Monday, July 2, 2007

The iPhone tipping point

OK, clearly my previous post was wrong and burning tablets have been popping out of bushes, as the hype behind the JesusPhone (aka the iPhone) seems to be justified. I have quite a number of friends that picked one up this weekend and the flurry of mail I've received is heavily laden with things like "sexy", "its like holding the future", "rules changing", "requiring pants-changing", etc.

I haven't looked too closely at the device (already seen a couple floating around the MS cafe this morning, before 8am even!) nor at the service & sign up. However, for all the stuff I read yesterday, one thing stood out:

Signup happens through Apple.

That is the single biggest thing about this entire launch. It fundamentally changes the rules of the game between device vendors and carriers - nay - between the tech industry (new guard) and the telco industry (old guard). Similarly to how iTunes, over time, changed the rules between the big music labels and the online services, only overnight, and more dramatically.

It took a pretty sexy device and a religious user base to get the telcos to sell their soul, but AT&T has done so. And after making a deal with the devil, I'm not sure there's any going back for them.

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