Our friend Dave Greenfield at Network Computing came up with a list of top 10 potential iPhone problems. These include the low-resolution camera, slow data feeds, missing GPS, and lack of support for the most popular instant-messaging platform: AOL's.
I have to quibble with one item on the list: The iPhone's lack of support for enterprise connectivity.
- Jobs compares iPhone to the smartphone. So who buys smartphones? Enterprises and white-collar workers. And who's going to buy iPhones? Not enterprises, that's for sure, at least no time soon. There's no support for synchronization with corporate applications -- namely Notes and Exchange Enterprise support options are lacking. Lose the iPhone device and you'd like to be able to lock it or remotely wipe the memory to protect personal contents. Don't expect those sorts of capabilities anytime soon.
I expect the lack of enterprise support is no accident, and not necessarily a liability. The iPhone is, I expect, designed for the consumer and small business users. It's not for enterprise users, with IT managers who can set it up for them. And it's not primarily designed for techies who can puzzle complex smartphones out on their own. It's an advanced smartphone for users who need simple setup and usage.
That's the same market that bought Apple computers in 1984, when the company's slogan was, "The computer for the rest of us." Not for enterprise users, or techies -- for the rest of us.
Of course, what that slogan doesn't tell you is that "the rest of us" is the group of people with the financial assets to pay a premium for an Apple computer. Apple doesn't make Model T Fords -- cheap, robust technology for everyone. Apple makes Mercedes-Benzes. The iPhone is a $500 phone.
But, still, I agree with the central premise of what NWC is saying. The iPhone has lots of potential problems -- in addition to the problems Dave describes, the iPhone also is a closed architecture; you can't add third-party applications. Occasional InformationWeek contributor Cory Doctorow says the iPhone has a "roach motel business model.". Writing on his blog Boing Boing, Cory describes how Apple and Cingular make it difficult to switch off their network, and the phone runs Apple's digital rights management on its media to make it difficult for other vendors to allow users to install their media on the phones.