This post is intended to do two things: Report on news that probably makes Apple happy and suggest that it's wise not to put full faith in what journalists and bloggers write.
The core news is that a 6 percent of respondents to a survey from marketing firm Markitecture say that they are likely to buy an iPhone during the year after its June release. That would seem to be good news for Apple: A new product -- and a pricey one at that -- is a monster success if it gains that sort of traction so quickly.
The funny thing, as this iTWire blog posting points out, is that the figure -- which would translate into 60 million iPhones sold -- was positioned as a disappointment in the initial Markitecture press release as well as other places on the Internet. It suggests that the bloggers and news writers apparently were more than willing to take their cue from the tone of the press release.
iTWire says that Jobs himself indicated that Apple would be happy with a 1 percent share during the first year. Even allowing for the likelihood that Jobs -- a clever fellow, we hear -- would try to manage expectations, the 6 percent number seems good. After all, no marketer would try to manage expectations to the extent of making the product look like a dog. The 6 percent figure also looks good compared to an online survey conducted in February by Compete that put the likely sales of $500 iPhones at the same 1 percent envisioned by Jobs.
Clearly the positive results for the iPhone are the most important development here. No new product is guaranteed success. We think the linchpin in the success of the iPhone and similar devices from other vendors will be the effectiveness of the user interface (UI). It's obvious that devices will be intensely powerful and that 3G, 4G, WiMax and other networks will deliver tremendous amounts of data.
What remains to be seen is whether the lion's share of users -- not just early adopters -- will be able to use all the features and applications that these spiffy platforms will make possible. Our thought is that this is anything but certain, and a key will be the degree to which vendors can simplify things.
For Apple to grab 6 percent of the market off the bat seems to be significant. However, the first iPhones haven't hit the streets, and all is conjecture until that happens and results start rolling in. All Markitecture has done is release a prognostication -- but one that Apple most certainly hopes comes true.