In the midst of all the hosannas for Apple’s new iPhone — and there is definitely lots to like about it, among the most important being the first significant advancement in mobile browsing in a decade — here are the five biggest issues with the thing:
- The touchpad. How do you operate a touchphone in your pocket, or under a table by feel at a meeting? You scoff, but you’d be amazed how often that is how business emailing happens. Early users, like Pogue at the Times, are already pointing how slow the thing is for email usage.
- The closed system. Is Apple serious that it won’t let third-party developers build software for the thing? If so, and put simply, the device will fail. A closed-box consumer electronics mentality will work in music players, but the future of mobile devices is as a platform, and that requires developers.
- The Cingular relationship. While every wireless carrier has its haters, Cingular has more than most (both for its service and for its Edge network). Tying up exclusively to Cingular forces some of the loudest among the digerati to wait for an unlocked iPhone before they can begin touting the device for Apple.
- Its vaporware status. The iPhone won’t ship until June, at the earliest. That is going to cause (more) volatility in Apple’s share price, as well as create oodles of market uncertainty. Why did Apple decide it had to announce so far in front of the ship date? My guess: Apple knows that something similar is coming from another vendor very soon.
- The price. To be honest, I’m not as hung up about the price than most people, and I think the $599++ price is less important than the preceding four factors. Then again, it’s leaving a very large pricing umbrella for other smart(-ish) phone vendors, so this is going to be a confusing ride this year in that market. Certainly, I don’t echo other analysts in feeling like Apple’s 10-million unit figure is lowside, as some insist.