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The same mistake twice?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Is Apple going to make the same mistake twice?
When Apple first began making computers they were expensive and a closed platform to developers.
As a result cheaper PC's running windows and open to developers took off in the mainstream and even today Windows holds the heavy market share and Apple is a niche player.

The iPhone, unlike the iPod (which is just a media player) is more of a platform in itself. Like a little mac in your pocket. Over the next year or two the iPhone is going to show a lot of people that have desktops that we don't need laptops as well, just an iPhone. To some people the iPhone could become more useful in their daily lives then a desktop computer. We're entering a new era where what defines a "computer" is going to get kind of hazy.

But is Apple making the same mistake twice by making the iPhone a closed platform to developers? Where only they and a select few can actually build real software for it and not just web apps. Also the price, by not allowing cell companies to subsidize the cost to the customer. I know a lot of people who say it looks great but is too expensive for a cell phone. That was Apple's problem with their computers for so long.

We all know Microsoft is going to take some ques from the iPhone when it comes to their next windows mobile OS. And hardware makers are going to see the success of the iphone and soon we will have a lot of touch screen iphone-like phones running that windows OS. But it will be open to developers and the handsets will cost less with contracts from service providers.

So is Apple going to make the same mistake twice? It's apparent now that in the twenty plus years as much as Steve Jobs has changed he hasn't really. He's still just as much a control freak now as he was then, for better or for worse. The iPhone is Apples second chance at taking the market. But something tells me that in ten years we'll see the same thing we saw in the 90's.
post #2 of 7
I don't think the price or lack of subsidy can be considered a mistake. However, I do agree that if they keep the platform locked up, then they give plenty of reason for someone to consider a Windows Mobile device. Not just now, but in the future. Like you said, these devices are computers in your pocket, literally, and when you see what you can do on a Windows Mobile device, but you can't do on an iPhone, well, all MS has to do is improve their interface, and that's not really difficult. Windows CE (on which Windows Mobile is built) is a very powerful OS.

Just think, Microsoft will improve their interface; they don't stand still when they see something make a splash on the market like the iPhone. Further, making a slim device isn't impossible (obviously Apple did it), so someone else will make it. Once you have something that offers an experience like the iPhone WITH the added bonus of a library of software to meet your needs, then of course you'll be able to ditch your laptop, and you may wonder why you want an iPhone.

So yes, if Apple maintains their current stranglehold on the iPhone, they will end up paving the way for this new type of device, but they'll get left behind. After all, just look at all the M.D.s that desperately *want* the iPhone, but they *need* ePocrates. If Apple doesn't open up the iPhone, eventually a Windows Mobile device will come out that seems as cool as the iPhone AND they will be able to purchase, download, and use ePocrates. That is how the iPhone will get pushed to the niche in pocket computers if they don't open up.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Even already there is this
http://www.engadget.com/tag/m8/

Which doesn't look bad to me honestly. Like a white iPhone.
If Apple wins it will be about usability and marketing. Because there is nothing revolutionary about the parts used in the iPhone.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

If Apple wins it will be about usability and marketing. Because there is nothing revolutionary about the parts used in the iPhone.

I think that has always been the case. After all, OS X is basically Next and BSD unix which have been common-place for decades but they've still produced the easiest to use unix-based desktop system in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Applepi

Over the next year or two the iPhone is going to show a lot of people that have desktops that we don't need laptops as well, just an iPhone.

I agree with that. I'm not sure if an iphone will replace a laptop for everyone but it certainly could for a lot of people. But I'm not sure if Apple's tactics of closing the iphone off are bad or not yet.

Put it this way, is it better to open the iphone up so that people can make loads of apps that only work on the iphone or encourage developers to explore ways of making innovative software through the use of cross-platform web browsers?

After all, the 'i' in all the i-products stands for internet. Apple's business with Google and now AT&T shows that they have lots of interest in network-based solutions.

From a personal perspective, I'd be against it because I'd feel the iphone was too limited for the price just like the original Macs. But looking at the bigger picture in this case, I can see it's a different ball-game. Also bear in mind this is the first revision so Apple might just be being cautious to see where they can go with it.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

When Apple first began making computers they were expensive and a closed platform to developers.

That is not true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

The iPhone, unlike the iPod (which is just a media player) is more of a platform in itself. Like a little mac in your pocket. Over the next year or two the iPhone is going to show a lot of people that have desktops that we don't need laptops as well, just an iPhone.

That is wild speculation at this point. Maybe we'll get there for some users 5-6 years out. But the need for a general purpose computer (whether desktop ot laptop form factor) is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

We're entering a new era where what defines a "computer" is going to get kind of hazy.

Entering? Mobile phones. Digital music players. Game consoles. DVRs. Wev'e been there for a while now I'd say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

But is Apple making the same mistake twice by making the iPhone a closed platform to developers?

Well, they didn't make that "mistake" the first time (as you have incorrectly asserted). The question of whether a) Apple will keep the iPhone a closed application development platform, and b) whether that is a good idea or not is yet to be determined. I expect that they (along with their mobile network partner) want to be very cautious about this but that, eventually, it will be opened up. Though, perhaps, a bit more stringently (in terms of testing and certification and what-not).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

Also the price, by not allowing cell companies to subsidize the cost to the customer.

I think this a strategic move by Apple and an attempt to break the mobile network provider's hegmony over mobile phone makers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

We all know Microsoft is going to take some ques from the iPhone when it comes to their next windows mobile OS. And hardware makers are going to see the success of the iphone and soon we will have a lot of touch screen iphone-like phones running that windows OS. But it will be open to developers and the handsets will cost less with contracts from service providers.

Maybe all of this is true. Maybe it isn't. Maybe it won't matter if it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

It's apparent now that in the twenty plus years as much as Steve Jobs has changed he hasn't really.

I would disagree with your analysis of Steve Jobs and how much he's changed. I think in so many ways he is a much wiser business man than 20-30 years ago. Still a bit of a control freak? Perhaps. But the moves Apple has made over the past 10 years indicate a much sharper business man than in the past.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzz_ball View Post

After all, just look at all the M.D.s that desperately *want* the iPhone, but they *need* ePocrates. If Apple doesn't open up the iPhone, eventually a Windows Mobile device will come out that seems as cool as the iPhone AND they will be able to purchase, download, and use ePocrates. That is how the iPhone will get pushed to the niche in pocket computers if they don't open up.

Hi. I've loved my iPhone since day one. However, I still carry my Palm OS based PDA to work for ePocrates. I've tried ePocrates Online and Unbound Medicine's UCentral clinical suite and have found both to be frustratingly slow via EDGE or even WiFi when compared to Palm. Because of this I've created a petition to encourage Apple to support 3rd party medical software that will run directly on the iPhone. Please follow the link below if you would like to sign it and leave a comment for Apple/ePocrates:
http://www.geeknuz.com/nuz/2007/07/add-your-name-1.html
post #7 of 7
Apple will open it up to developers and they've said as much. However, I do think they'll start out with big name developers i.e. Microsoft, Adobe, etc. what they'll be less likely to support are smaller and more obscure developers but that's normal. For example, I don't think you'll find much shareware for the iPhone, like you do for Mac OS X, unless Apple can create a special protected memory location for the programs to run in. I heard a rumor that the reason Apple is worried about other software is that the programs are running root and they don't want to give root access. I can't remember where I read that though. Should they allow total access? Yes and they will at some point.

The reason that Apple lost out to Microsoft had nothing to do with their platform being closed. MS has a totally closed platform. The reason is that Apple remained a hardware company (got their money that way) and MS became the first real software company. They realized that getting your OS on every computer was more important than making the computer yourself. In the end you make more money and can force people to use your applications. The cell phone market is different since there are more players and the iPhone is not intended to be a mass market cell phone. It's priced pretty close to most phones of it's class. It's true that Apple won't win a lot of business users, but that was not their intent and actually I just read that Synchronica will provide MS Exchange support. More support will come and I don't think Apple plans on either losing, nor taking control of the industry. They just want to carve out a toehold. They might even have plans for a smaller mass market cell phone if the rumors are correct. The point is let's see what develops.
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