Alan makes a bold claim - the iPhone is so far beyond a smarphone device that it's almost as if Steve Jobs has come from 2020 to announce it this year. It's so capable that it deals a "mortal blow" to other vendors in the smartphone market.

Why does Alan think this is so? He gives five reasons:

  1. It runs MacOSX, so that must mean that it has great battery life, stability and efficient use of processing power.
  2. Maybe it'll run small MacOSX apps in the future. You could even run Parallels to show how superior this phone is to Windows Mobile
  3. Includes integrated apps from Yahoo! and Google, and you could potentially use VOIP on it
  4. It syncs with Macs and PCs, and it's 5 years ahead of any Window Mobile device
  5. The two-finger touch interface is revolutionary

Here's my reply. The device isn't a new class of anything because:

  1. It does nothing that hasn't been done already
  2. It comes in a form factor that's nothing beyond what we have already
  3. It includes no cutting edge technology, or any novel use of technology, that might encourage new ways to use such devices (e.g. think of the rise of texting)

That's not to say that the Apple iPhone isn't a sexy device - it is. But it's not revolutionary in any way. It might be a better implementation (just like the iPod was a better mp3 player and swept the market), but that doesn't make it some new class of device.

In response to Alan's points in particular:

  1. Just because it runs MacOSX does mean that it'll be efficient battery or powerwise on a mobile device. If you follow the mobile device blogs you will see that working in the mobile space is a whole different kettle of fish to working with laptops
  2. Parallels doesn't allow you to run Windows Mobile, so your scenario isn't possible. How a mobile device would even support virtualisation software given the paucity of system resources and battery power, I don't know. Talking about far-fetched, implausible scenarios just leads people to think you're talking rubbish
  3. You could, potentially run VOIP on it. By you can do VOIP on just about any smartphone (Windows Mobile, Symbian etc) today. So what does iPhone give you? Nothing
  4. The iPhone (at the moment) has no support for Blackberry or Exchange Server ActiveSync. This is one thing that will cripple iPhone sales in the corporate market. This is why I think it's funny when Alan says that this device is 5 years ahead of Windows Mobile. Maybe he meant "5 years behind". Without being able to easily sync messages (email, voice), calendar, tasks etc with your corporate messaging system (especially when you don't have a computer handy) how is this device going to sell in the corporate world? It'll make some inroads with cashed-up consumers, and the small/mid-sized market, but that's not where RIM and Windows Mobile play
  5. How well the scrolling interface works we won't know until people actually get their hands on these devices. Do not always trust what happens in demos - they're designed to show-case what works well. The dirty-little-secrets (the stuff that doesn't work well) typically are not showcased in product launches :-)

My conclusion? iPhone looks like a nice addition to the smartphone market. Is it revolutionary? No. Will it sweep away RIM and WM? No - not at least with this first iteration.