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Apple iPhone the Tipping-Point for Mobile Internet?

Posted in: Marketing,Search Engines,Standards,Technology,Usability by Richard Hearne on January 10, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

Rightyo, ever man and his dog is reporting the much rumoured Apple iPhone.

Judging by the photos Apple will release an ultra sleek device (no surprise). And of course, Apple are renowned for nailing fantastic technology interfaces. Keeping it simple with absolutely functional interfaces is the cornerstone of Apples design.

But could this herald the long-postponed ‘Mobile Internet Era’?

Read/Write Web is talking up the UI, which, without a stylus, should be interesting. (When I heard about pinching gestures I thought about this great video of a multi-touch interface.)

The out-of-the-box partnership with both Google and Yahoo! shows a quite serious posture to target the Internet user – the free push-email from Yahoo! must be of concern to Blackberry? And the iPhone will also include some pretty comprehensive connectivity options to keep you on-line.

But it’s Apple’s ability to take a product and push it into the mainstream, both physically and mentally, that offers the greatest chance that the iPhone will be the tipping-point for mobile Internet. If Apple manages to achieve the same success for the iPhone as the iPod I think Mobile Internet will finally become a mainstream reality. (Notice the slide on Read/Write showing 10m units and 1% market share in 2008. Bear in mind iPod has 80%+ share…)

When mobile devices become the prevalent access points for the Internet (there’s a lot more mobile phones than computers) we are going to have a sea-change in search (hello localisation), and websites will need to get clever about publishing content for mobile (hi xHTML, device-optimised content).

Now, I just wonder how Irish businesses/websites will be positioned for the Mobile Internet?

Not unrelated, but if you want to eliminate you mobile roaming charges try Roam4Free, an international sim that lets you roam for free.

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  1. The iPhone certainly looks the business, and the issue of content for mobile devices is an interesting one.

    Rather than bringing the mountain to Mohamed, Apple have rightly brought Mohamed to the mountain.

    Check out their demo of Safari surfing Nytimes.com a 1024px minimum width website which does not support standards. (http://www.apple.com/iphone/internet/?feature=feature01).

    Devices will adapt to websites rather than sites being tailored for mobile usage. As the old adage goes, there’s no substitute for cubic inches.

    Comment by Brian Murphy — January 10, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  2. Hi Brian

    Nice movie for sure. I still think that mobile users want and expect a slightly different experience than PC users. But it’s great that device makers are adapting the interface in an attempt to remove some of the issues created by the small screen factor.

    Thanks for the link :grin:



    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 10, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

  3. I have to disagree with Brian here. I think it will be quite the opposite. I think site owners will come to realize how important semantic markup and validation as well as device dependent stylesheets are. If THEY don’t adapt, they will loose a portion of the the market.

    In fairness, this never happened with iMode, but I think this is different.

    The concern that I have about the iPhone, as amazing as it looks, is that currently it is set to be limited to a single network. When it’s released 4th quarter over here, how is that going to work? From being on many different networks in many different countries, I have to say, the Irish mobile operators really have done things right. But how will this effect things?

    My other concerns are already being echoed across the net. No SDK, no third party applications etc. I still want one though. ;)

    Welcome back Richard. Now I have a reason to blog again! (To stop clogging up yours!)

    Comment by Dave Davis — January 10, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  4. Hi Dave

    You mean you’ve been slacking in my absence? :mrgreen:
    I have so many half finished blog posts now that it’s unreal. But it’s all fun and games, so I’m not complaining.

    I’ve seen the issues you raise discussed and I share some of the concerns. But I think it’s a move in the right direction, and anything that gets more people online is good. And then there’s the obligatory response from the phone makers – they aren’t going to sit around and let Mr Jobs break in. I expect a lot of strategic manoeuvres and hopefully quicker progress to get us phoning the Internet.

    Of course the feckin operators still don’t seem to twigg that we will cut them out of the equation if they don’t give us what we want how we want it. WiFi is coming as standard in mobile devices now and the operators need to give fair access to their networks if they are to avoid a major disruptive shock that may alter their industry completely.

    All the above simply my opinion of course :grin:

    Anyhows, nice to hear from you again.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 10, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

  5. I’ll agree with you there. I don’t actually know where you are based (Seriously) but in Dublin there will be a much wider spread of publicly available wifi in the coming years. Coupled with, as you mentioned, many new mobile devices coming with embedded wifi as standard, it will be interesting to see it’s uptake.

    Only time will tell, but I think 2007 is going to be a milestone year.

    And I’ve only been slacking with regards the blogging. ;P I got a VERY nice Christmas present off a lizard.

    Comment by Dave Davis — January 10, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

  6. I think it’s a leap of faith to suggest owners of deep content will rejig their online presences to accommodate mobile users. I’m still waiting for major businesses in Ireland to offer newsfeeds on the side of their websites.

    And what tourism agency in Ireland has shown how to geotag and label major attractions in a social photo-sharing program? You need to do that to appear on the screens of mash-ups that feature locations.

    The iPhone is cool but upmarket. Its features may not be seen as compelling enough to revise content presentations. I wonder if it will survive a carpet bounce or a Guinness splash. That’s the rigour involved in tech tests I do for the Examiner.

    Comment by Bernie Goldbach — January 19, 2007 @ 6:34 am

  7. Hi Bernie

    Perhaps not rejig all their content, but specifically that content targeted at mobile users.

    I agree that Ireland is a backwater in terms of the Internet. But the beauty is that it is entirely possible to leapfrog to current technologies if the will is there.

    I think Apple have such a great pedigree when it comes to marketing products that consumers want. I cant see it being any different with the iPhone. I also think that Apple may well show us how to turn mobile Internet access more into common mobile phone usage – something that has held back mobile Internet IMO (of course the operators have most to answer for).

    But regardless, judging by the volume of mobile Internet related announcements already in 2007 I think this year will mark quite a number of advances in the way we use our mobile phones.

    Thanks for commenting Bernie

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 19, 2007 @ 7:45 am

  8. It’s a couple months since the announcement, and everyone’s been able to discuss the features of the iPhone. I really don’t see the iPhone as this revolutionary product it initially looked like. It’s got a lot of limitations compared to other phones currently on the market and having a closed system will actually hinder many possibilities it could have with the OSX. Plus the EDGE network on the iPhone will hinder its mobile internet capabilities. Just my two cents.


    Comment by victor — April 2, 2007 @ 7:34 am

  9. Hi Victor

    I remember an old saying from my stock days – buy on rumour, sell on fact. So it will probably be for the iphone. Of course Apple will still probably make a mint – I think devices are going to quickly converge and the iphone is probably just the beginning. Camera, GPS, phone, computer all in one device methinks.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — April 2, 2007 @ 7:48 am

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