStation Systems
Like everybody else we are enthusiastic, but at the same time also skeptical. The $500/$600 price tags seems steep when compared to existing iPods and ordinary cell phones, but one shouldn’t forget the incredible amount of research which has gone into this product. Apple would love to offer this product at a lower price, but due to the complexity behind the touch-screen, they just can’t at this point.

We will see a very similar development as with the iPod: when the very first iPod was introduced (back then 5 GB), it was superior to any other digital audio player but was an also rather expensive $400. First early adopters, then prices came down, capacity went up, and so did the sales.

The only problem could be the limitation to a single carrier and the need for a 2 year service plan. That might work on the consumption-oriented US market, but most likely won’t lead to quick success on a market like Germany, where consumers are much more price-conscious and where you can get cheap, contract-free mobile service on the Internet or even grocery discounters.

To those who think the iPhone might cannibalize iPod sales: Who cares? People are still buying an Apple product, whether it is an iPod or iPhone.

Sherman Kum, Sales Executive, Aquarius Industrial (Hong Kong) Limited
Very sleek and appealing, battery life and change of battery are still a big issue as it’s always been a concern in iPod players as well.

Mr Stanley Chu, Sales and Marketing Director, Capdase
It is an innovative device that combine with iPod, mobile and internet communicator in coordinate with its powerful and mature service which included buy MP3 sony, TV Program, download POD casting, and some of additional service such as multi-casting browsing, email, map etc.

On the other hand, accordingly to Apple announcement, the iPhone will be come out to Asia market during 2008,and its OS is not popular to the users as it doesn’t support MS Office.  Also, iPhone only build-in 8GB memory, it is not sufficient compare with iPod Video and some Multi-Media players in the market and it does not allow user to add memory card to expand its memory size.

Curt Richardson, CEO, Otter Products, LLC.
The new iPhone looks like an innovative product. With a new touch-screen design and phone capabilities this will definitely be a hot commodity.

Lawrence O’Connor, President, Newer Technology, Inc.
Wow - I want one yesterday!

Mark P. McJunkin, President, TuneBuckle
I believe the future will be about convenient ubiquitous computing. I will need to try one before I pass judgment on it.
I dig the form factor cant wait to put my hands on one.

Thanks to all of the companies that have already responded. We will continue to update this report with additional responses from the industry as they come in.

iPods Past: For a look at past reactions to new iPod models from the industry check these links:
Enhanced iPod 5G, iPod nano 2G and iPod shuffle 2G: The iPod Economy Reacts
iPod 5G (with video): The iPod Economy Reacts
iPod nano and ROKR: The iPod Economy Reacts
Industry reactions to the 4G iPod
The iPod mini Reaction Roundup
New iPod Reactions: Accessory Makers and an Author

« iPhone and Apple TV: Our Opinions, Post-Expo

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Comments

1

Hurray to Nathan Aschbacher, Cell Sixty-One. What a concise, to the point reaction. So much of his reaction rings true and has been echoed by the iPod community. I just can’t believe this won’t be the next iPod (minus the phone)since the single carrier cell phone market seems too small, as suggested.

Posted by JWj on January 17, 2007 at 9:21 AM (PDT)

2

Thanks, Nathan, for being the honest one.

Posted by stark23x on January 17, 2007 at 4:15 PM (PDT)

3

minor issue, however, against nathan’s point:  while i also applaud his honesty and reticence, the simple fact is that people are mostly already paying cell phone bills.  So, we’re just going to transfer our cell bill to someone else.

While I wish that the iphone WAS universally usable (even on cdma), I don’t see that the “continued burden” of a monthly bill is substantial enough to cause heartache.

Posted by OnlyShawn on January 18, 2007 at 6:33 AM (PDT)

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