Saturday, June 23, 2007

The iPhone's target market?

If business people (via) aren't going to buy the iPhone because its email system doesn't support Microsoft Exchange, then who are they targeting? Teenagers? Even in the era of indulgence I can't think that parents will shell out $500 for a phone (though, in my daughters' school there are many girls who have $300 Coach bags).

I decided to check it out and found this article:

AT&T plans to market the iPhone to business users in addition to consumers but analysts aren’t recommending that enterprises supply workers with the phones.

Cingular, which was acquired by AT&T, recently decided that the iPhone will appeal to business users and the operator is now working hard to ensure that its backend enterprise billing and support systems will accommodate the device when it ships, said a source familiar with the company’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The idea of marketing the iPhone as an enterprise product baffles some analysts.

If AT&T announces that it will be marketing the phone to enterprise customers, “we’d be against it,” said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner, who said he hasn’t heard of such a plan from the operator. “We’d immediately tell our customers that’d be a very serious mistake.”

No matter what kind of reputation a vendor has, if it’s making its first phone, Dulaney would be unlikely to recommend it. “Building a phone is one of the most difficult things to do,” he said.

Also, the iPhone is expected to have a number of shortcomings for business users, he said. For example, it doesn’t have a removable battery. “You’d be crazy to buy without that,” Dulaney said. The phone has multiple processors, which consumes more battery life than single processors, he said.

It also comes with a touch screen and no buttons, making it difficult for users to dial while driving, he noted.

He suspects that enterprises will likely decide against the iPhone for similar reasons that many decide not to standardize on Mac computers. Even if the iPhone is attractive, like the Mac, they’ll choose BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices because those have more software application options, he said.
They have a built in market of those who will buy anything Apple related but will that be enough to warrant the launch of their first cell phone? I'm sure there will be some who like the design and will buy it since it is so different from current cell phones but if they think they'll get the business crowd, it looks like it's going to be a hard sell.

And their ads don't help:

Slide shows of vacation photos, playing videos, music these are all things that business people need to do their job, right? And I'm guessing Cingular believes they'll be glad to pay more just to get that capability.

Pictures are neat but do you really need this capability in your cell phone?

One selling point of the iPhone is it's interface for Internet:

It's cool but is it necessary to get the job done?