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. People pay $500.00 (and much more) for a high end PDA phone on a 2 year contract everyday of the week. Price is not going to be a factor in the iPhone being a huge hit. They are not trying to sell a low cost phone right now. Once Apple gets that high end market established they’ll lower prices and introduce a better variety of models.

    So the iPhone (a high quality Apple product) is going to cost more than many low end competitors’ products. What’s new about that? and so why all the whining?

  2. This is just the beginning.
    Just as the iPod was a little pricey at the very beginning so is the iPhone. Within one year, the price will drop or Apple will introduce a second lower priced model.
    Within 3 years, Apple will cover a wide range of price points and be affordable to just about everyone. (just like the iPod)

    Within 3 years the competition will still be sitting on the same crap phone OSes they’ve had for a decade and wondering why their extra “features” aren’t luring new customers to their phones.

    MS Outlook compatibility doesn’t matter to the 15 to 25 year old crowd (just like the iPod) and they could drive the sales of this phone for a decade.

    MS controls only a minority share of the phone market thru Win CE (or whatever it’s called now.) Remember the “Stinger?” Yeah, I thot so.
    “Business Compatibility” is a non-issue and even if it were, the iPhone could still rack up tens of millions of sales because if Joe Blow doesn’t buy this phone (because of Outlook) his wife and 3 teenage kids will.

  3. The interface IS revolutionary. Just look at how many phones have slide out, flip out, and other mechanical methods for hiding a QWERTY keyboard. Having a QWERTY keyboard appear only when you need it and not take up space otherwise is revolutionary for the phone industry.

    What these people just don’t get is that Apple’s products are revolutionary not because they created an entirely new category, but that they create an entirely new USER EXPERIENCE for the average person.

    I have a Moto RAZR. It’s a total pain in the a** to simply turn my bluetooth on and off. The fastest way to turn bluetooth on is 7 button pushes (8 to turn it off). Why don’t I leave it on all the time? The battery drains too quickly.

    A Palm Treo 700p costs $620 for Verizon and $650 for Sprint through the Palm store, and it has a mechanical keyboard, much less memory, no iTunes (or other music store) integration, a smaller screen, and a stupid antennae that sticks up. So someone would rather buy that than an iPhone for $500?

    People buy new mobile phones every one to two years. Verizon has their “New Every Two” program which gives you a new phone after two years. Mobile phones wear out after 1-2 years, and people LIKE getting new phones. It’s fun to go look at the new phones.

    So the initial iPhones run on the slower 2.5 G network. Guess what version 2 for the iPhone will have? That’s right kiddies, faster network speeds, probably GPS navigation, and a host of other SOFTWARE improvements. Just as Apple did for the iPod, it will add software features to iPhone as requested or as Apple predicts will be demanded/appreciated by iPhone users.

    iPhone will be a smashing success, and Cingular won’t be able to keep them in stock. And all these analysts will be “surprised” at how well it does, or they’ll claim how they knew it all along (liars).

  4. First, I have to quote Robin Williams: “Anna May Wong’s tits are made of aluminum!”

    Second, just to be a git, I’d also point out that these people sound like ” rel=”nofollow”>Apple back in 1981.

    “Guess what version 2 for the iPhone will have? That’s right kiddies, faster network speeds, probably GPS navigation, and a host of other SOFTWARE improvements.”

    Gee, why does this sound like a Microsoft apologist? “Yeah, okay, the Zune sucks. But the next version is gonna be so much better!” “Yeah, okay, Windows XP sucks but wait until Vista! It’ll be awesome!”

    “Okay, the iPhone may be less than ideal. But you know, Apple will fix the problems in the next version…”

  5. If those in the path of Apple’s heavily-patented iPhone aren’t nervous, they’re delusional.

    Well said, MDN! One could say that the whole wireless industry (which includes wireless customers) has been delusional for a very long time.
    One of the things visionaries do is they wake people from their slumbers. The thing is, sometimes the masses are ready to be awakened, and sometimes not. In the case of the iPod, the results speak for themselves. Personally, I expect the iPhone to repeat the success of the iPod in spades. Nobody likes to be caught with their pants down, but they had it coming. Existing wireless solutions mostly suck. Go Apple!

  6. Who cares if Apple takes over the market or not? It will be a hugely successful product for Apple even if they “only” sell 10 million units in 2008. And it will spawn a whole new line of Apple products, from smaller devices that are more focused a phone and iPod, to larger devices that bridge the gap between iPod and Mac (the device that will make the Internet accessible to people who don’t like computers).

    The fact that these key industry people are going out of their way to say that the iPhone “is not revolutionary,” and that “there is nothing revolutionary or disruptive,” means that it is revolutionary and disruptive. And they are deeply concerned.

  7. “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.”

    Can anyone tell me one phone that has movement sensors built into it?

  8. I am sick to death of industry half-wits talking out of their asses. It is immediately obvious who has watched the Keynote and who hasn’t. Not a single phone I know of or have ever seen has a contextual multi-touch screen. Not one. No CAN have it! It’s an iPhone EXCLUSIVE!

    If you have any interest in gadgets at all, or any technical savvy, and you can watch that Keynote and NOT realise that the entire game has changed, you are a zombie. Period.

    I don’t give a damn what you think of Apple. That touchscreen is the starters gun for an unending spree of innovation and design freedom.

    If you attempt to argue this point, you are an idiot. It’s that simple.

  9. “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”

    The fact that Nokia is being asked questions like this should make them queasy.

    Those guys are finally gonna back for having zip in the brand loyalty category.

  10. I like how they imply the iPhone doesn’t use a standard QWERTY key arrangement.

    Thay say it doesn’t have a “QWERTY button keyboard” but in fact it does have a “QWERTY touchscreen keyboard” so why not just say it doesn’t have a “button keyboard”?

    Why because then how would people accidentally think Apple made up some weird new layout?

  11. MDN: I have to disagree on these one! The main difference with 2001 is that then Apple actually created the market (nobody wanted those bloody mp3 players before), but now Apple has created a product for a market that already exists (and everyone already has a mobile phone, and most people are actually quite happy with them).

    So no, i disagree, iPhone will surely not have the success the iPod had (but i will buy one anyways when it comes to Europe)… and Nokia will keep on top… telecom’s consultant word!

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