Will Apple Finish Jobs’ Cell-Industry Revolution?

October 5, 2011

Like everyone else across the tech universe, I am saddened by the untimely passing of Apple chairman Steve Jobs. My concern for Apple the company is whether or not there is the brainpower, will and chutzpah in Cupertino to finish the revolution Jobs led with the iPhone — the complete destruction of the cellular telephone industry as we knew it.

While we all know the conception, building and launching of the iPhone — and perhaps even more importantly the AppStore — was a team effort at Apple, the complete and radical shift the iPhone and Apple’s open apps strategy brought forth was pure Jobs, a seismic business and lifestyle shift whose aftershocks are still knocking down walls. Witness Sprint’s reported recent capitulation, its decision to “bet the company” on a ginormous cash commitment to Apple — simply to get access to Steve’s wonderful toy.

If you can remember that far back, before the iPhone cellular carriers were in complete control of the on-phone experience — and your inability to remember anything innovative before the BlackBerry should be a sign that the folks who build the networks shouldn’t necessarily be in the business of determing what should run atop them. If you leave aside for a moment the allure of the spectacular device, the bigger power shift that Jobs and Apple brought with the iPhone was the democratization of the mobile app, the idea that anyone could try to build something fun or useful and that there would be a place to give it a try without having to convince a bunch of suits in some telecom-company conference room beforehand.

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A WiMAX iPhone? Be Still My Beating Heart!

October 3, 2011

UPDATE, Oct. 4: The Rumors Were Wrong, no WiMAX iPhone. Just something called the iPhone 4S, which you can now also buy from Sprint. My heart is beating again.

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How Will Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Position ‘4G’ vs. iPhone 5?

September 30, 2011

Lost a little bit in the heated run-up to next week’s highly anticipated introduction of (maybe!) the next model iPhone from Apple is the big question: How exactly are the three major cellular carriers in the U.S., Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint, going to balance their “4G” network promotions with a phone that will probably be called the iPhone 5? Which will, as most expect, not even run on a 4G network but on a 3G one to boot?

Our guess — they will ignore the comparisons completely, and continue to push the 4G term in marketing while selling iPhones as fast as they can. While Verizon and AT&T already are doing this dance, you can put Sprint into this equation too, should Big Yeller finally get the iPhone in its stores as is also rumored. So far this year it seems like consumers literally aren’t buying the carriers’ 4G pitches, as witnessed by Verizon’s last fiscal quarter when Big Red sold just 1.2 million 4G devices but activated 2.3 million iPhones.

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