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Arif Hanid, CEO of Laughing Deals, on the iPhone 2.0

As promised, here’s the first perspective of the iPhone 2.0 — from an executive who doesn’t work directly in the mobile industry. All too often we can get sucked up with the.next.best.thing — and the Apple magic does tend to stun and blind.

How does someone in the online IT world react to the iPhone 2.0? Enter Arif Hanid. He’s is the 37 year old MD of www.laughingdeals.com, an online voucher codes site where users can search for discounts deals for everything from washing machines to TVs. (Mental note: I need to talk to Arif and see if they’re doing much with mobile vouchers.)

Here’s Arif:

arif from laughing deals

A little bit more on Laughing Deals, by the way: The company was set up in February 2002 and is based in central London. After various roles in online programming and developing information systems for companies such as Clifford Chance and Linklaters and Alliance, Arif decided to set up his own online project which began as Ambleton Computers and has since launched the site to enable online shoppers to search for discounts and use voucher codes online saving them time and money in the process. Nice one Arif!

Ok here we go. I posed a few general questions to Arif, thus:

Arif, the new Apple iPhone has been announced. 3G. GPS. All singing, all dancing. But just how do you react to it?

I have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new iPhone for a while now, so on the day of Apples Keynote conference I visited Google a number of times to get the latest updates. When the 2nd generation iPhone was finally revealed alas it wasn’t quite the same jaw dropping sensation as when the first iPhone was revealed back in 2007.

Was it what you were expecting?

Rumours regarding the 2nd generation iPhone have been running amass for a while now and I think everyone was definitely expecting it to have 3G capabilities.

The announcement that it also has GPS is definitely an added bonus and one which will place it fairly amongst its competitors.

The updated OS also helps to position the new iPhone as a serious business handset especially that it’s now able to receive push email from Exchange servers.

I do however can’t stop feeling that there was an expectation in the air for something more – an innovative cutting edge announcement – to match the levels when the first iPhone was revealed.

What are you most impressed with?

The most impressive feature of the new iPhone has to be the OS.

The new 3G and GPS capabilities can be found on many handsets these days, but the iPhone OS is definitely unique and a key to its success!

The OS makes the handset easy to use and has fueled other handset manufacturers to copy the finger friendly mobile experience.

The new OS adds the ability to synchronise with Microsoft Exchange which is definitely a big plus and will help find many new users.

Being someone who spends a lot of their time online you cannot beat the browser experience achieved from the iPhones Safari browser – plus with the addition of 3G the experience is only improved.

Did anything disappoint?

Apart from the 3G and GPS capabilities and the fact there was no cutting edge announcement, the iPhone is pretty much the same as its predecessor. Which is fine as the previous iPhone is well built and works well. I was however surprised to learn that the new iPhone is approximately 6mm thicker than the old one – surprising considering Apple have the MacBook Air which is the thinnest notebook in the world. I’m sure they could have at least kept the same dimension!

How do you think the new pricing will change consumer perception of the device?

The proposed pricing for the new iPhone makes it a very attractive proposition for consumers and businesses.

The 18 month contract tie-in is always an issue with any 18 month contract plan, but with current Apple iPhone users on O2 they have the advantage of upgrading their handset free to the new iPhone by agreeing to a new contract term. I would expect future releases of the iPhone to also allow existing users to upgrade for free which makes it more attractive.

Are you going to be buying one or upgrading?

I will certainly consider buying the iPhone. The previous iPhone lacked a lot of features which affected its ability to be used as a proper business handset.

However the addition of 3G and in particular its integration with Microsoft Exchange make it a very capable business handset.

It’s also reassuring to see that Apple have released an iPhone SDK which should see a lot more applications for the handset in the very near future.

– – – – –

Arif, thank you very much for taking the time to answer the questions!

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