Very much want this to be a real thing, the more I think about Chromebooks the more they make sense for my workflow. The only thing I really use that isn’t found in a browser is Microsoft Office, and even then I only use that when I absolutely have to.
Surprisingly excited to see what RIM has in store for the market this year. The ideas they have shown this far are very compelling, but the app situation will be the major obstacle for this and any new and emerging platform.
A few thoughts on the latest report of a “less-expensive” iPhone by Jessica E. Lessin for The Wall Street Journal:
1) This report seems to surface every year, including by the same Wall Street Journal that is reporting the news today.
2) That said, there does seem to be more gathering momentum around the idea of a “cheap iPhone” this time around. I smell a faint hint of Apple.
3) But Apple already sells “cheap iPhones”: the iPhone 4S is currently $99 with a two-year contract and the iPhone 4 is free with the same contract. Hard to get cheaper than “free”. (But: see point 6 below.)
4) So perhaps this has to do more with perception. The current cheaper iPhones must lose some luster as they’re simply older devices at a discounted price. Maybe this new “cheap iPhone” would be a complete makeover with the same internals as the older models but with a new build to entice buyers.
5) Along those lines, I find it hard to believe Apple would simply do a “cheap iPhone” — it would have to be a different product from the flagship version in some other way. Offering various colors is an obvious approach, but I think there would have to be something else as well. There are no “cheap iPads” or “cheap iPods”, there are significantly different versions (iPad mini, iPod nano, etc) at different price points.
6) Or perhaps this is all simply meant for other markets where the iPhone does not sell as well (and subsidies matter far less, or don’t exist at all). As WSJ notes, the iPhone is still the top selling smartphone in the U.S. But that’s not the case in other markets, and China has been particularly troublesome. Apple probably doesn’t want to just cede a billion potential users to cheap Android devices.
7) But I don’t think Apple would do a device just focused on particular foreign markets. Their product lines are very simple and for the most part worldwide. I imagine that any “cheap iPhone” would be on sale in the U.S. as well. So… pre-paid?
8) I do think Apple has to be careful here. While Gene Munster doesn’t seem too worried about the margins (thinking this phone would attract users that wouldn’t normally buy an iPhone), if such a device was popular enough, it would definitely drive down Apple’s famous margins. Users, of course, won’t and shouldn’t give a shit about that, but investors will (and Apple should — the iPhone dominates their bottom line). Just wait until we see what the iPad mini does to the margin this quarter.
I understand the sentiment that he is trying to portray, he is trying to position his company as the next Apple, but I find this quote to be a terrible commentary on the tech industry. Steve Jobs did quite a few amazing things in his life and yes he completely redefined a number of industries but I do not agree with the idea that he was the only person innovating. A huge majority of what Steve did was take ideas that were kicking around and put them into a nice package. Other companies just could not deliver the final product as well as he could. The reason there is a lack of innovation right now is because we are in the second phase of a cycle, we see a new idea and it rapidly progresses until a certain point and then it calms down. The iPhone was the right design at the right time and it is hard to think of another way to design a touch screen device. There may not be large changes in the phone industry for a while, but I believe this is true only for the hardware side of devices, the interesting story now is where software will take us. Software is where there is a huge amount of innovation going on from many different players. 2013 will be a big year for software vendors and I think we will see lots of innovation from all sorts of places in that realm.