Monday, February 12, 2007

Apple's iPhone will flop

At the Jan 31 SV Web Builder event where I sat on a panel, one of my forecasts was that Apple's iPhone would flop. You can hear my reasons in this PR 2.0 podcast (fast forward to 3:08 left in the podcast for my interview). Anyone out there agree with me? Let's check back on Jan 31, 2008 to see how right I was!

10. $100 Laptop fails. 2.7 Billion cell phones vs. 850MM computers. Growth in mobile is 5Xs that of computers. The $100 laptop target market is the third world. Many in the 3rd world are illiterate (400MM in India)…but they can talk. The $50 cell phone IS the computing device of the future.
9. Reputation becomes important. In Cory Doctorow’s Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom, people live in a scarcity-free world. With no need for money, reputation is the currency of choice. Reputation rules on eBay. On Digg. On Google’s PageRank. The time is right to aggregate reputation…show the world how great you are. Rapleaf, the first player in reputation is positioned to do so.
8. OpenID is important. Over the weekend, I counted over 80 websites that I use with that have their own username/password combinations. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has to click on the “forget your password?” link. Only a few dozen sites use OpenID right now. This will change this year.
7. Twitter will be huge. How many of you are Twitter users? Twitter allows you to tell your network what you are doing in any format you choose (web, IM, email, SMS). Likewise, your network can receive this information as they so choose (or not at all). Great for the high school set, but the sweet spot will be for business that adopt this method of communication.
6. Mobile walled gardens continue. This one is so frustrating. I can’t believe that cell phone execs are so conservative.
5. Red Herring dies. The three most time-sensitive businesses are: the military, financial services and technology. Red Herring caters primarily to the latter two. Now…would you rather wait a week for a copy of Red Herring, or read a blogpost tonight on TechDirt or Paul Kedrosky’s Infectious Greed? The magazine dies, the site and events business live on.
4. The Internet crashes. Another terrorist attack, the Larry Ellison/Paris Hilton affair, cold fusion is discovered. Something somewhere happens that causes everyone to stream video from various websites and the Net just can’t handle it.
3. Second Life withers away. Who here visits Second Life on a regular basis? Let’s walk through a scenario…I want to book travel to my friend’s wedding on Oahu in 6 weeks. Do I go onto Second Life and fly on over to the Expedia Island OR do I just go to Today, Virtual World’s are great for hanging out with your guild…but not for selling IBM consulting services. Watch for Microsoft or Google to create a Virtual World on top of Virtual Earth or Google Earth.
2. A Presidential drop-outs out due to social media. Cellphones, User-generated content, reality TV. It is American culture and one presidential candidate will not survive
1. The iPhone flops. The iPhone. Beautiful isn’t. Everyone wants one. When can we get one? Steve says they’ll sell 10MM in the first year! Guess what? It will flop. Expensive, 2.5G, no removable storage, Cingular only, no developer community, doesn’t work in Japan & Korea, etc. They’ll sell a few MM, but nowhere near 10MM. (This forecast is voided if they open it up to outside developers, move to 3G, make the battery better, etc.)

[Update: Nathan made a good point. By flop, I mean less than 5 million will be sold in the first year...half of what Jobs suggested in the announcement.]


Nathan Dintenfass said...

Seems there is a lot of room between "sell 10 million" and "flop" -- I have a hard time seeing it as a flop, though I agree it will be a tall order to sell that many in the first year (though as the most highly anticipated phone of, well, ever, it just might happen). Put a specific number on what constitutes a "flop" and you'll find some takers on a wager, I'm sure.

Nathan Dintenfass said...

I'll take that bet ;)

Hubber said...

Looks like all of my forecasts disappeared! Rats!