iPhone spanked as a 'mobile toddler'

iPhone spanked as a 'mobile toddler'

Apple still has a lot to learn, say analysts

Apple is due to launch the iPhone in the UK on 9 November, but an analyst has described the device as a mobile baby with a lot of growing up to do.

Aleksandra Bosnjak, lead telecoms, media and technology analyst at StrategyEye Digital Media, said: "It's a cool toy, but that's it."

"From the European consumer point of view, this is a toddler product without the sophistication of some of its rivals. Many of the iPhone features are 'wants' not 'needs'. It whets consumer appetites, rather than satisfies their hunger."

Bosnjak highlighted the lack of 3G support. "This is a typical Apple launch in that, from a European consumer point of view, it is a premature product with some technological weaknesses," she said.

The analyst also criticised the iTunes Wi-Fi store's lack of support for podcasts, ring-tones and videos, which she sees as key mobile content applications, as well as the weak camera and the absence of a multiple texting option.

"The 2-megapixel resolution is very low compared to other new cameras, and Europeans are used to 3.2 or even five megapixels as standard," said Bosnjak.

The analyst did manage to praise the iPhone for its stylish design, big display and easy internet browsing capabilities.

"As for its strengths, this builds on Apple's superb design and marketing heritage with a cool look that triggers two senses for the consumer: sight and touch," she said.

Bosnjak also believes that the iPhone fits into the broad Apple strategy of driving users to its 'connected home' ideology and its push to dominate the home entertainment space with a range of Apple multimedia products.

"The iPhone is just another example of a connecting element, possibly the most critical one, in Apple's quest to conquer the home market through its devices, content and digital content distribution," said Bosnjak.

"Apple's key challenges in the UK and the rest of Europe will be to fight consumers' price sensitivity and to reach out to mainstream, picky mobile users who want full content portability rather than a partial service, however sexy it may appear."

Others in the industry agree that Apple faces a steep learning curve. "Not using 3G for the iPhone shows that Apple does not know the European market or has not thought it through," said Bengt Nordström, a consultant with VeriSign.

"Apple is going to be spending a lot of 2008 finding out just how the mobile industry works. But for a first attempt the company has made an amazing debut."