Apple’s soon-to-be iPhone rivals sound just like iPod rivals circa 2001

Apple’s newly announced iPhone “got everybody — from techie bloggers to late-night TV hosts — talking when it arrived fashionably late on the wireless communications scene. Would-be rivals are welcoming the challenge but questioning Apple’s claim that the iPhone is ‘revolutionary,'” May Wong reports for The Associated Press.

MacDailyNews Take: What did you think they’d do, come out with the truth and say, “we’re 5-10 years behind, Apple’s got the thing patented up the wazoo, and we’re screwed, so sell your shares and buy AAPL?”

Wong continues, “Apple’s competitors predict that even as the gadget will likely boost the company’s fortunes, it will have limited market share and fall short of the successes Apple has seen with its iPod portable music player. They contend some of the phone’s much-touted features — such as its touch screen, movement sensors and music player — are not innovative or new. ‘They’re just jumping into the party where everyone else is,’ said Peter Skarzynski, a senior vice president at Samsung Electronics Co.’s telecommunications unit in North America.”

MacDailyNews Take: In other words, they’re saying the same things that the MP3 player makers said when Jobs debuted the iPod.

Wong continues, “Apple is getting in at a time when competition in the cell phone business is, as ThinkEquity Partners analyst Jonathan Hoopes puts it, ‘as hot as Hades.’ Because nearly everyone already has a wireless device of some sort, the success of the iPhone will depend on whether Apple’s notoriously slick marketing machine can persuade consumers to replace their current phones with an iPhone that costs $500 or more. In some cases they’ll have to switch carriers as Apple’s gadgets will work only through Cingular Wireless.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hence the reason why Jobs froze the market by announcing iPhone 6 months early. Let’s see what At&T does to alleviate carrier switchers’ pain, too.

Wong continues, “Nokia Corp. Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told analysts last week that he doesn’t think Nokia, the world’s No. 1 handset maker, needs to change its business approach because of the iPhone. But Apple’s entry ‘will stimulate this market, it’s very clear,’ he said. ‘The fact that we will see multipurpose devices from many manufacturers, I think it will be good for the industry. And in that way, I very much welcome (Apple to the market).'”

MacDailyNews Take: He sounds like Diamond Multimedia, makers of something called the “Rio,” circa 2001. For most info, please see related article: More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Rio is dead – August 26, 2005

Wong continues, “Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer for No. 2 handset maker Motorola Inc., posted a ‘morning after’ blog saying she’d always been a fan of Apple’s creativity. She called the iPhone a “compelling concept,” but she also outlined its potential shortcomings. ‘There is nothing revolutionary or disruptive about any of the technologies,’ she wrote.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, saying the same things that the MP3 player makers said when the iPod steamroller arrived.

Wong continues, “With the iPhone still months away from the market, no one knows all its features or how well it functions in real life. Any criticisms leveled now — the high price, the exclusive distribution through Cingular Wireless, the choice to use the slower 2.5G data network, the apparent lack of support for Microsoft Corp.’s business e-mail programs, the lack of a traditional QWERTY button keyboard — could become moot or insignificant later.”

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s iPhone supports MS Exchange via IMAP. There is still the question of whether iPhone will support Exchange Direct Push (Engadget has more on that issue here). The Chicago Sun-Times Andy Ihnatko actually spent time with the iPhone and reports, ” I think the iPhone’s virtual keyboard is a huge improvement over the mechanical thumbpads found on the Treo and any other smart phones of its size… After 30 seconds, I was already typing faster with the iPhone than I ever have with any other phone.” Why wait for “later” when many of Wong’s points are moot now?

Wong reports, “If the incumbents are nervous, they’re not saying it.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If those in the path of Apple’s heavily-patented iPhone aren’t nervous, they’re delusional. We already smell blood.

Related articles:
O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile battle for exclusive rights to Apple iPhone in UK – January 26, 2007
Rogers to offer Apple iPhone exclusively in Canada – January 25, 2007
Research in Motion downgraded due to Apple iPhone competition – January 23, 2007
RealMoney: Apple just blew up the whole damn mobile-phone supply chain with its new iPhone – January 11, 2007
eWeek: Apple iPhone fallout: ‘They must be crying in Nokia-ville and other telephony towns today’ – January 10, 2007
Jefferies downgrades Motorola on fears of market share loss to Apple iPhone – January 10, 2007
The massive FUD campaign against Apple’s iPhone ramps up – January 10, 2007
Time: ‘iPhone could crush cell phone market pitilessly beneath the weight of its own superiority’ – January 09, 2007
Analyst: Apple iPhone should be given its own category – ‘brilliantphone’ – January 09, 2007
Apple debuts iPhone: touchscreen mobile phone + widescreen iPod + Internet communicator – January 09, 2007


  1. Thed ipod was built with off the shelf technology, but it rocked the music industry by becoming a hit. Apple was creative enough with software and hardware to make something any R&D group could have in 2001.

    I’m sick of hearing about marketing. Marketing will not make people buy into something if the price isn’t right. The iPod clearly hit the price mark right and usability. but Don’t talk to me about marketing like it’s hypnotising cheap skate consumers to buy something they don’t really need.

    If you can give people an object and they believe it’s a fair price they will buy it (iPod) or not (PS3)

    I sure want a iphone, but not at that price, I’ll wait until next year.

  2. The price IS high and there ARE some limiting features (Edge network) that will hamper it’s adoption by enterprise customers…but here’s the truth

    The market for cell phones is HEEEEEEUGE

    It’s SO large and Apple so able to adapt (moving to 3G for instance) that it’s not likely that anyone will mount much of a challenge. The remarkable thing that most people seem to miss is that MULTI TOUCH is a BIG deal. It’s a far bigger deal than you think since while Apple did not invent it…it will with this introduction stake a claim for mindshare association with the technology. Think kiosks, tablet PC’s, and other interactive displays…It’s a game changer.

  3. Why in the hell does the “apparent lack of support for Microsoft Corp.’s business e-mail programs” matter? They’re crap anyway. and the lack of a traditional QWERTY button keyboard? Since when was Apple traditional?

    The iPod hit the market and started with modest success. 5 years latter it’s a juggernaut. The iPhone will start out as a SMALL success (precedent set) and we will see what happens. I can’t wait.

    But as I have said to all my colleagues, this is not a phone. This is the computer I see my daughters using in high school and college. This is a total platonic shift in computing we are witnessing today and the entire industry is blind to this little fact.

    Wow. I am jealous. I wish I had this stuff 20 years ago.

    ps. and why is my MW: europe?

  4. It’s built on OS X!!! Who else in the entire industry has as capable a foundation as that?!?! NO ONE!!!
    They all fail to accept the fact that the iPhone will actually function on par with it’s expectations. There will be no hobbled features. I’m not saying it won’t be lacking features that many want (3rd party software support, video conferencing, VOIP, etc…) but the features it will include will be powerful and robust and yet easy to access and utilize.

    It’s all about the software. It will just happen to have been thought out enough to be packaged in an incredible piece of hardware also.

  5. I need more info on the iPhone before I make any judgment, i want to see its office application features like iwork integration and I want to see how it will allow third party apps. Big advantage to current smart phones is the 3rd party apps, you can get a huge range of stuff to run on MS Mobile. If apple were smart they would have built in emulation similar to the parralles setup so that users can use the phone for business as well as play.

  6. Even at $500, 10 million units worldwide for the iPhone is a piece of cake. 100 million would be a different story. There ARE 10 million early adopters out there on this planet…maybe not in the US, but around the globe, their goal is very reachable. I am glad it is coming in June…it gives Steve a chance to wear and throw the thing around his office to test it and work out the kinks, if there are any.

  7. I’m also sick of journalists constantly referencing “Apple’s notoriously slick advertising” as the reason the iPod is such a success. Yes, a cool commercial will get you to look into a product (maybe), BUT, a commercial alone will not get you to shell out hundreds of dollars. A commercial will also not encourage you to share by word of mouth all the benefits of some product.

    What WILL do these things, is amazing product design, and user experience. Why can’t journalists see that? Do they ever even stop and think for 5 min when writing an article?

  8. “‘There is nothing revolutionary or disruptive about any of the technologies,'”

    Perhaps not on the surface, but there was nothing disruptive about the iPod either.

    The thing that is revolutionary is they way they design the thing that is superior to competitors. The revolutionary part is the taking of a very complicated piece of technology and making it very simple. This resonates with people on a level that almost every company except one understands.

  9. It’s all about SWITCHERS baby…

    Another exciting development is all of the new Mac users that Apple will get from this product. Just like the iPod halo effect there will be an iPhone halo effect. We’ll see accelerated purchases of Macs following on in the year after the release of this product, just like the iPod.

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