Feeds

The iPhone: a Naomi Campbell of a product

Pretty enough to look at, but you wouldn't want to do business with it

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Several readers have been in touch to ask if I've revised my opinions of the iPhone, now we've seen prototypes and heard the spiel, but the basic premise remains the same: the iPhone needs to appeal to operators, not customers, to be successful.

It certainly does appeal to consumers, and I will probably get one myself to put beside my Apple Newton, my ICL One Per Desk and my NetStation. But just because I buy one doesn't guarantee a product's success in the market, I'm an easy mark.

Being an exclusive Cingular product is the best way for Apple to get a decent subsidy: Cingular will be hoping that customers will switch networks just to get the handset, and once they've done so they'll be tied to Cingular for 2 years. Steve is planning on shifting 10m devices in the next 12 months, which is going to mean making deals with more operators unless one in five Cingular customers is going to make the switch.

Doing the same deal in Europe will be much more difficult: European operators have invested heavily in 3G (W-CDMA) networks, and MMS, so to sign an exclusive deal for a non-3G handset which doesn't support MMS would be political suicide; effectively saying that 3G and MMS weren't worth having. If they manage a 3G version of the iPhone then that problem could disappear (and an MMS client shouldn't be a serious problem), but if it drives up the cost then the problem doesn't go away.

We've seen the price quoted as $499 for the 4GB model, $599 for 8GB; discount if you sign up to a 2-year Cingular contract. We can't tell what subsidy Cingular are contributing to get that price, but it's likely to be substantial and they'll be wanting to make their investment back on the network tariff. The details of that tariff won't be announced until June, so we'll have to wait to see what the real cost of the iPhone is.

The iPhone is a good-looking piece of kit: it does nothing my Nokia N93 can't do already, but it looks a great deal prettier and looks will sell.

But if tying customers into one network and forcing them to stay there for a couple of years is the only way Apple could get the price remotely sensible then it might be a step too far for many. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA
Just 100 Beijing fanbois queue to pick up new mobe
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.