Scoble’s main point is that people don’t want to look stupid so they buy the phone with the most “app potential” even if they don’t use these apps themselves.
This makes no sense to me, but Scoble did an informal survey at Disneyland. So, there’s some research behind his claim.
However, when people show off their phones, they don’t demo the phone or messaging features. These are core requirements. App potential may be one of the deciding factors, but all phones are phones. So, people use other attributes to decide between their options. Price and total cost are nearly always the first deciding points.
People buy phones to be phones. You know, to make and receive telephone calls and to send and receive text messages. That’s the device’s primary purpose. Otherwise, why get a cell phone at all. If app potential mattered most, Android wouldn’t be where it is; it would be an also-ran. This is Jason’s (@grigs) point.
The iPhone is a great example of this, given how pilloried AT&T’s network capabilities were during its exclusive period as the only iPhone carrier.
People bought iPhones because they needed or wanted phones. The App Store was a nice to have attribute that sweetened the deal. When the phone pieces failed to perform, people complained bitterly but most didn’t bail because of the early termination fees, i.e. cost. Apps didn’t keep people using iPhones that didn’t dependably make or receive calls. Cost did.
Having the intertubes come to your phone and having a large app store to add capabilities to your phone are nice to haves. Having a phone is the core must-have requirement.
I have never heard of anyone buying a smartphone specifically for an app, but even if that were the case, most major developers are building for both iOS and Android now. So, the choice would have to be made ultimately based on a different attribute.
Apps definitely make the phone better, but apps don’t drive the purchase.
Tablets are a different animal entirely and really shouldn’t be compared to phones because their isn’t a universal must-have requirement that all tablet users share.