Threat to Apple’s Success with iPhone

Executives at Apple Inc. would enjoy current success with their iPhone and sound foundation of Mac platform nowadays. I like to see Apple’s outstanding performance in the market, because I have known Apple programmers’ and engineers’ considerate design on their frameworks and overall structure of their OS. MS and others were not so considerate about designing of their APIs, although they have their own virtue.

However, there always has been one thing which I didn’t like. It is their attitude to define what is good for users. It is good to have options which are designed considerately. However, if they try to regulate things too much, it is bad. Macs like Mac IIci was a good example. I liked Mac IIcx more. Apple IIc was bad, while Apple IIe and IIgs were good. Open Transport was bad because there was already BSD socket. QuickDraw 3D was good, because OpenGL was not quite popular yet, and QuickDraw 3D provided very good new approach to 3D graphics programming as well as existing approach used by OpenGL and DirectX. Well, QuickDraw 3D failed in gaining market because Apple was losing the market around that time.

If there is enough good reason and they can provide something really good and unique, it can be good, but if not it is bad.

Nowadays, at this moment when people at Apple Inc. enjoying their outstanding success with iPhone/iPod and Mac OS X, I could smell that a big threat is approaching to Apple Inc.

Here is a news from Apple Insider.

In a profanity filled, not safe for work rant, developer Joe Stump said an update to his application Chess Wars was denied because the chat bubbles in the software were too similar to those in the official iPhone SMS application created by Apple.
Stump said he was upset because of a lack of communication from Apple. He alleged that he tried to reach out to the company after “weeks” of silence. The application was updated in an attempt to fix “show stopping bugs” that were only discovered after the software was initially released.

Hmmm… if this happens more frequently and people start to think differently, then what will happen to iPhone market? EXODUS! Yeah… I can easily guess that people will write more Android or Palm Pre S/W. ( I don’t consider Windows Mobile. People already know what kind of atmosphere it can be if they take MS option. )
Andorid doesn’t give as complete feeling as iPhone does. However, it will get better gradually. Palm Pre mainly rely on HTML/JavaScript. However, it is very usable. Game is big issue on Palm Pre, but if people want it, I believe Palm will consider providing native APIs.

Second threat is iPhone itself.
With iPhone 3G S, new H/W features were added. Digital compass, video camera. For iPod touch owners, even GPS module is one of the such item, although GPS existed in iPhone 3G.
iPhone simulator can’t simulate them. What does this mean?
Whenever you have good idea on any new feature, you should buy a new H/W to write code for them. Then if Apple Inc. announce a new iPhone with a new H/W feature every year. You, as an individual developer, should buy iPhones every year. Do you think you can ask people who have a new H/W to test it instead? NO. Definitely NO. Why? Because you need to test your code while you are writing codes for it. SQA test is for a test with semi-completed codes not in intermediate or early stage of development.

This will be a big NO, NO. Well… there is a good reason to have a new feature like a digital compass. Actually my colleague had a very good idea for the compass. So, if Apple people have cool new ideas and and good reason to add them to iPhone, yeah.. it can make iPhone evolve.

However, it can be also a dual bladed sword. What I mean is that it can be good on the one hand, but on the other hand it can be bad.
Apple people should be careful about this.


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