Was the Motorola+iTunes phone(s) a secret attack on Motorola?
With all the craze going on about the iPhone, we tend to forget Apple's first foray into the mobile phone world. Back when Apple fans were merely talking
about a possible iPhone – and it was anything from a simple mobile phone similar to the SonyEricsson T68i to a new version of the Newton – Apple "surprised" us with a collaboration with Motorola, which ended with "iTunes on a mobile phone by Motorola". It wasn't an iPhone, of course, and Apple didn't seem to be really behind it. They didn't push it as the greatest phone on Earth
, mostly because it actually wasn't
, of course.The question is: What was Apple's plan back then...
It was 2004, and the iPod was roaring. Apple clearly was on a high with iTunes and the iPod. Where Microsoft dwarfed Apple in the computer and operating system market, Apple dwarfed them all with the iPod. Sony tried several times to change the game, so did Microsoft, Creative and others. None of them could: Apple was too powerful, the iPod too "simply good" and the price could not be easily beaten either. I'm pretty sure Apple did start to plan the iPhone back then.
The result of the SUKR, erh, ROKR E1 was that Motorola lost their face. While actually, Apple's "iTunes mobile" software just didn't work so well on Motorola's phones, it still was them who suffered.
Let's not forget: Motorola was and is the biggest player in the mobile phone market in the USA. But its fate is doomed. And I think Apple was, quite mischievously so, planning on it. Apple now comes to the mobile phone market this Friday when the field is more open. Nokia is attacking Motorola. SonyEricsson is attacking Motorola. Palm and Blackberry have their own game, in a way, and Apple finds a market that doesn't have a clear winner. And it's entering it from the top, as one should.
Sure, there are negative points about the iPhone. It's not a real smartphone platform, i.e. you won't get any real applications for the iPhone. Not even widgets. Just web-apps. Sure it seems strange that you can't even choose an iTunes track as a ringtone, something which should've clearly been one of the most easy things to implement, and a thing where Apple would've felt right at home. (I guess at&t wants to sell ringtones to iPhone owners at the usual ridiculous prices, where a ding-dong costs as much as a real song or more...)
Then there's the thing about 3G lacking, which isn't so bad if you're using WiFi most of the time. Plus the camera is not at the very highend either.
So... I think Apple has a real chance of rocking the cellphone-industry in the USA. And I'm pretty sure they know that worldwide success will be a tad harder to achieve, seeing how Europe's and Asia's cellphone users are already used to newer technologies, where a US iPhone might actually look like a step back. So I guess the end-of-2007 Europe approach might come as a UMTS phone. It's not too hard to add that, and it'll quite simply quiet a lot of negative voices.