Apple’s 45 Million iPhones in 2008

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster took a lot of heat back in June 2007 when he predicted, three weeks before Apple even began selling the iPhone, that the company would be shipping them at the rate of 45 million a year by 2009.

[From FORTUNE: Apple 2.0 Analyst: How Apple sells 45 million iPhones in 2009 «]

It’s not entirely outrageous but the handset market is super competitive and it’s certain that Apple’s leverage will diminish in the absence of another Jesus-phone, and 3G alone ain’t gonna be that. I’ve used my iPhone since last September and am generally pretty loyal to Apple products, but I’m lusting for the Nokia N95. I might even go back to a Blackberry.

Apple is clearly a player in the handset market but to go from where they are to 45 million is beyond aggressive (mind you, as I read this article, Munster was talking run rates and not absolute shipments.) The carriers clearly want this handset and the association with Apple, but the price points are pretty steep and with no subsidies they are capping their market.

Blackberry is the most serious threat to Apple’s ambitions, but they really phoned it in (no pun intended) with the Blackberry 9000. It’s basically the same ‘ol crappy BB with rounded corners and a pretty background image. This surely can’t be the best Blackberry can do, can it? And don’t call me Shirley.

Here’s why I wouldn’t buy another iPhone even though I generally like the one I have:

1) No copy/paste. It’s a small point but incredibly frustrating that Apple didn’t include this cuz it would have screwed up their UI.

2) Battery life. Keep that wifi turned off. In all fairness, most of these uber-handsets have crappy battery life.

3) No video from the camera. The camera is okay, but just okay.

4) Clunky email interface, slow as well. I do like the virtual keyboard much more than I would have thought.

5) It’s heavy and kinda large.

One final note, the SDK will be a big step in the right direction but I suspect that Steve Jobs is only going to go the full distance on openness while being dragged kicking and screaming along the way. I want apps on my iphone and it kinda pisses me off that I can’t have them right now.

Competition is a Good Thing

Somewhat ironic to think that the biggest threat to the economics of music sales isn’t coming from illegal downloading but rather from the dominance of iTunes and inevitable commoditization of pricing that comes from competitors who have to resort to scorched earth pricing in order to establish a market position in the absence of compelling download services and portable players.

Imagine where the music business would be if they had embraced digital music and portable players early on with the goal of making them cheap, convenient and ubiquitous.

iTunes will do to online video downloads what they did to music and as a result consumers will benefit from lower prices across the board. Personally, I am enjoying watching this happen and have no sympathy for an industry that thought they could roll back the clock to a time when distribution control gave them punitive pricing power.

BTW, that I am posting this during Macworld is only a coincidence.

Yet Apple has so far found it easy to dismiss the music companies – sometimes rather rudely – because Microsoft, Sony and other competitors have failed to cut into iTunes’ roughly 80 per cent share of the market. Some download stores have been plagued by clumsy user-interfaces. Monthly subscription services win praise from executives but have had a hard time convincing all but a small core of die-hard music fans to sign up.

[From FT.com / Comment & analysis / Analysis – Bruised music majors back iTunes rival]

It’s What Is INSIDE the Machine that Counts

Mossberg says that Dell’s XPS One has the right stuff… still needs to be decrapified.

In my tests, I found the XPS One to be much better designed and equipped than Gateway’s iMac competitor, also called the One. In fact, the Dell XPS One is the first Windows all-in-one desktop I’ve tested that I believe matches or exceeds the iMac in hardware design. That’s no small feat, especially coming from Dell. [From Dell’s All-in-One PC Has the Guts, Design to Compete With iMac | Walt Mossberg | Personal Technology | AllThingsD]

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