The iBuzz has not only caught the attention of consumers and mass media, segments of the computer industry itself are looking lustily at Apple’s latest gotta-have device.
“Oh I’ll be there waiting in line,” said Larry Irving, founder and co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance. “The iPhone is a game changer that’s going to force the rest of the industry to react,” Irving told internetnews.com. “To be able to get, like Apple says, the real Web, on a phone is hugely compelling.”
And beyond the coolness factor, which he acknowledges is huge, Irving expects practical advantages to picking up an iPhone. Pointing to the notebook computer, music player and cell phone he lugs around now, Irving says, “I’ll be able to replace all this with one device.”
While Irving’s in line at the Apple Store in Arlington, VA, he could make a call and compare notes with Alex Lindsay, who’ll be waiting in line at one of the Silicon Valley Apple Stores. Lindsay has a more vested interest because he plans to develop for the iPhone.
“We want to make sure we’re developing video for the iPhone as soon as possible because we know it’s going to be big,” Lindsay, chief architect at Pixel Corps told internetnews.com. If Apple and AT&T sell ten million next year as expected, that’s a huge platform to develop for. Firefox only just got to ten million users.”
Both Irving and Lindsay concede there may be some issues with access speeds (early reviews indicate the Edge network AT&T uses delivers Web pages slowly), but aren’t at all discouraged. Irving said he expects pockets of slow access time but thinks users will adjust. Lindsay points to the alternative of using the iPhone’s built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which is widely if not universally available.
On Networks is one of the few companies outside Apple ready to market to iPhone users at launch. The company offers a variety of original HDTV shows on iTunes that are 3-8 minutes in length. The shows are designed to take advantage of the maximum native resolution of the viewing device, whether it’s a computer, iPod, or iPhone or 50-inch plasma TV.
“We’ve proactively reformatted all our shows for the iPhone so as soon as it ships you can go to the iTunes store and get content that fits the device,” Kip McClanahan, co-founder and CEO of On Networks, told internetnews.com. “We’re excited. I don’t know how many others can do native resolution support right now.”
Another iPhone fan is Action Engine CEO Scott Silk. Action Engine has a platform designed to help media companies and network operators build highly personalized mobile applications. Silk emailed this assessment to internetnews.com:
“As pioneers in the on-device portal space, Action Engine sees Apple’s initial release of an on-device portal full of widgets and rich content applications as impressive. For example, finding and downloading a song on the Apple iPhone takes less than five taps, which is notable considering that a simple music download from a network operator portal typically takes 18 to 39 clicks to execute. Apple’s on-device portal approach is a smart move, and we are already hearing from several large brands that they are looking to replicate that user experience.”
Yes, the competition is undoubtedly coming. Apple is positioning the iPhone as a three-in-one device (phone, music player and internet access device) and it’s likely to have a lot more company in the coming year.
“This kind of integration is going to happen forever now,” said Ken Silva, chief security officer at Verisign, the company that manages the domain name system infrastructure for the Internet (.COM & .NET).
Silva said he’s excited about the technological innovation the iPhone represents, and even more so about products come after it. Still, as someone deeply involved in Internet security for a living, he sees potential pitfalls.
“Enterprises have two choices, they can embrace and prepare for these new technologies, or leave themselves open to all kinds of security risks,” he told internetnews.com.
Silva said he fully expects some users to try and use their iPhone to connect with corporate networks. He warns that IT departments have to be aware that people are going to be buying iPhones and devices like it with their own money, or at least off the main IT budget.
“This [iPhone] is now a very visible consumer product that reflects a trend we’ve been talking about for years,” said Silva. “Consumers want to be able to do anything they want to do on any device anywhere they are.”