I’m sure many of us criticized Apple’s first generation iPhone as sorely lacking in the technology department. However, no one can doubt the buzz the impending launch of the iPhone OS version 3.0 has created. On the flip side, if we can look through the marketing, we can see that there is a very clever strategy at work here.
Kontra from the very excellent Counter Notions blog has a great analysis of Apple’s iPhone Strategy and how it has evolved from a device into a platform.
In summary, the first iPhone generation introduced us to a device that could pull in all your Stuff in a logical manner. The 2nd generation 3G iPhone created a platform where, by leveraging on the iTunes store, you could download all your Stuff. Finally with the release of iPhone OS 3.0, (very apt don’t you think?) Apple plugs up most of the holes we have been complaining about and almost perfects the product. Thus making it.
Apple consolidated its gains, marked its territory of 30M users+25K apps+800M downloads and built a very deep and wide moat around it. A moat so formidable that there’s not a single smartphone player capable of overcoming it.
Apple also methodically eliminated the vast majority of iPhone’s “missing” features: copy and paste, landscape text entry, global search, notifications, MMS, voice memos, new calendar format, Notes sync, stereo Bluetooth support, extended parental controls, browser auto-fill and anti-phishing… pretty much anything else that may have given potential customers a pause previously.
Another thing I like to add is that great products do not have to be 100% right the first time. Getting a product shipped that 80% right but with a 100% intrinsic benefit to your user is a lot better in my humble opinion. Just make sure to reiterate and improve your product very quickly after you have launched it.
This strategy is like a good baseball swing. You need to have a good follow through after you take your shot. Unfortunately the follow through is what many companies are just not good at doing.