While I fully realize that the last thing anyone needs is another post either criticizing or hyping the iPhone, I simply can’t resist.
For starters, the iPhone will change mobile media habits forever. I’m not saying that everyone will own an iPhone but I am saying that Apple’s mobile OS runs cleaner and smoother than any interface that is currently available and consumers respond to good interface.
Secondly, with the iPhone comes the only real next generation development platform. Buying and installing an application on your iPhone is as simple as a couple taps. This is exactly how Apple pioneered digital music distribution with the iTunes store only it’s slightly easier.
The funniest thing about the 3G iPhone is that the 3G network is pretty much irrelevant. Most consumers will have a hard time finding it in the wild and unless you’re very in tune with download speeds and are downloading a significant file, you probably won’t notice that it’s “twice as fast.”
Then of course there’s the size, or form factor, if you prefer jargon. Watching video on an iPhone is actually enjoyable and some of the application developers, like Major League Baseball, are really getting it right. Sports highlights, YouTube videos and most video podcasts make perfect sense for this platform. Whether or not long format video, like Hulu or traditional TV/movies, will work as well remains to be seen.
Google is going to be taking a crack at this before the end of the year as well. They’re great content aggregators but they haven’t proven that they can build a usable OS yet.
Apple has one more advantage here. They now own one of each of the “three screens.” They are a juggernaut in the PC market, they’re picking up major momentum in mobile and the Apple TV remains, in my opinion, to be one of the most underrated devices in consumer electronics. I can’t imagine that syncing media between these three devices is more than 18 months away. Once that hits, you will be seeing a truly seamless media consumer and it will be interesting to see which channels survive and which fade.