Why iPhone Will Win

May 25th, 2010 15 Comments

Oldie but goodie from Valleywag

So, here comes a companion piece to yesterday’s missive “Why Android Will Win.”

I’ll be clear up front. I do think Android will win, and by win, I mean surpass the iPhone to challenge Blackberry as the #2 smartphone of choice worldwide.

There was some question as to what “win” actually means, which is why I’m clarifying.

It’s a good exercise to play devil’s advocate and test how valid an assertion you agree with is, especially when it’s your own.

So, here goes.

That last one might be a bit of a fudge, but I think it’s accurate. If my EVO needed help, a Sprint store wouldn’t be terribly helpful because those are sales stores, not repair shops, and I couldn’t go to an HTC store.

All five of my reasons relate to experience, whereas my reasons for Android winning all relate to practical considerations.

Granted, I wasn’t planning to write this post yesterday when I wrote the Android one, so that might account for the difference.

But I doubt it. Most people buy technology for utility; geeks buy technology for experience.

The conclusion? Even though I believe Android will win, each of the five arguments I list against it still need to be addressed.

And likewise, Apple should address the practical arguments for Android.

I expect to see multiple levels of iPhone in the very near future, similar to the iPod line. It only makes sense when faced with an army of Android phones available at different pricepoints. A Verizon iPhone is rumored to be nearing completion, which might help alleviate the carrier issues.

So, what do you think? Who’s going to win and why? Either way, it’s a great time to be a gadget hound.

Find the comments.


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15 Responses to “Why iPhone Will Win”

  1. joel garry Says:

    Yes, utility! Yes, yes, yes!

    When it comes time to pay the shareholders, no one gives a rat's patootie about geek experience.

    But with only incremental differences in utility versus cost, the slightly cheaper one will win. Where cheaper includes return on marketing investment, not just amortized hardware and software. That's difficult to predict in this googly world. As is the exact definition of utility.

  2. Niall Litchfield Says:

    I think it will be interesting to see how this plays out. For me Apple had about the standard head start over competitors that true innovators do ( 2 years or so). During this time they played it pretty well, lock people in, keep the price high, show off the innovations and make people lust after it. Android (and to some lesser extent Win Mobile 7) changes that game by playing catch up successfully and providing a faster rate of lesser innovation. eg android 1.5 – 2.2 vs the iphone o/s rate of change. What's likely to happen imo is that Android and Apple will end up sharing the high end fairly equally and the others (windows) will end up in the follower quadrant.

  3. Niall Litchfield Says:

    ok so Jake, you already said much of this on the original post comments only more clearly. guess I should read the older comment threads first.

  4. Jake Says:

    Interesting that you comment here vs. on the Android post, but sure, I get it.

  5. Jake Says:

    Check out John Gruber's thoughts on the IO happenings: http://daringfireball.net/2010/05/post_io_thoughts

    He doesn't share your optimism for Microsoft's future in smartphones. I'm also not sure Apple got 2 years headstart. The OG iPhone didn't fly off the shelves, and the real tipping point was iPhone OS 2 with the App Store and the 3G model. So, that was July 2008. Android 1.5 (Cupcake) dropped in April 2009.

    So, that's about a year give or take, and depending on when you think Android really hit its stride. I'd say the release of the Droid might be a good milestone, so call it November 2009.

  6. Kiran Says:

    I dont want either of them to win in long term. Short term sure. A month ago people talked about Android fragmentation and why iPhone is great. After Android 2.2 people talk about why Andoid will win and we will see next month whats the deal. The key is all these are short term wins, which is fine. If Android actually wins big in long term, that means iPhone loses big. When you lose big, you become Palm, Windows Mobile and to some extent Blackberry and if iPhone becomes like that I can easily see innovation slowing down in Android. Just like it did in Windows. Google makes no money out of Android, however they win big if Apple loses. But if Apple loses big Google has no incentive to do better.

  7. Jake Says:

    I guess win makes it seem like there's a finish line. I don't agree that one winning means necessarily the other loses. RIM has a big share of the market, and I'm happy to see Blackberry lose marketshare to better devices.

    I also don't agree that Google has no incentive if Apple loses. Google makes its money off mobile ads, so they're actually winning if iPhone stays competitive or wins. Check out this post on O'Reilly Radar: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/05/google-vs-appl

  8. Kiran Says:

    My point abt RIMM is that no one is innovating to compete with RIMM, it's a slow erosion of their market share. The way I look at mobile ads is similar to web ads, whether it's firefox, safari or chrome google makes money. Whether its iPhone or Android google will make money from ads.

  9. Jake Says:

    Ah, got it. Yes, RIM is static. I'm biased, since I never really understood what was so awesome about the Blackberry. I think Google will still innovate with Android, even if they deal iPhone and/or RIM knockout blows. Look at search for an example. Huge marketshare and yet they still innovate.

  10. Jake Says:

    Interesting that you comment here vs. on the Android post, but sure, I get it.

  11. Jake Says:

    Check out John Gruber's thoughts on the IO happenings: http://daringfireball.net/2010/05/post_io_thoughts

    He doesn't share your optimism for Microsoft's future in smartphones. I'm also not sure Apple got 2 years headstart. The OG iPhone didn't fly off the shelves, and the real tipping point was iPhone OS 2 with the App Store and the 3G model. So, that was July 2008. Android 1.5 (Cupcake) dropped in April 2009.

    So, that's about a year give or take, and depending on when you think Android really hit its stride. I'd say the release of the Droid might be a good milestone, so call it November 2009.

  12. Kiran Says:

    I dont want either of them to win in long term. Short term sure. A month ago people talked about Android fragmentation and why iPhone is great. After Android 2.2 people talk about why Andoid will win and we will see next month whats the deal. The key is all these are short term wins, which is fine. If Android actually wins big in long term, that means iPhone loses big. When you lose big, you become Palm, Windows Mobile and to some extent Blackberry and if iPhone becomes like that I can easily see innovation slowing down in Android. Just like it did in Windows. Google makes no money out of Android, however they win big if Apple loses. But if Apple loses big Google has no incentive to do better.

  13. Jake Says:

    I guess win makes it seem like there's a finish line. I don't agree that one winning means necessarily the other loses. RIM has a big share of the market, and I'm happy to see Blackberry lose marketshare to better devices.

    I also don't agree that Google has no incentive if Apple loses. Google makes its money off mobile ads, so they're actually winning if iPhone stays competitive or wins. Check out this post on O'Reilly Radar: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/05/google-vs-appl

  14. Kiran Says:

    My point abt RIMM is that no one is innovating to compete with RIMM, it's a slow erosion of their market share. The way I look at mobile ads is similar to web ads, whether it's firefox, safari or chrome google makes money. Whether its iPhone or Android google will make money from ads.

  15. Jake Says:

    Ah, got it. Yes, RIM is static. I'm biased, since I never really understood what was so awesome about the Blackberry. I think Google will still innovate with Android, even if they deal iPhone and/or RIM knockout blows. Look at search for an example. Huge marketshare and yet they still innovate.

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