Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Does Apple Have to Worry About the Coming "Storm"?

Hardly.  Technologically, the iPhone is still the only game changer in town.  But I'm very glad Blackberry, finally somebody, sought to challenge what no one else has done since the iPho came out about 15 months ago.

This is why Apple does not have to worry.  Storm, with all its wonders, is missing a lot of things the iPhone has.  And some of these things are not likely to come to the Storm if ever.

  • No Wi-Fi.  Seriously?
  • 1GB - in this day and age?  This is the same complaint I have got with the G1.  (15 more days till I get it!)
  • It's bulky.  It's something some executive or manager might like but the bulk of the consumer will still prefer the sleek form factor.
  • Ease of use is still something Apple dominates.
  • Mind set.  Teenagers, college students still identify with the iPod.  That is translating into iPhone.  
  • Innovation.  Innovation.  Innovation.  Apple is the only company today to change the landscape of the mobile market while everyone is still trying to figure out what is going on.
Technically, the iPhone as a package is difficult to beat.  Storm does a good job at coming in second.  Not a close second.  Given the business features that is innate in Blackberry smartphones, RIM has something that allows it to hold serve.  

As a consumer devices go, a good analogy is the old IBM versus Apple of the 80s.  Think of Blackberries as IBM and the iPhone...well, it's still Apple.  But this time, the corporate assault Apple is mounting on Blackberry's turf is more evident.  

Verizon is not going to see defection to Storm the way ATT has seen new subscribers coming from its competitors because of the iPhone, particular at the expense of Verizon.  But Storm is just what Verizon needs to keep people from leaving.

Another issue may be pricing.  Given how bulked up Storm is with the latest and greatest tech from RIM, one would assume it's going cost a bit.  We'll find out soon enough.  RIM, Verizon, and other partners seem to be very hush-hush about this.  If I had to guess, they will try to under cut the iPhone.  

Why?  Because they have to.  Because people want the iPhone.  You don't think people will gobble up the iPhone if it was made available on Verizon's network?  $150 seems about right.  But if they really want to hurt Apple, they need to make it free.  

It's the only want for RIM and Verizon to change the dynamics of this mobile arms race.

Note:  Apple has warned about margins in the last financial report.  Rim did the same because they higher costs due to launching new products.  RIM has only Blackberries.  As great as Storm is in my opinion, failure is not an option for RIM.  

Impact:  Look for Apple to counter regardless of what RIM does or how they price Storm.  

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