Question: Which product has spawned fan groups, blogs, forums, design reviews, product reviews, specs, development roadmaps etc, even before anyone knows if it is in development at all?
Answer: The Apple iPhone.
There have been rumours and rumours, to the extent that all of us believe that the marriage between the iPod and the phone is underway. These rumours had gathered a lot of weight after Kevin Rose (of Digg fame) revealed that the device would be unveiled at MacWorld.
Many blogs give out their own version of how the iPhone would look. You should take a look at the Apple iPhone concept blog, which has collected numerous such designs…
And so when news of the iPhone release came yesterday, it is only logical to expect, despite the anticipation, that it was all too sudden. The surprise though was that the iPhone wasn’t released by Apple, but by Cisco Systems. Cisco had, a few years ago, bought out a company that had registered the iPhone brand. News is that the Cisco / Linksys iPhone series offers users the ability to make calls through Skype (and probably other providers of Internet telephony).
So much for the iPhone then! But we can expect Apple to come up with another cool name. Anything other than Zune should sound cool, right?
Whatever the name, there are doubts if Apple can pull off another marketing coup that catapulted the iPod to stardom. Whereas the market for digital music players was new when the iPod was first launched, and is now being controlled by Apple still, the mobile phone market is crowded with well-established players. Names like Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG and SonyEricsson won’t be easy scalps for Apple.
Moreover these companies have now realised the craze for music and are in the process of enhancing the music-playing capabilities of their phones. It is not uncommon to come across phones with more than 2GB of space for storing music – decent enough to please a good portion of the crowd. Considering also that such phones cost just about the same as an iPod, it would to tough to push through a similar device that is more expensive (rumours are that the Apple iPhone is expected to priced at around 300 to 500 dollars).
The designs are cool, but it looks like the odds are stacked against Apple. But we never know, Apple can pull off another big gamble still!
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