It may be simplistic and self-evident to say that the iPhone from Apple, which Steve Jobs introduced at Macworld Expo earlier this week, is a validation of the concept of just about everything this blog covers. It's simple and easy.
Apple, which has gotten positive reviews from everyone about the device (except Cisco, which is suing over the name), clearly gets it. It always does. The device, which is based on the GSM family of cellular standards, further pushes the convergence theme by supporting 802.11b and 802.11g. It stands to reason that the company will throw in 802.11n and WiMax support in future versions of the product.
The iPhone will have a tremendous impact on the business mobility sector. A recurrent theme here is that a couple of structural barriers are in the process of collapsing, and the iPhone is an important milestone in that evolution.
Traditionally, there has been a demarcation between business and consumer devices. Clearly, that barrier has become more porous over the past few years (consider Research in Motion's consumer-oriented Pearl, for instance). It's a safe bet that the iPhone will accelerate that process. It will be as common a sight on commuter trains as on college campuses. Indeed, the move will bring Apple deeper into the business and enterprise sector.
The other eroding barrier is segregated functions on different devices. It is increasingly possible for a mobile device to switch between wireless and cellular networks to deliver voice, video and data applications. This is a product of consumer demand and technical changes including better powering, sophisticated mobile operating systems, and denser integrated circuits able to perform more tasks in the limited confines of a handheld device.
The iPhone isn't the first converged device. What's special about it is the vendor's cachet and the great user interface it brings to the convergence party.