Looking back upon OSNews’ initial iPhone analysis

With the Apple Watch’ launch upon us, it’s become a bit of a thing to drudge up old internet comments from back when the iPhone was released, and act all smug about how random internet commenters were wrong. Just for fun, I decided to go back into our own extensive archives, and take a look at what we at OSNews had to say when the iPhone was released.

The actual post covering the keynote contains no judgement calls, but a few hours later, Eugenia posted a lengthy analysis of the then-new device. She concluded:

Overall, I think that this product will sell well though and it will bring many new customers to Cingular/AT&T. It won’t displace Nokia or Motorola, but it will find a niche of its own. And remember, being “successful” in the phone market does not mean that Apple must get 80% of that market share just like they currently have with the iPod. In the phone market, having a 5% share means more iPhones sold than iPods! I am confident that Apple not only will achieve this, but it will push the whole smartphone market to take over the plain feature-phone market.

The future is convergence, the future is bright!

While Apple (and more so in their specific case, Android) did eventually displace Nokia and Motorola, her conclusion seems pretty spot on – worldwide, Apple holds about 15% of the smartphone market, and that’s more, more, more than enough for the company to be crazy super unimaginably successful. And, of course, smartphones are (or have) taken over from feature phones.

I had to dig pretty deep into the comments on the first few iPhone articles to try and find my own analysis – and I came up short. I did stumble upon a few comments from me complaining about the lack of tactile feedback and not being able to operate a touchscreen device without looking at it, and I still stand by those – coming from Palm OS and PocketPC, I knew just how cumbersome using a touch device is while, I don’t know, on a bike, because you have to look at them to use them. This bothers me to this day, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about Apple’s Force Touch technology.

In any case, we also ran a review of the first iPhone, written by OSNews’ publisher David Adams. His conclusion:

The iPhone is a great device, that, despite the shortcomings I’ve cataloged here is a more elegant, usable, and arguably more useful tool than anything else on the market. Over the next year, Apple is likely to make many improvements via software updates, and the subsequent versions are sure to contain new features that make the early adopters quickly eBay their G1 iPhones. Apple has a huge opportunity here to totally dominate the largest and most important segment of the high tech industry, but they will fail to reach their full potential if they don’t pay close attention to their customers’ needs and put their users first. I hope someone at Apple is reading this, and that they steal all my ideas. If they’d like to hire me as a consultant, my fees are very reasonable.

With the power of hindsight, this seems pretty spot-on, too.

All this being said, it’ll be interesting to see what’s going to happen with the Apple Watch. One prediction I’m reasonably sure of: it will be a successful product in the countries where Apple’s iPhone is doing well – the UK and Ireland, North America, Japan, Australia, and China. Different people will have different perceptions of the word “successful”, but we can be reasonable sure that in its first year, the Apple Watch will sell in the millions in these countries alone (I would guess 15-20 million).

Outside of these countries, it will be a much harder sell, for reasons we all understand – you need an iPhone for the Apple Watch, so in countries with fewer iPhones, the Apple Watch won’t be a big deal at all. Of course, there’s always the possibility of the Apple Watch converting non-iOS users to iOS, but I don’t think that number will be very substantial.

The big hurdle to overcome for the Apple Watch is the same hurdle that seems to plague both the Pebble and Android Wear, as well as other wearables: the drawer. It seems many wearables take only a few weeks to end up in the proverbial drawer once the user forgets to charge it one night, doesn’t put it on, eventually putting it away in a drawer. If the Apple Watch can overcome this problem, it could be a hit. I don’t think it will ever achieve iPhone or iPad status, but it will continue to bring in a steady stream of money.

10 Comments

  1. jackeebleu 2015-04-06 9:47 pm EST
    • WorknMan 2015-04-06 10:52 pm EST
      • jackeebleu 2015-04-07 11:59 pm EST
        • WorknMan 2015-04-08 5:42 pm EST
  2. David Adams 2015-04-07 12:32 am EST
  3. MobyTurbo 2015-04-07 5:11 am EST
  4. bob_bipbip 2015-04-07 7:20 am EST
    • Bill Shooter of Bul 2015-04-07 6:50 pm EST
  5. crocodile 2015-04-09 9:11 am EST