OK, so a bit more than five months after its announcement, the iPhone has become widely available across the US, in what has become the most overhyped consumer electronics launch of all times. You had it all, camping, long queues, famous people, and this sense of victory when finally getting it. It did beat hands down game consoles and Windows 95, and is something unheard of for a mobile phone. Engadget has a great recap hour per hour coast to coast of the launch day. Apparently, the buzz of the raving reviews was real and the momentum is still going, as the iPhone is already out of stock in several locations.
The key question is obviously whether Apple will be able to deliver on expectations and revolutionize the mobile industry with the iPhone in the same way as it did change the music industry forever with the iPod. Based on its joint interview with the new at&t CEO, Steve Jobs is quite bullish. At the same time, several established players on the mobile value chain are already admitting - directly or not - that they will be impacted by the iPhone, be they smartphone specialists, handset manufacturers or mobile operators. The Financial Times had this week an in-depth assessment of the potential impact. Key questions include:
- Will the iPhone deliver the simple user experience that is promised to really make phones fund and easy to use ?
- Will OS X, Safari browser and widescreen finally support the development of the mobile internet ? As it also favours large data bundles, who will benefit from this potential growth ?
- As the iPhone created precedence in terms of how much the handset manufacturer controls the activation process, will it change comparative positioning between the different players on the value chain ?
- Will the bet pay off for at&t and will it attract churners from other networks, Verizon in particular ?
The launch of the iPhone is just the beggining of the story... The next six months and the European landing will be even more interesting