Wireless Access Explosion
Apple is reported going to ship around 50 million i-Devices in 2011 and another 80+ million after the year after that. I don't know who's right and how far they're going to be. Okay, I sort of gave myself away. I'm a bit skeptical about those numbers from Wall Street and market researchers.
But even if they were off by a quarter or a third, that's a huge increase. Imagine what the numbers will be like for RIM, WM 7, Android, and possibly even Palm. We are talking about hundreds of millions of smartphones and mobile devices accessing the Internet, watching video, chatting, push notifications. All done wirelessly.
However, as rosy as the picture is, what's painted isn't necessarily bright. Remember those wireless providers? Gatekeepers? Well, ATT and Verizon Wireless are still trying to protect their dated, albeit lucrative, business model of metering wireless usage. That's isn't the worst part.
The worst part is their gatekeeper roles. They are holding back innovation and trying to push back against the tide of change in mobile use like VOIP, video, and data. Folks are increasingly using their devices for living and working and yet, the wireless providers are dead set against it.
There is hope. Maybe a slight crack in this great wireless wall the gatekeepers have put up. VW just tested their LTE network in Seattle and Boston. By all accounts, things went well. That's great for everyone. Even better is that VW tested a VOIP call.
Yeah, whoa...so, for all the Google Voice app blocks and streaming over Wi-Fi only or other stupid stunts ATT tried with the iPhone app store, the day when unfettered wireless Internet access is coming. Maybe VW, in trying to get the next and greatest device to work on its network from Apple, finally succumb to Jobs' reality distortion field and realize that instead of fighting the future, it would be wise to facilitate it.
I do have to note that Apple's 2011 and 2012 sale figures hinge on a lot of assumptions. Most notably, Apple will start selling iPhones on Verizon's LTE network and the crippled Chinese verions will be wildly popular. Plus, I don't know what the analysts' definition of the iPhone will be 18-24 months from now but I have a feeling the iPhone will evolve quite a bit in that time. It is possible that Apple's device on the LTE network will exist as a mobile device san telephony functions but will support VOIP apps and still be called the iPhone. If that's an iPhone too, then I guess this 50 million units figure is plausible. 80 million, though? We'll see.