CNET editor Kanellos: ‘Apple iPhone will largely fail’

“Apple is slated to come out with a new phone. Reports say that it will have a slide-out keyboard, 4GB or 8GB of storage, and work on CDMA or GSM cellular networks. It will start at $249 before subscription rebates,” Michael Kanellos writes for CNET. “And it will largely fail.”

“Initially, of course, it won’t look that way at all. As with any Apple product release, it will be ushered into the world on a wave of obligatory gushing,” Kanellos writes.

“Sales for the phone will skyrocket initially. However, things will calm down, and the Apple phone will take its place on the shelves with the random video cameras, cell phones, wireless routers and other would-be hits,” Kanellos writes. “Why won’t the Apple phone succeed? It will be a great piece of hardware that, if I wasn’t the cheapest man in North America, I might buy. The entire strategy, however, is based on what I call ‘iPod magic.’ Apple succeeded with the iPod, the theory goes. Therefore, they can break into other categories and turn them upside down.”

“But the iPod looks like it may turn out to be a non-repeatable experience. Look at the historical record. When the iPod emerged in late 2001, it solved some major problems with MP3 players,” Kanellos writes. “Unfortunately for Apple, problems like that don’t exist in the handset business. Cell phones aren’t clunky, inadequate devices. Instead, they are pretty good. Really good.”

Fans of insipid blather can read the full article here.
The phones that the vast majority of people have today suck. Kanellos’ amazingly incongruous point that they call the Blackberry the “Crackberry,” so it must be good and therefore nobody will want the iPhone, could only have any chance of working if: a) it actually is good and b) if the vast majority of people have Blackberry smart phones, which they don’t. Kanellos also thinks that because Apple hasn’t sold 100 million Mac minis that the iPhone will be a failure. No, really, he does. With that kind of “logic” in play who needs nonsense?

While a requiem for vapor is yet another interesting way to waste bandwidth, we’ll wait for the product to actually be released before we comment further, thanks. In the meantime, you can bet your Mac that Kanellos’ article has been iCal’ed here at MDN for future reference.


  1. The only way in which phones are good is in that they pack a lot of stuff in a small package. The problem is that they don’t offer a good user experience. Most functions go unused or used to a minimal extent. Where the iPhone or indeed any other product could succeed is by stripping down to what people can make use of and need and by doing it in a way that allows them to take advantage of the advanced technology being provided to them.

    There is this seemingly neverending rush to make phones smaller and lighter and pack in more features but no thought as to why they’re doing it. You get to a point where an object you hold in your hand becomes too small, is too light to comfortable wield and has too many features to be bothered with. Apple succeeded with the iPod by hitting that sweet spot of features, design and usability that resonated with the public. No-one is denying that phones will be harder since it’s such an establised and unfamiliar market but to say that the competition is good is nonsense. If other phones were so good then people wouldn’t be so excited by an iPhone and would use them instead of iPods.

  2. Slam something that exists in rumor alone – very good journalism, Kanellos! Trying to skip out on work early this week? Save some time by rattling off the first piece that comes to your head?

    And, Des Gusting, too damn funny!!!

  3. Cell phones are the most badly designed piece of portable hardware you can carry around with you.

    This guys is speaking out his ass!

    People are literally crying out for a simple you use phone that has an intuitive control method and interface.

    There is NO phone on the market that has this and Apple is the only company that can do it right.

    Besides – amazingly enough most people now dont give a shit about all the multi-media crap a phone can do (poorly I might add!) – people want a phone that they can make phone calls on!!

    Now there IS an original concept – how about a mobile phone that is easy to make phone calls on…

  4. Dippy. He needed something to write about and negativity sells.

    People still don’t seem to understand that Apple is a profitable company, even if it sells relatively few of anything. The iPod exploded its bottom line, but they made a lot of money before the iPod. All an Apple phone/device would need to do is sell 1% or even less, and Apple will be successful.

  5. Microsoft at work. From

    In its latest report on major electronics manufacturers, Greenpeace ranked Apple dead last on environmental issues because it still uses harmful chemicals in many of its products and because it does a poor job promoting recycling efforts for its iPods and other products.

    Greenpeace states that Dell is one the good guys.

    To Greenpeace- “I’ll buy only Apple compatible products from now. Go hug a tree, but look out for metal spikes that your lot have hammered into them.”

  6. “Hmmm, now why couldn’t THIS guy have been the one to take a trip to Oregon?” That is just wrong. I would never wish someone to die because of reporting on some non-existent imaginary product.

    I appreciate somebody finally saying something bad about Apple. Having used Macs for over 15 years, I’m not used to the good news.

  7. He wants it to fail so he can say “I told you so” if does. CNET are notorious for attention grabbing headlines as well. We must give him hell if he’s wrong.

    If the phone is pulled off well I’ll no doubt be a success. How many people carry around an iPod, mobile phone and a PDA? The Blackberry / Motorola Q / Samsung Blackjack are too big to cram in your pocket. How good would it be to have one little package that does it all. Add the Apple interface and you’ve got a winner.

  8. The moon is truly made of cheese and we never landed there – it was all done on a movie set.

    The world is really flat – the pictures of the world as a big blue ball are all done on a movie set.

    Cell phones aren’t clunky, inadequate devices. Instead, they are pretty good. Really good.”

    Sheesh… this guy is the best example of eating ones own dog food I have ever seen. Cell phones SUCK!! They offer 1001 “features” that all suck because they aren’t implemented well or offer horrid user interfaces. The cell phone industry is the best poster boy for selling worthless features at the expense of real usability I have ever seen. Hopefully the iPhone – if it ever exists – will change all that.

    MDN Magic word “likely” as in: This guy is likely to take the clueless FUDmeister award away from Rob Enderle.

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