Since the release of the first model four years ago, Apple’s iPhone has been blazing the trail for allsmartphones. A decade ago, in the age of mobile calling and sending short messages, Finland-based Nokia was the king. Then came Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, with its bigger display and QWERTY keyboard providing U.S. President Barack Obama and others a more convenient means of sending instant messages and e-mail. But in the age of the mobile Internet and apps, iPhone has been atop every body’s bestsellers list.
The iPhone was initially an iPod that allowed you to say “Hello”. But since its launch, the smartphone with the sleek design, brilliant display, innovative multitouch user interface and easy-to-use apps available for download has set the standards for smartphones.
Here’s our look — and our justification — of how Apple is setting the bar:
Unique. Apple has sold more than 100 million iPhones worldwide because the iPhone by itself is unique. Although the first generation iPhone did not have features found in most phones, integrating a cellphone with its innovative iPod MP3 player plus a stunning 9-cm multi-touch screen that is devoid of buttons and a physical keyboard broke new ground. Sure the Galaxy line provided by Samsung operates and looks like the iPhone, but that’s precisely why the Korean manufacturer has been sued by the Steve Jobs-run tech firm for patent infringement.
App Store. Sure Nokia and Motorola have been producing phones with better voice quality, but Apple had the groundbreaking application distribution platform. Despite a trademark by Apple on the “App Store” in 2008, the term “app store” has been adopted by Amazon Inc. and others due to the success obtained by Apple for its mobile applications store. At the start, Apple found out that it could cater to everyone’s different needs — as to music and videos then — with an iTunes store for purchasing and downloading musicvideos and television shows. The evolution of iTunes store, the App Store, is what distinguishes the iPhone from the other smartphones. Users can update their iPhones by shopping from 425,000 apps from Apple and third-party developers on the App Store. Young Mary can download games like Angry Birds for her own entertainment, while dad can download apps for business like the Office Pro suite or the WSJ app. Smartphone manufacturers using Google’s Android based operating system have put up the Android Market, Nokia’s Ovi Store, and BlackBerry’s App World, but Apple is already well ahead of the pack.
The iPad. iPhone’s success can be seen by looking at its offspring, the iPad. Steve Jobs came up with the iPad to provide a BIGGER platform for periodicals movies, music, games, and web content that can be downloaded from the App Store. Cupertino, California-based Apple sold 4.69 million iPads in the first quarter of 2011, for a total of about 20 million since the April 2010 debut, and taking more than 80% of the market. PC makers (e.g. Hewlett Packard’s HPTouchPad) and phone manufacturers (e.g. RIM’s PlayBook) came up or are selling their own tablets. But a common hurdle for non-Apple tablets is that over 90,000 applications are already optimized for the iPad, in addition to the more than 200,000 iPhone apps that can also work for the Apple tablet.
iOS. Whereas Apple had difficulty selling its own operating system for desktops due to compatibility problems with programs that are tailor-made for market giant Microsoft Windows, creating an operating system that is optimized for itstouchscreen phone was Steve Jobs’ slam dunk. Aside for providing a Safari browser makes for a superb Web surfing experience, the iOS provides a user interface based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. The swipe, tap, pinch, and reverse pinch for multi-tasking and conveniently shifting between applications are what make the iPhone stands out from the rest. Sure the iOS still trails Google’s Android and the Symbian for the smartphone operating system market. But Nokia is giving up on the Symbian, and the Android is the other phone makers’ poor man’s version of the proprietary and closed-model iOS and has more bugs and security issues.
Market share. Nokia continues to sell the most phones, but its outlook is bleak, its market share has been declining for years, and its now changing its tactics with a new OS. Samsung, which has sold 3 million units of the Galaxy S2 smartphone since its April release, is aiming to sell 60 million smartphone units this year, hoping to overtake Nokia by year-end. But Apple’s iPhone 4 is currently the single best-selling smartphone. Nokia sold 1.7 million units of the iPhone 4 just three days after its release in June last year. Nokia possibly released so many phone models (from the 1000 series to the 9000 series, along with those from the C, E N, series), with different designs (the big, the small, slide, the touch screen, QWERTY-based, with MP3, or video-cam like). Samsung is currently offering the S5670, I5510, S5830, S5570, and I9000 in its Android smartphone portfolio alone, plus many more models in its messaging portfolio. In contrast, Apple has only released technically four models of the iPhone in the past four years, each having minor changes in design from the previous and iOS. Although Nokia has shipped more than 200 million units of the black-and-white for-calls-and-SMS-only Nokia 1100 phone model throughout its run, the iPhone 4 has likely outsold any new smartphone offered by Nokia or Samsung. If this were a beauty contest, while Nokia has been submitting multiple entries, focusing on putting new clothes to a largely aging contestants, Apple has been using the same clothes, but going for the smartest in the field.
Do you agree or us or do you thinkg we’re totally out of our mind? We’d love to listen to your comments.
Latest iPhone 5 Update
Sources have told Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal that the iPhone 5 is expected to be released at the end of September.
Anticipation of the new iPhone — including speculations about its design and features — has increased after Steve Jobs opted not to unveil the latest smartphone model at Apple’s annual developers’ conference in June, breaking with previous practice.
The WSJ’s sources say that the new iPhone is expected to be similar to the current iPhone 4, but thinner and lighter with an 8-megapixel camera. Bloomberg News’ sources also say that the iPhone 5 will closely resemble the iPhone 4 but will have an A5 processor, which is being used for the iPad 2 tablet.
Production problems have reportedly delayed the iPhone 5′s launch.
As of this writing, Apple has not provided any official announcement on the iPhone 5.