iPhone OS 3.0: Refinement or a leap?

Innovation. Marketshare. Price.

Cellphone vendors often try to fit all three of these vectors into a single product in hopes of cramming enough features to eliminate real or perceived user objections. Features assembly, however, isn’t quite Apple’s design approach. Indeed, Apple’s challenge to would-be iPhone-killers seems to be:

Innovation. Marketshare. Price. Pick one.

Apple works on value themes where market creation is the goal. The iMac created a new market for one-piece, no-wires, no-hassle Internet PCs. The iPod created a new market for integrated hardware+software+service trilogy for digital music appreciation. The iPhone created a new market by unifying hitherto disjointed phone, Internet and media consumption in a single device.

By creating new markets Apple enjoys the advantage of making up its own rules of the game. Ever since the introduction of the iPhone, every smartphone contender has had to battle Apple’s strengths, as we outlined a year ago in Who can beat iPhone 2.0?

The value themes for the first two iterations of the iPhone are clear:


The original iPhone created the first veritable mobile-convergence device. After 25,000+ apps downloaded nearly a billion times, the second iPhone schooled the rest of the industry on how to create a mobile platform. What then awaits iPhone OS 3.0 to be introduced tomorrow?


Recent product introductions from Cupertino indicate that, in this difficult economy, maturity seems to be the operative theme. New desktop and notebook introductions of the past month have been about incremental value enhancement and signals on the upcoming OS update Snow Leopard seem to focus on refinements to system plumbing and performance.

Will Apple create a new market/theme with the next iPhone OS or will it be a maturity play?

10 thoughts on “iPhone OS 3.0: Refinement or a leap?

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  7. Gazoobee: “the lines you are drawing between ‘markets’ and ‘maturity play.'”

    The original iPhone did create a new market of smartphones and the next version ushered in a new market of mobile apps. Both smartphones and mobile apps existed previously, to be sure, but the iPhone went beyond just incremental improvements to existing markets: it re-wrote the rules.

    So, as you say, if iPhone OS 3.0 takes the iPhone into a new market of mobile content creation that would be a significant directional change, with further business models to follow. I don’t think copy & paste alone would do it, but a move from quick consumption to content creation would be significant, especially if a larger-format device gets more sophisticated apps.

    Of course, maturity doesn’t have to mean stagnation, it could also mean consolidation, which sometimes is necessary before new expansion.

  8. I’m not sure I totally get the lines you are drawing between “markets” and “maturity play.”

    If the announcement tomorrow includes copy & paste as rumoured, then to me that indicates a movement into document editing as opposed to merely viewing. This would be a new market in the sense of possibly replacing things like the Kindle, the electronic clipboard etc., and at least indicates new devices even if no new devices are actually announced. On the other hand, this same movement could also just be seen as building out the current platform and so more of a “maturity play.”

    I would say more that they are going to consolidate and extend their current lead in mobile device design, making the platform they have already created both more attractive and versatile. I would expect a fairly significant update.

  9. It is apparent that Apple has settled into simply releasing insifnificant information, like the recemt new iMac’s, and iPod Shuffle, etc., in simple and quick press releases and the really, big and major stuff in special event notices like we see with the mew OS iPhone update 3.0. If, this is indeed the case, then I expect that tomorrow’s press conference will be a big and revolutionary step indeed, as I have written on my own little blog.

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