Sunday, December 16, 2007

Because the iPhone is not a phone

I saw today that Daniel Dilger noted that the iPhone has grabbed 27% of the US smart phone market, I think he has the reasons for this totally wrong. The reason for this is that the iPhone is not really a phone, it just happens to be able to make phone calls.

The iPhone isn't competing against the rest of the smart phone market. If anything the iPhone, especially after jailbreak, is competing with the ultra-portable market. It's closest competition is the iPod touch not the Nokia N95.

The iPhone now accounts for 0.09% of all web usage. That doesn't sound like a lot until you realise that all Windows CE devices combined account for only 0.06%, with all of the Series 60 devices combined accounting for 0.01%. Despite being around for a much shorter time, and having a lot fewer units out in the wild, the iPhone accounts for 9 times as much web traffic as all of the Series 60 devices put together. Doesn't that tell us something?

It tells me that people are actually using the iPhone to browse the web, not just the quick in and out raids to specific sites that is all most people do with their phone. The iPhone seems to be the first mobile device that has got the ergonomics right so that people are willing to use it to interact with the web, rather than just grab critical stuff like train times and phone numbers off cut down and butchered sites specifically designed for that purpose.

In the longer term Apple have, by design or accident who knows, opened up a new market. Back in 2004 I confidently stated that Apple wouldn't release a phone because the market was saturated and the margins we vanishingly thin. It looks like they've solved the problem by reinventing the market rather than playing in the existing game. Clever Apple...