It’s that time of year; looks backward and forward are expected. In point of fact this is a lousy time to be prognosticating about the mobile space, because we’re only days from CES and weeks from MWC, both of which will have tons of announcements, some of which might even be game-changers.

But here’s my overview. At this point I should emphasize once again that nothing I say represents what Google thinks, and further, that I am not in the Android strategy loop where Google executives think these kinds of thoughts.

Here are a few things that seem obvious:

  • The insanely-high volume of mobile-device sales isn’t going to ease off any time soon.

  • Like Horace Dediu says, “the bottom of the phone market is very vulnerable to becoming smart”. The future of bone-simple “Feature phones” isn’t over, but their days in the overwhelming majority are numbered. Go ask Gordon Moore.

  • Android and iOS will do really well. RIM and Nokia are headed for market-share declines; but it would be perfectly possible for either of them to halt their slide.

  • Windows Phone 7 might start getting some real traction; I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

  • An unencumbered high-end handset at around $500 is cheaper than the same device at $199 with a contract. I wonder if someone will notice this and offer conventional financing packages like you can get for fridges and TVs.

Developer-Centrism · I think the reason Nokia and Blackberry are threatened is their weak developer story. The JavaScript-ish mutterings we hear around the RIM PlayBook are interesting, but the existing BlackBerry SDK is just not close to either or iOS or Android in terms of empowering large numbers of developers to reach large numbers of devices directly.

As for Nokia, their current flagship OS has been end-of-lifed and if there’s any hope it’s from the direction of MeeGo. That offering is starting from way behind, but who knows, there’s nothing terribly wrong with what we’ve seen so far.

Both Palm and WP7 have a much stronger developer story than either RIM or Nokia at the moment, which is why I’m hesitant to write either of them off.

Contrarianism · Here are opinions that probably aren’t seen as obvious; maybe I’m a minority of one on these:

  • Tablets and handsets can displace computers as play and reading devices, but they really can’t become dominant as work tools until we have a better solution for high-speed low-friction text input. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see dramatic progress in this area; it’s so obviously the number-one usability barrier for everything that isn’t badged as a “computer”.

  • I’m increasingly coming to think that people buy phones based on the quality and volume of old-fashioned advertising put behind the products. Not coincidentally, not only are the iPhones and iPad excellent devices, they have what is to my eye probably the best advertising in the mobile industry.

  • Apple will totally do a 7" device. Anyone who’s spent quality time reading books or playing games on the Galaxy Tab knows; there’s a great big hole in the ecosystem that needs something bigger than a handset but that still fits in one hand and you can use for four hours in a row sitting up. This argument is over.

Apple vs. Android · This is of course the question that’s up in lights all over the Internet, providing great bales of pundit fodder every direction you look. The conventional wisdom, and who knows, it might be right, is nicely laid out by Don Dodge in 2011 The Year Of Android vs iPhone — who wins? It goes like this: Android gets bigger market share but Apple wins on price and profit; just like the personal-computer biz.

I’m less convinced. The iOS ecosystem is something like the Apple ecosystem of yore, but the App Store bouncer at the door is a huge, qualitative difference. And the Android ecosystem, at least in its hardware-agnosticism, recalls Windows, but Google’s business goals are so different that trying for historical analogies seems really risky to me.

Anyhow, what do I think? I think Apple will sell a ton of devices because they’re good, and superbly marketed. I think a bunch of people will sell a ton of Android devices because they’re good and there are so many options for different needs and networks and price-points.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple shipped a cheap iPhone. And there’s nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple’s success.

Which is to say, it would be sort of surprising, but not that much, if this time next year, dirt-cheap iPhones were competing against Androids that push the user-experience lever farther than Apple or anyone else ever has. In that scenario, where are the prognosticators’ towers of sand?



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Mike P (Dec 29 2010, at 19:37)

"An unencumbered high-end handset at around $500 is cheaper than the same device at $199 with a contract. I wonder if someone will notice this and offer conventional financing packages like you can get for fridges and TVs."

I don't we're there yet in Canada. The big three (Rogers, Bell and Telus) have shockingly similar prices, and the new, budget entrants (Wind Mobile, Public Mobile and Moblicity) don't yet have significant coverage outside of major cities.

My biggest wish (which will never happen) for the new year would be reasonable roaming rates. I don't travel enough to the US to justify unlocking and having a US SIM so I have to turn data off. You never realize how addicted you are to data on your smart phone until you have to give it up.

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From: Zach (Dec 30 2010, at 02:24)

"Apple will totally do a 7" device. Anyone who’s spent quality time reading books or playing games on the Galaxy Tab knows; there’s a great big hole in the ecosystem that needs something bigger than a handset but that still fits in one hand and you can use for four hours in a row sitting up. This argument is over."

I think this argument is far from over. A 7" tablet is just too small for almost everything you'd want to use a tablet for.

For people who want to sit up and read they'll likely buy a kindle, which is quite nearly in the "impulse buy" range for a lot of people. For games I find that the size of the ipad lends itself to so many games. Try playing mirror's edge on the ipad sometime and then imagine trying to play it on a screen half the size: it just doesn't work.

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From: SteveL (Dec 30 2010, at 03:32)

I worry about fragmentation of the android platform, the impact it has on testing/support. The strength -wide adoption- can become a weakness if all the machines are different. It's the windows problem, now with the extra issue that you end up fielding support calls that only show up on South Korean phones with one specific telco that you can't replicate in your lab, even once you have the phone.

The data billing point made by an earlier commentor is valid too; my Palm's exchange sync is always polling, running up bills. I managed to disable data access before going to france last week, but still the willingness of apps to assume data is free worries me. For someone on a PAYG deal, data is only free at home and work and other places with wifi.

Also on that topic, why do so many hotels and airports still treat wifi as a premium feature you pay for on a per-device basis after filling in some form that is barely possible to use on a mobile device. When you are trying to rearrange cancelled flights you need wifi, when you are in a hotel, you need data. They should give it away (as Phoenix international airport does), instead of billing.

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From: Seth Weintraub (Dec 30 2010, at 06:02)

I think the carriers are the big question mark, at least here in the US. When the $75 smartphone is released, will Verizon and AT&T offer $25 unlimited plans like Virgin does or will they continue to try to herd their customers into 2 year subsidy plans.

That is the big question and could prevent smartphone from getting into the featurephone users.

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From: Sam Penrose (Dec 30 2010, at 06:19)

"I’m increasingly coming to think that people buy phones based on the quality and volume of old-fashioned advertising put behind the products. ... I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple shipped a cheap iPhone."

In the US and quite a few other countries, Apple has accepted carrier dominance and the bundled contract model, in which the cost of the device is a small fraction of the total contract. In this business model, cheapening the device doesn't save you much. See Horace's recent posts for more.

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From: gzino (Dec 30 2010, at 08:14)

"...if this time next year, dirt-cheap iPhones were competing against Androids that push the user-experience lever farther than Apple or anyone else ever has"

---

Interesting thought but user perception as important as reality. iPhone is BMW, marketed and distributed as such. Android can't be, not cause it can't do BMW features but due to perception. Ask Droid user what kind of phone they have and you'll hear Samsung, Verizon, smartphone etc., only small % will say Android. Ask same question to iPhone user...

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From: Don McArthur (Dec 30 2010, at 08:33)

"...And there’s nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google..."

Google and design and user-experience have never belonged in the same sentence. Why do you think that will suddenly change? I mean, I'm fundamentally an optimist, but still...

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From: Samir Shah (Dec 30 2010, at 08:37)

Apple should do a 7" iPad line starting at $400. That will kill three birds with one stone. First bird, a new 7" iPad line. Second bird, an iPad is available for $400. Third bird, 10" iPad can still be sold at $500.

Because of lesser cost and a brand new line they WILL sell 65 million.

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From: Rahul (Dec 30 2010, at 09:23)

"Tablets and handsets can displace computers as play and reading devices, but they really can’t become dominant as work tools until we have a better solution for high-speed low-friction text input. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see dramatic progress in this area; it’s so obviously the number-one usability barrier for everything that isn’t badged as a “computer”."

Your observation here is spot on. A fast, efficient method of text entry designed from the ground up for touchscreen devices is an absolute necessity for touch computers to displace personal computers as go-to devices for productivity.

I'd be very interested in knowing whether anyone has attempted to re-imagine text entry for touchscreens.

I've posted a question on Quora along these lines to see if anyone has any ideas of working towards a solution on this: http://qr.ae/hREA

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From: Brendan Gramer (Dec 30 2010, at 12:10)

Apple already sells a cheap iPhone.

The 8GB 3Gs sells for $99.

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From: random developer (Dec 30 2010, at 12:38)

I'm an iOS developer. I have zero worry about Apple as a "gatekeeper" because I've yet to hear about any alarming app rejections. It seems this is something significant to android proponents, but it seems like grasping at straws to me.

On the other hand, android doesn't offer me anything as a developer-- smaller app sales, fragmented market, every app is subject to carrier restrictions and hassles (I trust google and apple to approve apps reasonably, but not carriers).

On top of that, Google is evil. Apple has paid me every month, what they owed with no quibbles. Apple stated upfront what the split was. Google historically hides the split in advertising and is well known to just cut people off, and never pay them what they are owed.

Further, android is a direct and blatent ripoff of the iPhone. Before the iPhone was announced it was a ripoff of the blackberry.

Finally, the developer tools and support for android are sub par. This is not the 1990s. If java is the answer you don't even know what the question was.

Seriously, I know I'm in android advocate central here.... but unlike the android advocates I run into, I actually do make my living developing apps.

And I see no business reasons to support android (though for one of our apps we'll be offering a web version and we'll put a little time into making sure it works well on android.)

In terms of what's good for the direction of technology, android is a step backwards. Finally, google has proven itself to be a company that you cannot trust.

I cannot express to you how important being able to trust the company whose platform you're building on is.

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From: Tatil (Dec 30 2010, at 15:55)

How is that "unencumbered" handsets are cheaper? Does AT&T or Verizon offer a lower monthly fee if you don't sign a contract?

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From: Matt (Dec 30 2010, at 15:57)

"And there’s nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple’s success."

If you don't force/strongly encourage developers to rise to the OS's standard, this might not have much effect. Apple has far more leverage for doing that.

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From: walter (Dec 30 2010, at 16:25)

Hi. I am not interested in a 7inch iPad, nor the one available at the moment.

What i am interested in is a cheaper iPhone with no strings attached: no roaming, no data plan , no contract. nada nothing. I buy an iphone... say for $199. unlocked it and then my my sim crd. NO FRICKIN DATA PLAN ...EVER!

... in other words a souped-up iPod Touch.

That would product would fly. And if Google Android can offer such a phone that too would fly.

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From: Mister Snitch (Dec 30 2010, at 16:47)

I agree re Apple and a smaller iPad of some sort. As soon as they can make a Retina Display larger than an iPhone's, they'll release one I'm sure.

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From: Bruce McL (Dec 30 2010, at 17:37)

"And there’s nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team" Check out MIUI. It could be the answer to the Android UI problem, if Apple doesn't sue them before they get out of Beta.

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From: Brian S Hall (Dec 30 2010, at 17:46)

Re the 7 inch iPad. Apple *might* make one cause at this point, it would be easy, and there's a bit of a market for it.

However, as I've written on my site several times, the (larger) iPad is not designed to be used by a person for hours on end. It is a "communal" device. Everyone in the house uses it, for a certain amount of time. Everyone in the marketing department uses it for a presentation, but it's not to carry it with us.

The iPad is a new device for a new world we are almost in -- collaborative, not individual. It is not a smartphone, not a netbook replacement, not a PC. Those are all to be used by one person. The iPad is something altogether different.

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From: RM Wagner (Dec 30 2010, at 18:30)

I disagree on a 7" iPad coming out any time soon. Apple seems to have locked up the supply of 9.7" screens and 7" screens are all that is available for the competition to use. Anyone who doesn't like Apple wants Apple to come out with a 7" iPad so they can benefit from the economies of scale of Apple that Apple will generate on a 7" as they currently have with the 9.7".

*IF* the 7" screen size gains traction, it will be relatively easy for Apple to deliver such a tablet, or easier than everyone else trying to get a larger screen in quantity anyway.

If the 7" size fails to gain traction, Apple wins big time as the competition abandons the size to go larger, and ticks off customers while doing so. If 7" gets traction, I wouldn't expect an Apple product until 2012 at the earliest.

Just my opinion. Sent from my tiny iPod Touch surfing the net.

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From: Jon Fingas (Dec 30 2010, at 18:35)

Very well said, and coming from someone deep inside Google, that means more.

I don't think Apple will do a 7-inch tablet, though. Would it be slick? Definitely. But it splits the OS development and risks creating something a little too close to an iPhone. What Apple needs most is just to make it light and compact enough around the existing screen that the difference isn't as acute.

Besides, isn't Honeycomb's reference tablet 10 inches? :). Clearly there's something to that size.

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From: brian gillespie (Dec 30 2010, at 20:44)

I like how you used the word device instead of iPad. Just say it, it won't be an iPad, it will be an iPod.

And I'm not so sure that the 7" Tab experience was so wonderful, except in comparison to using Android on a phone. Let's face it, the Android OS is way cramped on a tiny phone screen. Now an iPad interface on a 7 inch would be cramped and crappy, but iPhone interface on a 6-6.5 inch screen would be nice.

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From: Stephen (Dec 30 2010, at 20:52)

Is it that the 7" screen is optimum for a pad/tablet, or is it merely that the 7" screen allows a device to be priced lower than the iPad?

I suspect the latter.

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From: Rachel (Dec 30 2010, at 21:32)

As far as I can tell, Apple wants to sell an end-to-end ecosystem. They want to sell you the hardware, and then sell you content to put on that hardware through the channels they control. They're very focused, as a result, on total experience -- how every bit of that ecosystem should integrate together, and how a user interacts with it -- and they're doing very well at that. They don't care whether they dominate the mobile market in /numbers/, because what they care about is the overall profit margin. They're succeeding at this.

Google wants to get eyeballs in front of content. They don't care who puts the content out, where the eyeballs come from, or any of that... but they want to be able to get advertising and demographics out of the userbase. That's where their money comes from, and if you give away the operating system to third-party handset makers, let them tinker with it and create their own modifications, in the end it's still just more eyeballs. Google doesn't care about the individual handsets, per se, but they care about getting the Android ecosystem covering as wide a swatch of the smartphone territory as possible. And they're winning that battle.

Which is interesting, because I do think the Android and iOS camps each push the other to try to improve, even though they seem to be playing completely different games on the same field; it makes it possible for both teams to 'win' without either 'losing.'

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From: Klaus Busse (Dec 30 2010, at 22:59)

I'd rather not bet on the Apple 7" tablet.

Apple invests a lot of care in the physical size of user interfaces, which is one of the reasons they make upscaling iPhone apps so unattractive.

Launching a tablet at half the size is just a little too big for iPhone-Style interfaces, and too small for iPad-Style interfaces. It would need something in between, what was never Apple's game, and would blur the distinction between iPhone/iPod and iPad product lines.

Apple always sends out very clear messages, and they are not going to loose that edge facing an opponent who send out a huge number of blurred and muttered messages (i.e. Android).

Galaxy and Co. are trying to carve out a niche between mobiles and tablets. IMO they are not big enough to get the benefits of tablets, and too big to be truly mobile. At a similar price point they also have an issue with their value proposition.

If Apple is going for more market share - and they will, they will segment vertically: Go with a iPad 1 at a cheaper price, a iPad 2 at the current price, and an iPad HD with Retina for 1000$.

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From: RelentlessFocus (Dec 31 2010, at 03:02)

I'm doubtful about a 7" tablet for the following reasons: Pages, Numbers, keynote and Bento. Well, not actually only those 4. The iPad as we know it (and tablets in general) are not an end point but a beginning point. It's only natural that we'll see faster processors, more memory, more uses for the dock on iPad and new OS capabilities. Currently a 7" tablet makes sense for the reason you mention but as things develop going forward the 10" size is far more conducive to sophisticated apps than a 7". Apple can always keep the door open to a 7" something by playinng its iPod Touch card. But by dint of screen size alone it won't be feasable to run the next generation of more sophisticated apps on that size screen.

And on the other end of the scale I can see Kindle type e-readers coming down another 20% and running a tad more sophisticated software squeezing the 7" tablet unless screen availablity is so constrained by Apple's huge buying power.

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From: Matthew Brown (Dec 31 2010, at 03:25)

Apple won't make the surround of the iPad thinner. It would impact the usability; it makes the iPad easier to grasp and hold. Making it smaller just to compete with smaller tablets isn't Apple's style; they do things the way they like them, and the way they're convinced is right.

Lighter would be good, but that'll take a more power-efficient system and I'm not sure they can, easily, given that that screen is probably the juice-sucker that makes everything else insignificant.

Might they make a smaller one? It'd sell, but I'm not sure they'll make it.

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From: foljs (Dec 31 2010, at 04:42)

<b>Apple will totally do a 7" device. Anyone who’s spent quality time reading books or playing games on the Galaxy Tab knows; there’s a great big hole in the ecosystem that needs something bigger than a handset but that still fits in one hand and you can use for four hours in a row sitting up. This argument is over.</b>

LOL.

You managed to overlook the other option: a lighter iPad. I mean, duh!

And, seriously: "you can use for four hours in a row sitting up"? Do you reads *books* sitting up for 4 hours? I sure don't --at least not without the support of a table, of some chairs' arms.

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From: Brian Ashe (Dec 31 2010, at 07:40)

I really doubt Apple will do a 7" tablet. Steve Jobs famously spelled out a few reason why they wouldn't earlier this year. Unmentioned but equally important: it'd be yet another screen size for developers to work with and yet another category in the App Store.

Also, anyone who thinks that Apple cares about perceived holes in its lineup hasn't been paying much attention for the last decade. Apple will do what it thinks is overall best, period. They don't care how many geeks ask for a standalone Mac bigger than a Mini and smaller than a Pro. They don't care how many people say they want a sub-10" Apple laptop.

I agree that 7" is a great size for many things. The iPad is heavier than I like, I think the 10" screen is a bit unwieldy at times, and I've been favorably impressed by the new color Nook. But that doesn't mean Apple has to make one.

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From: Bob Monsour (Dec 31 2010, at 08:17)

There will be no 7" iPad. There will be a thinner, lighter iPad that will pass the 4 hour holding/reading test.

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From: Andy Rice (Dec 31 2010, at 08:19)

Historical comparisons aside, do you think Apple will be a fierce competitor in the future market or will it concede it, preferring to maintain its premium?

The iPhone isn't seen as a priced at a premium now, but what happens when the smartphone market looks largely like the feature phone market today, with many devices being given away with contracts? I don't think there's any doubt that the iPhone right now is a much more polished, complete product than it's competitors, but that gap and perception will continue to narrow, chipping away at iPhone's dominant competitive advantage.

I'm an iPhone guy, but all I see is iOS shrinking in the future (volume and market share). And that's ok. The iPhone's primary appeal is that it is a well-designed, reasonably priced, high-quality product, but the irony is that the smartphone market is quickly making that segment into a niche segment.

I would contend that this was Google's strategy with Android all along: not to create the best product they could, but to use Android and the carriers to define the smartphone market. In this sense, fragmentation isn't a drawback, it's a smart business strategy. What Google and the carriers realize (and what Apple doesn't care about), is that a very large chunk of customers simply don't care about a quality product more than they do things like price and carrier availability.

Of course, Steve & Co. realize all this, and I think they are more than happy to concede the market segments not served by the iPhone (and iPad). This is the fundamental difference between Apple and other companies (and why many dislike it): it doesn't listen to or pander to the market, it has the chutzpah to believe it can create the market, and in the case of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, it has. So while Android and the carriers are busy figuring out how to fill in the cracks of the current smartphone market, Apple will be busy doing what it does best: innovating and creating new markets.

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From: Macartisan (Dec 31 2010, at 11:56)

@Tim:

Yes, 7-inch devices that are optimized for a single task can be extremely useful. Even the old original Palm Pilot was a reasonable 'reading machine'.

Yes, the iPad's weight makes it somewhat unwieldy, but the same applies to any paper book above the size of a trade paperback. I have several dozen books on my iPad that weigh close to five pounds in their print editions, and oddly enough, they all weigh 1.6 pounds now.

An iPad doesn't have to weigh 1.6 pounds forever, because more powerful processors (per Moore's Law) imply less power required for any given operation.

That in turn means that the next generation of system-on-chip processors will free Apple to power somewhat better performance for a somewhat longer time with a somewhat thinner battery.

What happens to your argument for 7-inch iPads when Apple reduces the weight of the 10-inch iPad to 1 pound, and then 0.75 pound, as it inevitably will?

The only major constraints along the weight-reduction curve are human factors: what is the _minimum_ weight-to-size ratio that a human can easily hold?

===

@The folks who believe that Apple will ship a 7-inch tablet 'as soon as Apple has 7-inch Retina display':

You haven't thought it through. Start by looking at your fingers.

Density of pixels matters to the eyes, but it does nothing for the pointing device: your fingertip.

A 7-inch Retina display would certainly be a thing of beauty, but you can forget about manipulating text or using hyperlinks *with a finger* without some sort of zoom mode to accommodate the size of an adult human fingertip.

You can try fiddling with that, but I'll bet my next paycheck Apple Won't Go There.

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From: Thomas Denmark (Dec 31 2010, at 21:45)

"This argument is over."

When someone makes a statement like this it means the argument is far from over. On balance though this was a great article.

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From: Vincent (Jan 01 2011, at 18:51)

In Canada, Wind Mobile allows you to put your phone purchase on a monthly tab over a period of 12 months. All their plans are month to month - no contract.

If you are in a large Canadian metropolitan area you can do pretty well on their $40 contract that gives you unlimited data and unlimited North American calling. Same with Mobilicity but you don't get to divvy your phone cost over 12 months.

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From: Lee Roberts (Jan 01 2011, at 21:26)

While the argument/points for the upcoming year or three may be valid, I'm not sure why there is so little talk about Apple's closed eco-system and its historical failure as a sustainable business model over the long term. Though it seems like an eternity, it was less fifteen years ago that Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy while the rest of the tech industry was in a once-in-a-lifetime boom, and it was largely because of their closed-model approach. IBM knows that drill, too.

Yes, iOS and Android are playing on different fields today, but on a point to which Apple can testify, users sometimes just want to watch one ballgame. Moving from a computer hardware/software operation to a consumer electronics company was sheer genius, but in doing so, Apple faces the same obstacles all consumer electronics companies face: competitive forces that turn once-unique products and ideas into commodities with ever-shrinking profit margins.

Apple's success in the last decade has hinged solely on innovation, and I believe that they've done a brilliant job of marketing their product line which, compared to competitive offerings, has been top shelf. However, there will come a period where innovation, at the least, will stall from the consumer's perspective of 'must-have' devices and turn toward commodity economics (see: the 1990's). Apple will suffer dearly in any transitional commodity phase just as they have in the past. They are certainly in a much better cash position to withstand such a period, but tech companies can blow through billions pretty quickly.

Don't get me wrong: I may not be an Apple fanboy, but I do believe they are a great company.....today. They don't do 'commodity' well, though, and before someone points to the $99 iPhone, the advantage that Apple enjoys in quality will be eroded in the smart phone market over time as the components necessary to create top-end products fall in cost as they have in every other electronics sector. As far as controlling the software distribution side of their model, consumers have shown that they are very willing to take their chances on software vendors and more open distribution systems. Intel has made a nice living off of that forever.

I wish no company ill-will, and I would be delighted to see Apple continue on their run of new products that dominate new, high-margin market segments. While there is a never-ending supply of new ideas, players in the technology market are highly susceptible to being overtaken by companies that are but a dream today. Ask MySpace and Google. Five years ago, who would have imagined that Google would be overtaken in web visits in such a short period of time or that MySpace would become virtually irrelevant? Not me.

This isn't a prediction of Apple's imminent demise, but to think that a short boon period means that Apple will continue to be a frontrunner in ANY market segment seems a little naive. I know, I know - it's all about 'today'. Tomorrow always comes, though.

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From: Nicholas (Jan 02 2011, at 10:31)

The discussion of OSes is in my opinion rapidly approaching non-issue status. We tend to equate the OS with the visual layer at the moment, but mobile devices with in short become task oriented specialists to the current generalist. There will always be the need for the general purpose computer for the pocket, but the growth is in the services rather than the device.

I am beginning to look at mobile medical devices. Where does that fit in the scheme of iOS and Android? It fits better with Android just as the Nook fits better with Android. Or, it is similar to the Kindle in being device agnostic. This is the weakness of iOS in my experience and opinion.

More devices… This is what will happen, and what OS is built to accomplish this objective? There will be hundreds of times more Android devices than anything else because it is free and modifiable for specific purposes. Nothing else will matter if only because nothing else fits the bill. Until Apple allows a company to build an ATM or a heart monitor or a watch or an auto dashboard on the platform it will shrink from the needs of the near future.

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From: DDS (Jan 02 2011, at 18:16)

If the bigger than iPhone/iPT device fits in my lab coat in the hospital, it will sell very, very, very, very well in the medical community!

My 2 cents!

DDS

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From: Andrew (Jan 02 2011, at 20:50)

Like many men you assume that marketing doesn't "work" on you. This opinion usually comes about because most marketing is not aimed at you but instead at women who make 80% of the purchasing decisions in the typical household (and is yet another case study on how correlation is confused with causation). In actual fact marketing works just as well on men when it is targeted at them. If you don't believe me buy a copy of Robert Cialdini's Psychology of Persuasion.

Interestingly Apple embodies both the best and worst of the marketing world. The worst came from the "I'm a PC" ads which were basically attack ads bashing their competition. The best comes from the recent iPhone ads that educate and explain what features are available on an iPhone.

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From: Mike J (Jan 04 2011, at 03:57)

"An unencumbered high-end handset at around $500 is cheaper than the same device at $199 with a contract. I wonder if someone will notice this and offer conventional financing packages like you can get for fridges and TVs."

That's the way it works in many European countries. Handsets are sold unlocked and working on any carrier. You can choose to pay them off on a non-interest loan if you sign up for a contract. The contracts give you a bit of discount on your phone service.

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December 28, 2010
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