What is the deal with Steve Jobs, who is protecting his iPhone from being used the way users really like it, their own way? Apple not only launches it exclusively with certain partners, telling all you morons that don’t happen to have a mobile subscription there to hop over, but it also doesn’t like it when people try to open it up themselves.
Hacks are reported on a daily basis for the iPhone. I wonder how long it will take Apple to understand that these hacks aren’t just a protest against our savior Steve.
The hacks are coming from two emotions: the techies that just love to prove that “it can’t be hacked!” isn’t true, and the user that disagrees with the “you have no choice” mantra. If someone tells you that you only have one choice (his), what do you do? Well, I remember getting these sort of speeches at home when I was a child. Didn’t like it then, don’t like them now.
The iPhone may just be the invention of the year. Apple, just may have proved that mobile communications can be redesigned and evolved into a new user experience. But, having said that, they also ignore a basic need of their customers called “freedom”. Making it an exclusive phone that is only within reach of a few proves to be an excellent short term revenue strategy. It is already the most talked about market entry strategy in the mobile world. But I cannot help but think it is also a very arrogant strategy towards the customer. If we are to make mobile Internet successful, and let the iPhone be one of its drivers, then Apple better start thinking about opening up their platform.
If not, then Apple will definitely have a great niche on its hands and make a great living on it. But the mass will most likely choose something that works on all carriers and handsets.
And the mobile operators better rethink their strategy as well. As long as they determine who can get on their network and who cannot, they will remain hijacked to the Apple mantra. Forcing them to pay loads of money to Apple for every iPhone they sell.
It is freedom that sells in the end. Freedom will help customers (re-) discover the Internet on their mobile phones. Freedom is the ticket to increase in ARPU, the thing Mobile carriers need so desperately. Google is trying to jump on the bandwagon of freedom with their recent Android announcements. We will have to wait and see if that will be taking of. In the meantime the question remains. Who will free the customer?