Archive for January, 2007

Capturing the Power: Week of 1/21/07

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

Managing the Danger: Week of 1/21/07

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

In order to be winners in the new mobile era, businesses will not only need to capture the power of mobility, but also manage the danger. Highlighted below are recent examples of the danger of mobility and how some firms are beginning to manage it:

The complete list is here.

Converged Products: Week of 1/21/07

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

The most convenient way that mobility is getting built into products is through the convergence into the cellphone of capabilities that previously existed as standalone products. That way, those products are now with you and available for your use whenever you need them wherever you go.

Complete list here.

Is the “iPhone” a red herring?

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Obviously, the biggest mobility news so far this year has been the official announcement of the iPhone.

Does Steve Jobs think this product is a big deal? You betcha he does. Visit Apple’s website and you’ll be greeted with a big animated display of the product’s beautiful user interface and the not-so-subtle statement “Introducing iPhone. Apple reinvents the phone.” That echoes Jobs’ claim in the official announcement. He compared the revolutionary impact he expects from this product to the impact that the Macintosh had on computer user interfaces and that the iPod had on the music industry.

Which is why I’m baffled.

Why is this product called the iPhone?

Think about Apple’s history of naming new product categories. Apple II. Lisa. Macintosh. Newton. iPod. AirPort.

Do you notice a pattern? Neither do I. None of these is an extension of an existing name. None of them incorporate the existing product category they are intended to revolutionize. (According to Wikipedia, the Pod part of the iPod name comes from a somewhat obscure reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

The closest we can come to a boring extension name is the newly introduced Apple TV. But that product makes me even more suspicious. When the Apple TV was officially announced last year, it was announced as the iTV.

Which makes me think that Apple has no intention of releasing the iPhone. At least not named the iPhone. I’m guessing that Apple had decided before the announcement that they would announce this new product category as the iPhone, but when it’s actually released, give it a more fitting name – one deserving of a revolutionary product. That would help explain why Apple seemingly foolishly refused to come to terms with Cisco over using the iPhone name.

Why would Apple announce this product as the iPhone if they have no intention of actually calling it that?

I can think of a bunch of reasons.

The most obvious is to capture the already existing buzz around the iPhone name. For years, rumors have abounded of Apple building a phone and dramatically improving the user interface. Almost all of those rumors and resulting anticipation referenced such a product as the iPhone. Why throw away all that free publicity? Instead, Apple stoked it for all it was worth at the launch. Is there a risk that Apple will throw away that brand equity if they launch under a different name? Don’t bet on it. Now that the actual product has been announced, the anticipation and attention are high. I don’t care what Apple calls it, folks will be all over it.

Sticking with the publicity theme… The battle over the iPhone name is a wonderful thing. It’s obvious that the old saying “there’s no such thing as bad PR” quite simply isn’t true, but in this case, a stolen brand, a lawsuit, and a bunch of name calling is just adding more free attention and publicity to a teflon product. Apple had nothing to lose with using Cisco’s name and everything to gain (especially if they really didn’t plan on actually ultimately using the iPhone name).

Secondarily, the iPhone name has diverted the attention of competitors. The name iPhone speaks loudly that this is the combination of an iPod and a Phone – in other words, it’s “just” a music phone. But, it’s not a very good iPod, and it’s not likely to be a great phone. Positioning this product as a music phone leads to the conclusion that this isn’t all that revolutionary.

Which is great news for Apple. This misdirection will keep competitors from using the next six months to start closing the gap on what truly makes the iPhone revolutionary. The product currently known as the iPhone matters because it reinvents the mobile experience. In the same way that the Macintosh has never been the PC with the greatest features and the iPod has never been the portable music player with the greatest features, Apple shouldn’t sweat the fact that their phone may not have the greatest music phone features. Because what each of these products has done is reinvent the experience into one that the average Joe can sign on for.

As Brough Turner recently noted, the current mobile experience is turning even telecom professionals away from adopting the kinds of services that we all count on redefining the industry. My hope is that Apple’s product, whatever it’s called, will incent all of us in the industry to intensely focus on fixing that experience so that Apple doesn’t run away with the mobile device market the way they did the music player market (no, I don’t really think that’s possible in this mature of a market, but still…).

Finally, Apple loves to have fun, loves to keep secrets, and loves to keep its competitors guessing and off-guard.

This could be an interesting year!

Enabling Technology: Week of 1/14/07

Friday, January 19th, 2007

The Law of Mobility talks about value increasing with mobility. The impact of this law is being felt because the barriers to building mobility in are being obliterated week after week. Here are examples of technology advances enabling this to happen:

Full list here.

Indicators: Week of 1/14/07

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

More and more, the world around us reflects the growing assumption of the law of mobility. Each week we will track indicators of Mobility’s growing importance in our businesses, our lives, and our society:


Full list here.

Capturing the Power: Week of 1/14/07

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

Managing the Danger: Week of 1/14/07

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

In order to be winners in the new mobile era, businesses will not only need to capture the power of mobility, but also manage the danger. Highlighted below are recent examples of the danger of mobility and how some firms are beginning to manage it:

The complete list is here.

New Year, New Music

Monday, January 15th, 2007

By now, you know that I like a bargain, and what better time than the holidays to pick up some music bargains. So, some of the below aren’t very new and may not be new to you, but I’m enjoying them for the first time. Hopefully there’s something here that you haven’t heard before!

Converged Products: Week of 1/14/07

Monday, January 15th, 2007

The most convenient way that mobility is getting built into products is through the convergence into the cellphone of capabilities that previously existed as standalone products. That way, those products are now with you and available for your use whenever you need them wherever you go.

Complete list here.