Welcome to the iPhone Summer

Carl Weinschenk

If we're not careful, the gadget beat will become the iPhone beat for the rest of the summer. In general, we'll resist the temptation to over-cover the sleek new device (which some special people already seem to have), but couldn't quite resist the urge to link to this MacDailyNews story. The piece carries excepts from a Wall Street Journal piece that suggests the new Apple entry, which is slated to launch on June 29 on the AT&T network, could have a profound impact on the carrier market.


The excerpt and original piece focus on a pair of surveys. One, conducted last month by M:Metrics, says that two-thirds of surveyed cell phone users who aren't AT&T customers would be willing to switch to gain access to the device. The survey covered 11,000 users; it isn't clear how many are not AT&T customers now.


The survey suggested that T-Mobile USA is the most vulnerable because its customer base includes a high share of 18- to 24-year-olds, a demographic expected to be the most interested in the iPhone.


The other survey was conducted online by Compete and covered of 680 people. It found that 12 percent of respondents had postponed phone purchases in anticipation of the iPhone and an equal percentage had put off buying a new MP3 player.


It certainly remains to be seen if the power of the iPhone is as great as these surveys suggest. If it is, there likely will be a good deal of interesting follow-on affects. For instance, an explosion of interest in the iPhone -- and similar devices other vendors have or currently are shepherding through the development cycle -- will be a huge nail in the coffin of the current user interface. A mass adoption of innovative devices also will further erode the barriers between consumer and work-related devices.


That the iPhone will have a massive impact is far from settled, notwithstanding poll results. In our view, the model being adopted by Apple in which the devices aren't subsidized but content is cheap will be difficult to sustain. It's hard to see people shelling out $500 or $600 for a great device, when a pretty darn good one is available for a fraction of the price. What is clear, however, is that the new look, the more general mobilization of the telecommunications sector and the continued unfolding of the Qualcomm/Broadcom patent disputes will make the usually sleepy summer a most interesting time.

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