Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
Oh? That's an interesting thought!. Your saying that Apple could potentially dominate the smart phone OS market, maybe even the entire phone OS (dumb and smart). It's kinda' fun to think of the possibilities!
I don't think that Apple would ever do that, any more than they would license Mac OS X. Rather, I think they will go in the opposite direction for both OSs by using proprietary PASC chips in all their hardware that must be present for the OS to work.
I have been playing around with some install base numbers, all current the within the last 6-8 months:
Total Install Base
.........45,000,000 iPhone OS X (iPhone and ipod touch)-- Jul 2009
.........75,000,000 Mac OS X all flavors-- Jan 2009
......1,000,000,000 Windows all flavors-- Dec 2008
The iPhone numbers don't include much of the 3GS and $99 3G sales. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffery estimates that by the end of 2009 there will be an install base of 62 million iPhones and 23 million iPod Touches (or a total of 85 million devices running iPhone OS X).
The above estimate does not include any rumored new devices (AppleTV, Tablet, Nano iPhone, etc.) which would, likely, run iPhone OS X.
So, it is not unreasonable to assume that the iPhone OS X install base will surpass the Mac OS X install base some time in 2010.
Now, I am not one of those people that thinks that the iPhone OS X is a second-class OS. Rather, all the underpinnings of Mac OS X are included in iPhone OS X. What Apple has done is remove the parts of Mac OS X that are unnecessary to an Appliance device (like the iPhone/iPod Touch and the AppleTV).
There remains a very powerful Unix system under the hood of iPhone OS X, just waiting to be exploited. For example (on a JailBroken iPhone) it is very easy to install a web server.
Should future Apple appliances require a component from Mac OS X, say the Finder, it could be ported with relative ease (The Snow Leopard Finder has been rewritten in Cocoa).
A good example of where Apple could do just this is with the rumored tablet which would have one foot in the appliance world and the other in the general-purpose computer world, Apple could use an enhanced iPhone OS X as the Tablet OS and include some ported Mac OS X components and apps to allow the Tablet to perform some traditional computing tasks (WP, SS, etc).
Where am I going with this?
Maybe we should think of Mac OS X and iPhone OS X as Apple OS X, a single OS with different components that can be packaged together to run efficiently on specific devices.
It s not too much of a stretch to say that Apple OS X (Mac and iPhone) has a combined install base of 120 million or about 10% of the install base of all major computer OSs (Windows + Apple OS X).
I strongly believe that by mid 2010 Apple will have released an Apple Tablet appliance/computer hybrid, that will revolutionize the "industry".
The appliance part is important as it will allow non-techies (or those new to computers) to have an initial experience that is easy, fun and rewarding.
The computer part is important as it will provide people who currently use laptops and desktops enough capabilities to do what they primarily do and gain all the advantages of a large screen touch tablet.
I think the biggest initial impact will be on netbook and laptop sales, as the tablet will provide a natural alternative to those devices.
Getting back to the OPs statement: "The Linux OS's haven't done too well, and so that leaves Android. [for smart phone competition to iPhone OS X]"
In the larger scheme of things, Android (or any dedicated smartphone OS) may have little future. I think that Google realizes that.
Microsoft has failed miserably, attempting to cram a desktop OS (and interface) into a mobile device-- I have to use that crap at work, why would I want it on my mobile?
Apple is in an unique position in that they have compelling hardware and a flexible OS that can be tailored to [almost] every device they make, from an iPod to a powerful floortop or a server. And to run each of those devices with a best-in-class UI.
Apple is poised to bring the appliance to the desktop, rather than vice versa. I fully expect to see tablets to be used in conjunction with desktop computers... eventually replacing them for most users.Apple already has the proven OS that accomplishes all this.Not: soon, this fall, end of next year... but, now!
I don't want to break your post down to innumerable little parts, though I'm itching to.
So, I'll say that I agree with the general thrust of your argument.
To pinpoint a few specifics though, and explain in more detail.
I agree that it's far from likely that Apple would license their phone OS. I threw that out as a consideration in the Win Mobile paradox.
Going back to what I said about having to pay for Win Mobile, and paying every year in order to allow already bought phones to upgrade to the newest version, which is one of the biggest revolutionary advances Apple made in the cell phone universe, and one of the ways Apple is "wrecking" the industry (when that was written, he meant that Apple was wrecking the cell industries "traditional" way of doing business, not that they were wrecking the industry itself, which some people had thought).
What Apple had done was to essentially end the business of requiring people to buy a new phone in order to get the newest OS advances. That was a major part of the industries strategy. Now, people can keep their phones longer, perhaps a year or two longer.
Man! That just KILLS sales for them, doesn't it? But Apple isn't depending on it.
So Win Mobile depends on selling licenses every year, and would depend on also selling them to the same people every year. How do the phone companies react to Apple GIVING the OS away each year? Well, they go to free OS's.
Well, that KILLs MS's strategy as well. Why pay them for the OS? Esp. since its not doing too well. And, Win Mobile is not Windows at all. It has nothing to do with Windows. It's a totally different, and much simpler, and more primitive phone OS that was saddled with a Windows look-a-like GUI to make Windows users comfortable with it.
So maybe instead, for those who care, we can say that Apple is wreaking havoc on the industry.
Now, if Apple were to license the OS, it could be very different. Just like the cry for Apple to license OS X to other computer manufacturers, I'm willing to bet that other phone manufacturers would be willing to pay Apple for their phone OS.
Right now, I think that it's the only phone OS that anyone would be willing to pay for. If that came with access to the App Store, people would be willing to pay $10 a year for the upgrade.
Would it dominate smartphones? Well, it could, particularly if phones were designed to make something of it.
But I don't think it will happen. Apple has other ideas.
As for marketshare, even if Apple doesn't license either OS, well, there too I see Apple increasing.
Remember that every computer that Apple sells in advance of the PC industries growth increase, is one less Windows machine being sold.
So when we finally come out of this terrible recession, and the PC industry again grows at 9% a year, and Apple again grows at 20 to 35% a year, they will be taking from the PC industries growth. Over time, if that can continue, even at a lower multiple, the percentage shift will be noticeable.
We've now seen Apple move from a low of 1.2% worldwide sales to 3.8%, and from 2.8% US sales to 8.7%. That's a pretty big movement in just a few years.
At one point in time several years ago when Apple again began to grow, I thought that they could get to perhaps 4% worldwide, and 10% USA. Now I feel that as long as Apple continues to do the right thing, that will be conservative.
I can see 15% USA, and 7% worldwide. If Apple moves to increase their worldwide presence enough, possibly 10% worldwide.
While I have hopes, I won't even guess if they can do better until they reach close to those goals and they are still growing well.
I do have to admit though that Win 7 might prove to be more difficult than Vista.
I don't believe that the iPhone OS is a second class OS, but the small size of the devices did require a dropping of a lot of what we expect in our computers and software.
I can see some far out solutions, but they remain that - science fiction. Otherwise, the small screen and so far, weak processing, limits what they can do. That part will change over time, but will never be close to the processing that a stationary machine will have.
There are two limits to small devices now, and for the medium term. We all know what they are.
The now almost ancient concept of entering text with a "standard" keyboard is still by far the best method available. There is none as good. That's one major problem with a smartphone, text entry will never be as good for long documents.
The second is, of course, the small screen. We simply can't get much information on a small screen. Panning is a terrible way to look at large informational programs.
So while the iPhone OS isn't second rate when compared to the "computer" version, it has its limits, and will for at least, oh, five more years. Further than that is too far away to predict.