The iPhone: My Take

Why not? I live in Europe so I don’t have access to any iPhones today but here are my €.02 for what it’s worth:

The iPhone is already catalyzing a sea-change in the mobile industry. This change is primarily about form factor, user interface and the Mobile Web. In terms of form factors, we will see a slew of touch-screen devices coming into the market, but it won’t stop there. Manufacturers are going to take all kinds of form factor innovations off the shelves and start flogging them to operators and consumers.

Similarly, there will be a revolution in device UI. We will see lots of “fluid UI” iPhone rip-offs from other manufacturers but also other UI concepts. At our last Mobile Monday London on mobile gaming, I was very interested to see people like NVidia talking about the use of 3D acceleration technology not just for games but for all kinds of immersive user experiences (see the podcast).

Finally, the iPhone will have a huge impact on the mobile Web. First of all, people in the U.S. will stop looking at you funny when you talk about using the Web on your phone. But more important is what Steve Jobs announced at the end of his keynote regarding development of applications for the iPhone. He talked about using standards to develop Web applications as an alternative to the “traditional” mechanisms for mobile app development. So it’s not just about “keyhole browsing” (zooming and panning around Web pages built for PCs). This is a neat trick, but the real revolution happens with Web Apps that are built for the iPhone browsers (and for other advanced mobile browsers such as the S-60 open source browser or Opera Mobile). Keyhole browsing is the gateway drug that will drive the usage of the platform and thereby drive innovation in this new field of application and service development.

So, irrespective of whether the iPhone itself is a success (and if Apple’s previous product launches are any guide, it will likely have its ups and downs) it will be a wake-up call to complacent industry executives and a needed shot in the arm for efforts to expand the Web developer ecosystem into the mobile platform.

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