So today Apple announced that 8.75 million iPhones were sold in the last quarter since the start of the year. This is around 95 000 each day. The iTunes market place for applications has grown making it the largest platform for smart phone applications and I have a habit of checking, or stroking, my iPhone several times an hours during the day. From Twitter feeds and FB to news, weather, SMS and email it seems difficult to remember an existence untethered from the internet. So what is the problem? Is Apple the new Microsoft?
Well maybe, except that confidence breeds arrogance and contempt and us customers are fickle creatures. On Thursday 25 March I tweeted the following -
"Have fallen out of love with my iPhone, this happened on Tuesday but I've been in denial since. Will keep it next while for sake of children"
"It is it's lack of multi-tasking, inflexibility and I lust after and android phone. Curses on google and their evil plot to rule the world."
"OMG just realised how insensitive it is to breakup via twitter/fb and from the handset in question. Sometimes I can be a real jerk."
Ignore the inappropriate apostrophe and focus on the content. The phone that did everything I wanted had, over the course of 12 months, begun to grate. Just as the missing toothpaste lid begins to sour a relationship the following began to niggle at me:
- The Lack of Multi-tasking. This prevented the download of news feeds in the background, the streaming of music while tweeting, the ability to map my bike rides or runs while taking a picture.
- The need to have a mac in-order to develop applications for the platform. In this day of multi-platform development, to limit to development tools to a single development platform might make marketing sense for Apple but it is just not cool.
- The Google Android OS was released on the HTC Hero, Desire, Legend and Nexus One phones, along with several other models from Motorola, Samsung and others.
- The Android OS is open-source, multitasking and exposes much more of the phone functionality to the developer. While Apple is creating a walled garden Google is sowing wild flowers that are starting to bloom.
So why would they do this? One reason is that it kills a large piece of Adobe's business of producing applications that run across various platforms including the iPhone. There appears to be no love lost between Apple and Adobe and this supposes a school ground squabble between a bully and slightly weird kid that has spiralled out of control.
I believe a more significant reason is that this precludes the porting of applications developed for the Android to the iPhone and iPad. Given that the Android is an open platform it is much more tempting for developers to target this platform. Especially if they can port their applications to the iPhone and its many millions of users.
Will this work? Well according to Eric Schmidt, Google partners are shipping 60 000 phones a day and with new Android phones being released each month this is likely to increase. The hardware specifications of the new Android phones exceed to the specifications of the iPhone and with the intense competition there is likely to always be at least one manufacturer bringing out a new model ahead of Apple's one a year release date.
GetCliky gives provides some trend data for mobile operating systems. Although this varies from country to country.
I still have my iPhone, but I am developing for Android and conducting serial adultery with several Android phones before easing into stable, long-term relationship.