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Jonathan Mulholland on iPhone 2.0: Going supernova?

Jonathan Mulholland has been contributing some rather interesting perspective on the iPhone to SMS Text News recently thus I asked him to do a follow-up right-away, immediately after watching Steve’s presentation. Here we go.

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So then…were you surprised by any of that? The 3G, the GPS, AppStore and slightly thinner form factor available in white and black? I must confess I was a little bit – not really by any of the new 3G iPhone features announced earlier, but more by some of the things we didn’t hear from Steve today…

I was genuinely convinced we would also see a smaller, cheaper, feature stripped iPhone nano joining the new 3G device today. I refreshed Gizmodo‘s live blog again and again as we got towards the end of what was a pretty long key note. I was waiting for Steve to drop his famous ‘one more thing‘, but it didn’t happen.

I still do believe we’ll see a nano model before the year is out – possibly as part of the pre-Christmas iPod refresh that Apple seem to do now in the Autumn – the business case for it is just to strong to ignore.

Second big surprise for me was the lack of an upgrade to the camera (2MP) and RAM (8GB or 16GB) found on the current version of the iPhone. James is not wrong with his initial “meh” assessment! The problem for those of us who watch this industry just a little too obsessively with a passion (“Geekmobs?”) is that we follow the rumors closely enough to have known roughly what was coming today. Anything falling short of these expectations is going to be blasted. Expect an awful lot of criticism in the next few days as the Jobsian ‘reality distortion field’ powers down. Nokia, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Sony-Ericsson marketing departments and fanboys will rightly go after these chinks in the armour – and as I said last week all of these now have genuine iPhone competitor devices with bettercameras to point to.

This isn’t going to matter though – the fact that new 3G iPhone costs around 100 pounds (or less for new contracts in the UK) and looks to be similarly priced elsewhere then it’s going to go absolutely supernova! Seriously, it will sell like nothing this industry has seen before.

For all it’s perceived or actual shortcomings the iPhone has always been a desirable piece of phone. If the iPhone has proved anything over the past year, it’s that genuine usability triumphs over feature set. Every person I’ve put my iPhone in the hands of has wanted to get one.

Every.

Single.

Person.

My wife wants one, my father in law wants one, my best mate wants one. The thing that’s stopping all of them so far is the price.

I’m willing to bet that not many people have been put off from buying an iPhone in the past year because of the lack of 3G – the 2MP camera (the current version of which is not bad by the way) will also not have much of a negative impact.

Steve in fact claimed during the key note that “The number one reason people didn’t buy iPhones is because they just can’t afford it (56%)”.

Now that Apple have found another revenue stream they can use to cross-subsidise the price of the device (is it 30% of each sale through the AppStore that will go straight to Apple?) they can finally add price competitiveness to the iPhone offering.

In my opinion this will make it near unstopable – how quickly did the iPhone sell out in the UK when O2 knocked prices down to GBP170?

So it’s still not perfect, may dissapoint hardcore mobile geeks and will get some fair criticism over the next few weeks. Difficult second album is the right analogy, but will it be ‘Second Coming’ or ‘Morning Glory’? We’ll start to get some idea when we see the prices for the rest of the world begin to hit the wires…

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Nice one, Jonathan! (You can read more of Jonathan’s viewpoints here).

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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