SDK Means iPhone Has No Direct Competitors
Yesterday I sat down to watch the iPhone Software Roadmap video to see what other gems were hidden within it. I discovered a few interesting things, but what really hit home is the SDK means the iPhone now has no direct competitors.
So here’s a few of my observations from the presentation.
Steve showed a graphic of U.S. mobile browser usage showing Safari as having 71% of browser usage. To note here is that RIM didn’t rate a mention. A lot of people talk about RIM’s existing market-share advantage, which according to Steve’s slides is 41% to 28% over the iPhone, but if RIM can’t get a browser to compete with the iPhone’s, its popularity will plummet. The impression is that the majority of iPhone users like browsing the net on their device, whereas other device users only do it if they really have to. Browsing though, of course, is one of the fundamental parts of our daily life, so the iPhone’s success at bringing it to mobile devices is a telling blow and an indication of great market-share inroads ahead.
Scott Forstall revealed Apple is a “platform company.” Long have Apple users argued if it is a hardware company, software company, and latterly, a media company. Now we know for sure. And it is exciting to consider. How many other platforms is Apple considering?
Apple built a new layer for Mac OS X, called Cocoa Touch, for the iPhone. This bodes very well for future touch interface developments on Macs. When the technology catches up, Apple will be ready to fly. As Forstall also said, core animation was originally built for the iPhone, not Leopard. So you can see how easy it is for Apple to move functionality between platforms.
A thank you goes out to Steve for responding to the concerns of user land about the iPod touch upgrades not being free. He noted the iPod touch upgrade to version 2.0 will incur a small fee because Apple “accounts for the iPod touch differently.”
Watching the demo of the games Spore, Monkey Ball, and the one Apple had developed, along with the comments of other the developers, it’s very clear that this is a device with no direct competitor. Graphically, it is better than any other mobile device out there. Glenn Keighley from Epocrates said it is a unique mobile device and more like a desktop. Ethan Einhorn of Sega said the Super Monkey Ball Sega developed for the iPhone was not a cellphone game but a full console game and they’d totally underestimated its graphic capabilities. Watching those games was definitely like watching someone using a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. In fact, to me it looked almost like a handheld Wii. Do we have a new entrant in the handheld games console market? So again, and especially considering the SDK, this device has no direct competitor.
The SDK has clearly made the iPhone the most well-rounded mobile device available. It is a handheld computer, a mobile phone, a media player, a games console, and a PDA. It’s no wonder it has no direct competitor because nothing else out there can claim to be all of those things. The iPhone SDK is the most significant announcement since the Intel switch.
The App Store and iFund are great lures that will bring many new developers to Xcode development. Naturally this will have a flow on effect that should bring many new as well as previously Windows-only applications to the Mac.
The iPhone (and iPod touch) have the very real potential to be the platform of choice—mobile or otherwise—for many people in just a few short years. This will have a halo effect to dwarf the iPod’s, and, as soon as you can connect a monitor and keyboard to it, it could relegate desktop computing in its current form to a thing of the past.
We have very nearly caught up to the future.
And lastly, who else noticed Phil Schiller’s very amusing joke calendar entry—well, I assume it was a joke. For 2:30 p.m. on March 6th, the entry read “Brainstorm new Apple rumors.” So now we know the true source of Apple rumors!